New Delhi: Japan's Nippon Life has said it plans to bring the practice of post-sales services to the Indian insurance industry through its partnership with Reliance Life in the country.
Customer service activities make for a key element of the company's insurance business in Japan and it would look to reciprocate the same in India as well, Nippon Life Insurance President Yoshinobu Tsutsui told reporters.
As a strategic partner, Nippon Life has 26 percent stake in Reliance Life Insurance, which is part of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group's financial services arm Reliance Capital.
Post-sales service is a widely prevalent practice in a host of consumer-focussed businesses, including consumer goods and home appliances, and involves a continued relationship between the company and its customers through maintenance and advice-like offerings for years after the actual sale.
However, post-sales services are not available in the Indian insurance industry, although some other financial services segments like banking do offer such offerings in form of financial advisory services for certain customers.
In the insurance sector, financial advice is an important part at the time of signing up the customers, but it is up to the customers to seek any further service from the insurers after they have enrolled for their policies.
"We make it a rule (in Japan) that all our sales people visit every customer at least once a year periodically," Tsutsui said in an email interview, while adding that such visits also help in selling new products to the existing customers and in acquiring new clients.
"...We would like to reciprocate this kind of experience or initiative that we have been doing, trying to do at Nippon life also at Reliance life," he added.
Stressing on the need for an after-sales service, Tsutsui said that life insurance is a long-term product the customers' needs may change over a period of time, according to his or her age, marital status and family size etc.
"At each stage of life, there is a requirement to review the current policy that the customer is enrolling. That's why it is very important for sales agents to periodically visit the customers to find out their diversifying needs in their various life stages. This is the key point in enhancing customer satisfaction," he said.
"We have gathered various experiences, know-how and best practices in Japan. Now, it's our turn to share the experience with our partner Reliance Life Insurance," Tsutsui added.
On product strategy, Tsutsui said, "We will be more than happy to help Reliance Life Insurance in capturing the trend shift in product portfolio and developing that kind of new products."
First Published: Sunday, July 29, 2012, 13:57