Insurance consultancy: 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 as also the range of control widens.

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.6,000 per month plus incentives on business procured, and as assistant administrative officers who start on a salary of Rs.8,000 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 highest salary in the LIC and GIC is Rs.36,000 (i.e of the chairman) per month.

The burgeoning private sector today employs about two lakh personnel in various capacities. With new companies opening 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, Kotak Mahindra – Old Mutual, Prudential-ICICI, and Aditya Birla-SunLife. Entry level salaries in the insurance sector could 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 in the 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 are now offering insurance courses such as:

International Institute for Insurance and Finance (, Hyderabad
Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai
ICFAI University (, Hyderabad
Amity School of Insurance and Actuarial Science (, New Delhi
Institute of Insurance and Risk Management (, Hyderabad
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Kendra at different centres in India (
Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, Pune
International School of Actuarial Sciences (ISAS), Hyderabad

Heading the prestigious III as secretary general is Shewak J. Gidwani, senior divisional manager of LIC, whos been on deputation to the institute since November 1995. A hardcore insurance professional, Gidwani joined LIC in 1964 while still an economics student of Mumbai University. After graduating Gidwani acquired a law degree and an associateship and fellowship of the Insurance Institute of India.

Before III was promoted in 1955, there was no institute in India which provided formal insurance education. With the support of LIC and GIC, we have been developing insurance education material and are publishing 26 textbooks on insurance, including a book on insurance regulations. III is a member of the Institution of Global Insurance Education and has links with the Chartered Institute of UK. As far as insurance education is concerned, III is as good as the best in the world,” says Gidwani.

According to Gidwani, there is a particularly great future in insurance for actuaries as actuarial education has not taken off in a big way in India. There are only 100 actuaries in India. Now with privatisation, actuaries will be in great demand and they will command excellent remuneration. In fact, together with the Actuarial Society of India and international actuaries we conducted a four-day seminar in Mumbai on actuarial techniques in general insurance addressed by a Wharton School professor. Out of 40 participants, 10 were from neighbouring Asian countries

With more players in the field, the market will expand and the insurance profession will become more attractive, prophesises Gidwani. The new companies will however be technology driven and the future is wide open for information technology professionals with insurance qualifications,” he says

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