Reliance Life adds Nippon's distribution models to boost reach

Both distribution channels - Life Plaza and Face-to-Face - will be providing sales and services to prospective and existing customers of the company.

New Delhi: Leading private insurer Reliance Life Insurance Company (RLIC) is betting on distribution models of its Japanese partner Nippon Life, as part of its plans to increase reach and productivity in the domestic insurance market.

RLIC, part of Anil Ambani-led financial services firm Reliance Capital Limited, has added two new distribution formats - Life Plaza and Face-to-Face - in its current distribution channels, mainly consisting of agency force, brokers and corporate agents, according to a top company official.

The company aims at expanding and strengthening its existing distribution network through these two new models, which are based on what is followed by Nippon Life Insurance in Japan and adapted to the Indian market.

"The main idea behind introduction of these distribution models is to increase number of the sales people in the field working for the company full time. This will also help us enhance our reach and productivity," said Reliance Life Insurance President and Executive Director Malay Ghosh.

Both distribution channels - Life Plaza and Face-to-Face - will be providing sales and services to prospective and existing customers of the company.

Besides, creating greater awareness about life insurance in and around the locations, Reliance Life Plaza would promote need-based sales, fill service gaps and also offer financial and value-added services such as tax and financial planning, health check-ups and nutrition counseling.

RLIC is hiring about 1,000 people and setting up 200 Life Plazas across the country with a focus on Tier II, Tier III and Tier IV cities by the end of this fiscal.

He said: "We believe Life Plaza will help us further reach out to customers, understand their needs and provide solutions to them at the venue. The process of selling will ensure that the customer buys only what he/she needs and understands and thus also address the problem of mis-selling."

On the other hand, Face-to-Face is a unique service-based sales platform, which aims at servicing customers whose agents have become inactive.

Ghosh said: "This distribution format will target existing customers who are currently not connected to any advisor and distributor. We hope this sales-cum-service initiative will not only help retain our existing customers but also help us enhance relationship value through cross-sell and up-sell to them."

Reliance Life has hired around 200 women employee advisors during the pilot phase, and plans to scale this up across the country in the next few months. These newly-appointed women advisors have completed their 30-day training programme at RLIC and started evolving relationship with customers and servicing policies.

The new sales format would focus on Tier I and Tier II cities and leverage the talent pool amongst on housewives in these locations to connect with the customers and support the company's existing distribution channels.

"Life insurance is a long-term financial solution and long-lasting customer relationships are critical for the company. Therefore, we are investing in creating channels to facilitate the development and maintenance of these relationships," he added.

"We are confident that both the new distribution channels will help us build a healthy relationship with the customers and expand and strengthen the existing distribution channels in order to increase our reach. We hope to replicate the success that this model enjoys in Japan," said Ghosh.