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The Economic Times over decades has connected with consumers at different levels while being an inherent part of the India growth story. We do acknowledge that as the country grows along with its diversified assets, there will be a strong need of not just protectingthese assets but instil a process of resurfacing without losses. In this respect, insuring people, resources and assets will become a crucial tool. With this in purview, the Economic Times is organizing the 2nd Annual Insurance Summit called ‘The Economic Times Insurance Summit‘ which will bring together leaders from insurance industry to contemplate on relevant topics like policy & regulatory changes, insurance in financial inclusion, technology and consumer awareness strategies.
Finally emerging from a difficult economic period caused by the global financial crisis, the Indian insurance industry has begun to show positive premium growth and the rates of return on fixed investments have also improved. Although moderate, this growth signals a turnaround for the industry and, combined with recent capital pressures, stronger stock markets, higher premium growth and cost containment efforts may indicate the start of the next hard market for insurers. In fact, according to a report, the Indian life insurance sector is likely to grow between 12-15% in financial year 2015-16 and will be marked with much increased reach, premiums and density. Further, plans from regulatory agency IRDA to introduce newer channels for distribution such as insurance marketing firms only adds to the optimistic outlook.
However, notwithstanding the improvement in penetration and density in the last years, India largely remains an under-penetrated market. The market today is primarily dependent on push, tax incentives and mandatory buying for sales. There is very little customer pull, which will come from with increasing savings and disposable income. Till then the stakeholders will increasing transparency of cost and pricing, effective distribution and improving customer servicing to drive sales. Attrition rate and skill development is one key area which also holds the industry back as making consumer aware of products and outlining benefits require considerable experience, an expectation which is handled with difficulty due to constantly changing staff. Another major challenge faced by the industry if forming distribution channels, with which the smaller agencies have operational limitations.