We aspire to be among Top 10 in 3 years: Vighnesh Shahane, IDBI Federal Life Insurance

The MD & CEO of IDBI Federal Life Insurance talks about the year gone by, the bancassurance space, targets and more

by Misbaah Mansuri
Published - Jan 10, 2019 8:11 AM Updated: Jan 10, 2019 8:11 AM

At a time when most insurers have gone the ULIP way, IDBI Federal Life Insurance’s bancassurance conviction seems to have kept it in good stead. The company recently launched the #KeepMoving movement with brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar driving home the message that in order to lead a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to focus on both, physical and financial fitness. Vighnesh Shahane, MD & CEO, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, in a conversation with exchange4media, got candid on the year gone by, the bancassurance space, targets and more.


Edited excerpts below


How was 2018 for IDBI Federal? What would be your focus areas for 2019?

 2018 has been a fantastic year. The only glitch has been around the muted growth in our premium because of the uncertainties surrounding the banks. But our outlook for 2019 is extremely positive. We’ll quantify our strengths and work on our weaknesses. But our focus areas have always been business growth, persistency, keeping costs down, risk mitigation and profits.  


Does low-cost banca channel unknowingly restrict the scope for growing the digital and agency channels?

I don’t think it is a case of either of them. Banca can grow and will grow and so can the agency and online digital channels. Every channel can co-exist if it is meeting customer demands. 

What according to you is your biggest distribution-related challenge?
I think it’s about how do you increase the productivity of that sales-person. If he is selling one policy, how do you make him sell more and how do you keep him interested in insurance. If a banker has 15-20 products, how do you keep him interested in life-insurance and increase the productivity for life-insurance.                                                                    

Your business being an amalgamation between two brands, does it create challenges? Does that entail a different bancassurance strategy than the usual? 
It is a boon to have two large banks distributing our products. So between them, there are 3,800 branches and it only increases our profits. Both banks have a different customer segment. But geographically too it changes. The Banca strategy for the east of India would be different from that of south of India.                                                  

How do you see life insurance products evolving over time? How disruptive would the waves of Big Data, Machine Learning, IoT and value-added analytics prove for the sector?
For one, life insurance products are becoming more customer-centric, thanks to the regulator. They are becoming far more simple and it will be far more easy to access life insurance products now the online route. They will give the sector a bit of a cutting edge. They will add to the strength of the sector. They can enhance the experience but they cannot replace the human touch as life insurance is all about empathy.                                                        

Which are your target markets? What makes your brand tick in these markets?                                            

As much as 80% of our business comes from banks. So our target markets are naturally bank customers.  


Where do you see IDBI Federal in three years from now, vis-a-vis competition from public and private players?
The aspiration is to see IDBI Federal in the top 10 three years from now. Not just in the top-line business growth but also other parameters of the business in a more holistic way.

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