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Green pastures for insurance professionals

The insurance business offers very bright employment prospects, particularly since India is a grossly under-insured country.
With private sector insurance companies having entered the Indian marketplace in droves, they are recruiting personnel aggressively from training institutes and from the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and General Insurance Corporation (GIC), the two public sector behemoths which have dominated the insurance business in this country for half a century.

Even before the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority began its licensing process, Mynd Corporation (known till recently as Policy Management Systems) began its pitch to sell solutions to the two dozen or so serious new entrants into the insurance sector. An international team visited India to make presentations to prospective insurers in Bombay and Delhi. Simultaneously, several non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) also diversified into the high-potential insurance business while several corporate heavyweights have entered into tie-ups with foreign insurance companies. The insurance business today offers very bright employment prospects, particularly since India is a grossly under-insured country.

Though LIC claims to have sold some 80 million life insurance policies, these are mainly restricted to urban India and general insurance coverage rarely extends beyond the corporate sector.

Officers in insurance companies are mainly administrators. At the base level they have to supervise the functions of the assistant development officers, maintain the validity of issued policies by ensuring a regular inflow of premium payments, coordinate the services of surveyors and settle the dues of claimants. As officers move up in the hierarchy, their responsibilities and range of control widens.

REMUNERATION PROSPECTS- The two public sector corporations offer openings to graduates in the age group of 21 to 28 years for appointment in the cadres of development officers who start on a salary of Rs.12,000 per month plus incentives on business procured, and as assistant administrative officers who start at Rs.25,000 per month. The pattern of recruitment into these two cadres is different as also the nature of their responsibilities. Assistant development officers are selected on the basis of a written test and interview. Candidates who qualify in the written examination are called for an interview.

The burgeoning private sector today employs about 200,000 personnel in various capacities. With new companies establishing offices in several cities, the need for marketing and sales personnel, agents, brokers, and surveyors will increase substantially. Job openings in the private sector are in companies like Tata-AIG, ICICI-Lombard Insurance, Reliance Life Insurance, HDFC Life, Prudential-ICICI, and Aditya Birla-SunLife. Entry level salaries in the insurance sector start at Rs.1 lakh per annum, going up to Rs.4 lakh-6 lakh for middle level executives and Rs.25 lakh and above at senior management levels.

The major job opportunities after privatisation are likely to be for actuaries (who are the backbone of the industry and who create complex mathematical models to price new insurance products), surveyors (who visit the scene of an accident, fire or theft, to determine the liability of the insurance company), and agents (who sell insurance policies).

STUDY PROGRAMMES- The four major institutes offering insurance courses are the Insurance Institute of India (Universal Insurance Building, 6th Floor, Sir P.M. Road, Mumbai 400 001); National Insurance Academy (Balewadi, Barnar Road, NIAPO, Pune 411 015); Actuarial Society of India (9 Jeevan Udyog, 3rd Floor, Dr. D.N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001); and Institute of Insurance Surveyors and Adjuster (General Assurance Building, 2nd Floor, Dr. D.N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001). Of these the most popular is the Insurance Institute of India (III).

Realising the need for insurance education, several other institutes now offer insurance courses. They include:

• International Institute for Insurance and Finance (www.iifindia.com), Hyderabad

• Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai

• ICFAI University (www.icfai.org), Hyderabad

• Amity School of Insurance and Actuarial Science (www.amity.edu), New Delhi

• Institute of Insurance and Risk Management (www.iirmworld.org.in), Hyderabad

• Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Kendra at different centres in India (www.bhavanis.info/rpimc)

• Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, Pune

• International School of Actuarial Sciences (ISAS), Hyderabad

(Excerpted from 101 Great Careers for the 21st Century by Indra Gidwani, 2016)

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