R-Life relies on 'old is gold' strategy; lines up 25 new plans
Panaji: Leading private insurer Reliance Life Insurance Company (RLIC) Thursday said it will launch 25 new products beginning next year with a focus on 'traditional plans' and provide need-based insurance solution to customers.
RLIC, which is a part of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group's financial services arm Reliance Capital Limited, said these 25 new products under the new regulatory regime would be launched beginning January 1, 2014, and approvals have been secured from the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA).
"We have received most of the product approvals from IRDA and will be launching these over the next three months. We will largely focus on traditional plans and continue to provide simple and need-based solutions to customers," RLIC Chief Executive Officer Anup Rau told reporters here.
Traditional plans will contribute 80 percent while the unit-linked plans will contribute around 20 percent to the top-line in the new product environment, he said.
As per new regulatory guidelines, life insurance products have been segmented into three broad categories - traditional insurance plans, variable insurance plans and unit-linked insurance plans.
"Reliance Life Insurance is planning to file more products with IRDA in the next few months to offer a comprehensive product suite across all customer need segments," Rau said.
Reliance Life Insurance will continue to capitalise on its strong agency-driven distribution models and focus on agent productivity to drive growth, he said.
Speaking to reporters, Rau said the company would rely on increasing productivity to increase insurance penetration across the country.
India being a diverse country, local understanding and insight of an insurance agent is a source of comfort for a customer looking at financial planning, he said.
"Moreover, the agency model provides the highest reach for products and services and creates employment generation opportunities.
"However, improving productivity is a key challenge. Our focus is on agent productivity with a view to increasing insurance penetration across the country. This will continue to play a pivotal role in our growth journey," Rau said.
The company has over 80,000 advisors and over 8,000 outlets across India and has achieved over 50 percent growth in agent productivity as of September 2013.
RLIC is also keen to develop bancassurance partnerships (distribution tie-ups with banks) for enhancing its reach and productivity, as and when the banks start selling products of multiple insurers under the new regulations.
IRDA recently issued guidelines allowing banks to become licensed insurance brokers.
The new model would allow banks to offer a wider choice of products from multiple insurance companies to their customers instead of the existing conflicted practice of pushing products from a single manufacturer, Reliance Life CEO said.
"IRDA has taken an extremely progressive measure that enables banks to align their interest to their customers by offering them a wider choice of products from a larger number of life companies.
"The industry will see an exponential increase in reach and growth, once banks start selling products of multiple insurance companies," he said.
Besides a strong agent base, the company has also hired over 1,500 people under its proprietary channels, such as Life Plaza, Face-to-Face and Career Agency in the past one year, with a view to enhancing its reach and supplementing growth of agency channel.
"The proprietary channels have started showing encouraging results and we expect them to contribute at least 10 per cent to the top-line, next year onwards," he said.
RLIC registered a whopping growth in its new business premium collecting Rs 1,022 crore during the April-September period of 2013-14, as compared to Rs 571 crore in the corresponding period last year.
It has topped the list amongst non-bank promoted private life insurers in total new business premium during the first half of 2013-14 and is among the top five private life insurers in the country with an over 7 percent market share.
It sold over 7.5 lakh policies during 2012-13 financial year and has an asset under management of more than Rs 18,189 crore (as on March 31, 2013). It recorded an over four-fold surge in its second quarter profit at Rs 136 crore in the three-month period ended September 2013.