Friday, May 7

Aegon Life Insurance plans to tie up e-commerce players, build brand equity

With a business strategy of acquiring policy-holders through digital mode sans intermediaries, Aegon Life Insurance Company plans to tie up with e-commerce players, expand product portfolio and build brand equity, said a top company official.

“We will look at people/organisations having digital pools of customers and tie-up with them. We will expand our digital presence as well as our product range. The products will be simple to understand and buy while the process of policy purchase is also being further simplified,” Vineet Arora, Managing Director and CEO told IANS on Wednesday.

Aegon Life — a joint venture between Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd and Netherlands-based Aegon N.V. — though started operations in 2008 rewrote its business model as digital direct two years back.

The company mostly sells its policies online sans intermediaries like individual agents and banks.

Though Aegon Life’s term insurance premium rates are lower than the competition and claims settlement ratios are higher, there are many who buy the policy online from life insurers with better brand equity.

“Our claims settlement ratio is 95.67 per cent. I agree that we need to do more on building our brand equity. We have signed up Vicky Kaushal (Hindi movie actor) as our brand ambassador,” Arora remarked.

Life insurance is a business of distribution and needs a minimum premium income to meet the fixed running expenses while shareholders would expect returns.

With the relaxation of bancassurance norms permitting a bank to sell life policies of more than one insurer companies that started operations in mid or late 2000 have signed up with banks and increased their topline growth, industry experts told IANS.

Responding to that Arora said: “The shareholders are committed to build a long-term business. Life insurance is evolving from a sold product to a bought product. The younger population are aware that they need life insurance term plan. We have now launched term insurance policies up to to the age of 100 years.”

Arora said the company has over 600 relationship managers who interact with the policyholders and prospective policyholders to clarify their doubts.

He also said Aegon Life’s per policy size or sum assured per policy is increasing and the company will be ranking eighth or ninth in the Indian industry and did not agree that average premium per policy (APPP) is an apt measurement.

“The blended average sum assured is about Rs 85-90 lakh. Nearly 60 per cent of the policies sold are term insurance and balance 40 per cent are savings products,” Arora said.

Interestingly, private players who started operations soon after the industry was opened in 2000 used to cite their sum assured-relatively a bigger number – as against premium income which will be a smaller number when compared to Life Insurance Corporation of India’s figures.

On the products side Arora said the company has strong portfolio of protection products while the focus will be on wealth creation and retirement products.

Queried about the financial markets and investment income Arora said the interest rate will come down while the volatility in the stock market will be there for some more time.

Aegon Life reinsures term insurance policies with a sum assured over Rs 30 lakh.

(Aegon Life is a joint venture between Aegon and Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL), which is the publisher of The Economic Times.)

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