Money & Banking

IndiaFirst Life plans to grow agency channel with ‘high-quality’ agents

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on July 25, 2018 Published on July 25, 2018

IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company (IndiaFirst) plans to expand its agency force over the next two years to 5,000 agents from 1,600 at present, a top official said.

“We are not looking at quantity at all. The agents we plan to bring on board will only be high quality. Even the existing 1,600 are of fairly high quality,” Rushabh Gandhi, Deputy CEO, IndiaFirst, told BusinessLine here.

It may be recalled that Gandhi was recently elevated as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of this insurer. Asked if there was a strategy for building an agency channel only with “high-quality” agents without going in for a mass approach for a large agency force, Gandhi said that the latter would be a costly affair.

“For say, every 100-150 agents who may not fit the high-quality parameters but form part of my mass agency channel, I will have to get an office for them, pay rent and increase fixed costs. It is very costly and the cost-benefit ratio is not favourable. So, you will only see more and more organisations moving towards quality agents,” said Gandhi.

Bancassurance

Today, 85-90 per cent of IndiaFirst’s retail business comes through bancassurance, with its promoter shareholders, Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank, contributing a significant portion.

In the last three years, IndiaFirst had recorded 53 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in retail annualised premium equivalent (APE).

“We had a phenomenal last couple of years. This growth of 53 per cent CAGR in retail APE was fuelled by bancassurance,” said Gandhi.

Although a sizeable portion of its retail business came from bancassurance, IndiaFirst has “prided itself” on being a multi-distribution organisation, he said.

IndiaFirst is also looking to ramp up its Hospicash product as part of efforts to commoditise insurance and use insurance as a loyalty product, said Gandhi.

This (Hospicash) is like a value-added service and IndiaFirst is in talks with several players to expand the use of this product, he said.

“You will hear a lot about Hospicash-related tie-ups in the next one or two years. We have just started with Oxigen Services and more are in the offing.” For instance, a credit card company may have 20 lakh customers. Some of them pay the credit card company on time and some don’t.

“So, the credit card company will offer customers who pay on time a free insurance cover. “So, I, as IndiaFirst, is not talking to each of the customers of the credit card company, but only to the card company to give this benefit (of insurance cover) to its customers,” said Gandhi.

Published on July 25, 2018
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