The Insurance Inflexion

Gauri Chhabra
No other sector is at such a curious inflexion as is Insurance. It has reached a stage where it is one of the largest creators of jobs; on the other hand it is also one of the very few sectors where attrition is as high as 70%. The sector presents unprecedented opportunities of growth both in terms of lucre and elevation in status.
In the landmark year 1999, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) was constituted as an autonomous body to regulate and develop the insurance industry.The year 2000marked a momentous milestone in the history of Insurance when it entered a new domain altogether from a public domain to a fiercely competitive private sector. The major government companies are Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), General Insurance Corporation (GIC) and Postal Life Insurance. Private players like Om Kotak Mahindra, Birla Sun-Life, Tata AIF Life, Reliance, HDFC Standard Life-Insurance Co., Max New York Life, Royal Sundaram, Cholamandalam, IFFCO Tokyo and Tata AIG are also there. This coupled with financial doldrums and the increase in the number of catastrophic events that inflict mass casualties and severe economic losseshas ushered in a wave of unprecedented growth in the sector and also as a natural corollary a plethora of job opportunities.
Getting in
To pursue a career in the insurance industry, you will have to pass the entrance examination conducted by the Actuarial Society of India, Mumbai. Students who have passed 10 + 2 or equivalent exam are eligible. License is needed to work in this field which can be achieved through a training program. Insurance Institute of India conducts Licentiate, Associateship Fellowshipbesides Certificate Course on Foundations of Casualty Actuarial Science, Diploma in Marine insurance, Fire Insurance plus other training programs for insurance services.
Insurance Courses in India
* B. A (Insurance), B. A (pass) with Insurance as a Subject
* PG Diploma in Certified Risk and Insurance management
* Certificate Course in Intermediaries in Specific Insurance Subjects
* Course for Insurance Agents
* Courses for Insurance Managers
* PG Diploma in Insurance and Risk Management
* B. Sc (with Actuarial science as a subject)
* PG Diploma in Insurance Science
* PG Diploma in Management of Insurance and Financial Services
* Master’s Program in Insurance Business
* Foundation in Financial Planning
* M. Sc in Actuarial Science
Institute scape
* Actuarial Society of India, Mumbai
* Amity School of Insurance and Actuarial Science, Noida
* Birla Institute of Management & Technology, New Delhi;
* College Of Insurance, Mumbai;
* Institute of Insurance & Risk Management, Hyderabad;
* International Institute for Insurance and Finance, Hyderabad;
* International School of Actuarial Sciences (ISAS), Hyderabad;
* National Insurance Academy, Pune;
* The ICFAI School of Finance and Management, Hyderabad
Online Courses
CAS Online Course 1, Risk Management and Insurance Operations by TheInstitutes. (Prometric lists this course as CAS1 on its Web site under The Institutes.) It prepares CAS candidates for a two-hour, seventy-five-point multiple-choice examination.
Career Pathways
The growth rate in Insurance Sector has been more than 20% in the past 3 years. There is a huge potential for development in Insurance sector. India is heading towards being one of the strongest economies of the world by 2020 and it would have a ripple effect on Insurance sector too.
Following are some of the career options you can go in for:
As an insurance underwriter, you would assess insurance risks and decide whether to offer cover. It would be your job to set the terms and conditions of insurance policies, and decide how much to charge for them. You would make sure that policies were priced competitively for the customer but high enough for the insurance company to cover any potential losses arising from claims and make a profit. You would specialize in either life assurance, one of several types of general insurance or commercial insurance. Your work could include studying insurance proposals, gathering background information, such as medical histories, analyzing statistics from actuaries and other sources, getting specialist risk assessments from experts, such as surveyors or doctors, assessing risk, calculating the price of premiums, preparing quotes and negotiating terms with brokers or business clients, deciding whether any special conditions should apply to policies, maintaining accurate and detailed records.
You would work closely with actuaries, claims and risk managers, brokers and other insurance professionals.
Insurance agent(Sales)
This profile occupies the maximum surface area and is the most difficult to carry out. If you are an Insurance agent your primary goal would be to keep yourself updated and attend meetings, seminars and programs to learn about new products and services, receive technical assistance in developing new accounts, calculate premiums and establish payment method, call on policyholders to deliver and explain policy, to analyze insurance program and suggest additions or changes, or to change beneficiaries, confer with clients to obtain and provide information when claims are made on a policy, contact underwriter and submit forms to obtain binder coverage. At a higher level you can also suggest the management to customize insurance programs to suit individual customers, often covering a variety of risks.
Making ‘hard sell’sell?
For those of you who feel that Insurance is hard sell, here are excerpts from the conversation with Sandeep Mathur, Accounts Executive at AAA, a leading Insurance firm in the US who is visiting India.
Q: Is Insurance a hard sell? Is selling Insurance in the US easier than in India?
A: Insurance is not as much a hard sell as you think. In fact for those of you who think thatyour work experiences in retail, food service or camp counseling aren’t applicable to the insurance industry? Believe it or not, they are. The customer service and problem solving involved in each one of these is definitely something you will use in the insurance sector.
Nope, I can’t say that. Although the US population is more conscious towards the importance of insurance, yet convincing the consumer has to be done as there are many carriers and plans to choose from and with information at the consumer’s fingertips, we have to stay current all the time…
Q: How can one make a start?
A: For those of you, who think how to start, take the first step by building your network. There’s a good chance you’re already connected to at least one insurance professional through your car insurance, tenant or home insurance, or through your parents, so you won’t have to start from scratch. Ask questions and indicate your interest in the industry – you never know who they know and can connect you to. From there, you can branch out and develop new connections by attending professional and social events in the industry and on your campus. Though it may not ‘net’ a job that day, it plants seeds and introduces you to people who you can follow-up with later on.
Q: How does one survive and thrive?
A:To survive in this sector, the singular formula is to keep yourself updated with the competitor’s products and services and also be familiar with the latest risk mitigation and management techniques. To survive present and future catastrophes, insurance industry professionals are going to have to manage risks knowing that past losses are no longer good predictors of future losses. And despite more uncertainty about the frequency and severity of risks, it’s necessary to adapt to the new risk architecture. Because you can be paralyzed by managing extreme events … or you can build more resilient systems. Therefore, gear yourself up to carve a nice for yourself and ensure success in the Insurance sector.