- In conversation with Mahesh Kumar Sharma, Managing Director, SBI Life Insurance
Mumbai : Mahesh Kumar Sharma, managing director and CEO of SBI Life Insurance, the life insurance company of State Bank Group, says that if every family in the country has adequate insurance cover, then India will be in the category of developed countries. will come.
When the entire population is insured, then the need for the government to spend on social welfare will be less and more money will be available for development works and the burden on taxpayers will also be less. Therefore, to make India a developed country, it is imperative for every family to have adequate insurance cover (about 10 times the annual income of the family).
SBI Life Insurance is making rapid strides under the able leadership of Mahesh Kumar Sharma, who has over 3 decades of rich experience in the banking and insurance sector. It has a 23.6% stake in the private life insurance sector. It is offering 32 types of insurance plans and its miss selling ratio is the lowest in the industry at 0.08%. The progress of the insurance industry in the country and related issues was discussed in detail with Mahesh Kumar Sharma, commercial editor of ‘enavabharat.com’ Vishnu Bhardwaj. Here are its main parts:-
Due to the COVID epidemic, awareness about insurance has increased among people. What changes are you seeing?
It is true that awareness about insurance has increased tremendously due to COVID and people have understood the importance of it. The biggest change has come that earlier we had to tell people its importance. Had to explain, but now people themselves are coming forward to take insurance cover. The demand for both life insurance and health insurance has increased. We did a financial immunity survey across the country. In which 80% of the people said that they consider life insurance as the most important and essential financial product for the financial security of their family and 70% of the people said that they would also take health insurance of their family along with life insurance. The second change that has come is that the insurance sector has also become digital. By the way, SBI Life had already focused on digital. Due to Corona, we rapidly digitized every process. Now pensioners of all our pension plans can also take digital certificates.
What strategy is SBI Life adopting and how much growth is coming to meet the growing demand for insurance?
Growth is going very well. While our Protection New Business Premium grew by a good 33% for the half year ended 30th September 2021, our Personal New Business Premium grew by 54%. We are working on a 3-pronged strategy to meet the growing demand for insurance products in the country. To increase the reach in the country, touch points are being increased. We have 75 banking partners including State Bank, through whose more than 40,000 bank branches, we are making our insurance plans available in all urban and rural areas across the country. Apart from these, we have a network of 1.43 lakh ‘Life Mitras’ (agents). We are also opening new branches. Recently we have opened new branch in Ghatkopar (Mumbai), now total 947 branches. We also have a focus on digital. With the ‘Yono’ app of State Bank, any customer can easily take a term insurance policy in just 3 clicks. Our mobile app ‘M Connect’ has been made in 13 languages. The complete form is filled in digitally. Then the recorded audio of the complete details of the insurance policy is sent to the customer. That is, the policy is issued only after the customer is completely satisfied. In this way, 99.5% of the process is done digitally. This is also providing great convenience to the customers.
Which type of insurance plan is in high demand at present?
Although there is a demand for all types of products according to the different needs of the people, but after Corona, the sales of protection plans, guaranteed income plans, retirement-pension plans and ULIP products are increasing more. Every person wants financial security for his family in case of any untoward incident, for this term insurance is necessary.
The demand for Guaranteed Income Plan has increased because a large amount is needed for children’s education, marriage or any big need. Secondly, due to the Corona crisis, people have also understood that whether they earn tomorrow or not, a certain amount is needed every month to survive in the future. Therefore the demand for pension plan has increased. Whereas, due to the boom in the stock market, the sale of ‘Ulip’ is also increasing because ULIP is the only insurance and investment product, which provides insurance protection along with investment benefits in the equity market.
Miss selling is a problem in the insurance industry. What steps is SBI Life taking to curb this?
It is such that we started a new service a few years back called ‘Pre-Insurance Welcome Call (PIWC)’ to prevent miss-selling. Under which, before issuing any policy to our new customer, we call and confirm whether you agree to the features and conditions of the plan you are taking or not? We issue the policy only after the customer is completely satisfied. This feature has now been made mandatory by the Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) for all companies. This has curbed mis-selling to a great extent in the industry. Our miss selling ratio is the lowest in the industry at 0.08%.