Life insurance coming to rural India, 1 town/day
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Bajaj Allianz notches up some good numbers selling life insurance in India?s smaller towns. Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance was languishing among the also-rans about a year ago. Today, it is in the reckoning for the top slot among private sector life insurers. The credit for this goes to Sam Ghosh, Bajaj Allianz?s CEO and country head for Allianz, who transformed the company from a niche play to mass marketer. Ghosh was chosen to spearhead Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance in January 2004, after he delivered the desired results as head of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. He strategised to take Bajaj Allianz where no other private sector life insurer was present.
?We decided to go into smaller towns and get the first mover advantage. We mapped out places where Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) had two-three branches and doing good business. We were sure LIC would not be having more than one branch in a town if there wasn?t enough business,? recounts Ghosh.
Of the 550 branch offices of Pune-based Bajaj Allianz Life, about 250 are in towns where no other private sector life insurer has presence. The only competitor is LIC, the public sector insurer that enjoyed a monopoly till the turn of the century and has not entirely shed the baneful effects of complacency induced by monopolyhood.
In the 500 days ended March 31, 2006, Bajaj Allianz opened one office a day, and now has a network of about 550 offices across mid-to-small towns. Measure this against a presence in the top 30-40 cities and towns earlier.