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General insurers want pro tag for agents

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 9:00am IST Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2013 - 11:47pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Knock at regulator’s door; plea comes at a time when 5 out of 10 agents are hitting the exit button.

General insurers are making out a case for insurance agents meant to make their life a lot simpler. They have put forward a set of proposals before the regulator seeking to revamp the workforce.

First of all, the companies have asked for loosening of licensing norms for those who deal in plain vanilla products. Life insurance agents, they feel, should be allowed to sell health policies of general insurers without a separate licence.

Also, they have pitched for granting professional status to agents’ career through the introduction of a minimum fixed amount for small ticket-size policies.
“Agents are finding it difficult to comply with stringent norms and the selection process, especially for those who generally sell small-ticket size policies. We have made some representation to the regulator to ease these selection norms and licensing,” said an industry official.

The proposals have come at a time when 5 out of 10 agents are leaving their jobs, and there’s a general feeling that changes to the regulations are due for the overall growth and penetration of the industry. Things are a little better in the general insurance space, where every third agent is dropping out.

“It is definitely a challenge attracting people to this career, especially in general insurance, as the remuneration is very low. We have asked for certain relaxations on removing the cap on commission since there is already a cap on the management expenses of insurance companies,” said K G Krishnamoorthy Rao, CEO, Future Generali.

A marked rise in agent attrition in life and non-life alike has been a matter of concern for quite some time. The seriousness of the situation can be gauged from the fact that more than 3.5 lakh agents have quit the industry in the last calender year alone, dragging down the base to nearly 12 lakh. The previous year too had seen 1.5 lakh agents hit the exit.

On their part, both life and non-life players are investing big to bolster their agent base. At the same time, the unproductive ones are being shown the door because of rising business costs and a business slump.

Ranjeder Sud, director – head, agency distribution at Max Life, struck a note of hope: “Life insurance agents are getting adjusted to the structural changes in the sector. Pass percentage under the new curriculum was one major problem they were grappling with. But with a proper training mechanism in place, it shows signs of improvement.”

@Aswathy_04




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