Money & Banking

We also sell life insurance!

NS Vageesh Mumbai | Updated on April 15, 2015

Aegon’s novel strategy to build relationships, curb attrition

Prospective clients of Aegon Religare Life Insurance may find something peculiar in the way they are being wooed.

The agents of the company talk about all topics except life insurance! That is part of a conscious strategy to engage with the customer in a holistic manner, says Amit Kumar Roy, Chief Distribution Officer, Aegon Religare Life Insurance Company.

So, what do they talk about? Amit says agents are being trained on how to open a conversation and talk about matters that connect with the customer.

Adding value

So, for instance, agents talk about how to get a passport, the options for higher education for teenage children, the advantages of getting a PAN card, latest movies, the mechanics of the IPL auction and even something as mundane as filing a police complaint.

In addition, to woo the female audience, they are taught about the safest cosmetics available in the market! Life insurance is introduced to the customer almost as an after thought.

All this training is provided through a program called ‘Gurukul’ conducted at various company locations across the country.

The topics that are covered in these programs are more about building a relationship with the customer than merely about the technicals of the insurance product. Amit says that the objective is not to cross-sell immediately but to add value to the customer.

Amit concedes that it is still too early to judge the results of this initiative, but one positive effect has apparently been a drastic drop in the agency churn.

Agency attrition has been an industry-wide problem. Many agents sell a few policies in the first year as they exhaust their limited circle of relatives and close friends.

Then reality hits when confronted with the task of persuading uninterested and indifferent customers to take life insurance.

At this stage, usually at the end of the first year, agents are demoralised and begin quitting. Naturally, policies also tend to lapse soon after.

It was no different for Aegon Religare. Drop out rates of agents were as high as 86 per cent two years ago.

According to Amit, the company has now turned more cautious in its agency selection. The process is now tougher and agents are told not to sell to their family members during the first six months. The company currently has about 5,000 agents on its rolls.

Selling life insurance remains one of the most difficult jobs and few choose it as a full-time career.

Initiatives such as Gurukul help raise the level of engagement with the sales force. It is a lot about how you make them feel, sums up Amit.

Published on April 15, 2015

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