Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Aug 23, 2002
Money & Banking
Max New York looking at `most admired' tag
Sarbajeet K. Sen
Mr Anuroop Tony Singh
NEW DELHI, Aug.22
MR Anuroop Tony Singh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Max New York Life Insurance Co, has been steering the company's fortunes since it set up base in India in early 2001.
Mr Singh shifted to insurance after a high-profile career in banking which saw him as taking up the responsibility as Country Head (India) and Regional Head, Consumer Banking, West Asia and South Asia for ANZ Grindlays Bank. Prior to this, he spearheaded Bank of America's entry into retail banking in India as the Country General Manager (Retail Banking).
Besides his present responsibility at Max New York Life, Mr Singh is also the Managing Director (South Asia) of New York International with carries with it the responsibility of developing the company's business in the region.
In an exclusive interview with Business Line, Mr Singh talks about Max New York's Life's plans and also shares his thoughts on the life insurance industry in India.
It is now nearly two years since private insurance companies were allowed into the Indian market. What has been your experience during the period?
Our experience has been very good. We launched the company in April last year and in our first year we developed a good size and quality of business. Quality of business is important. You can sell a lot of life insurance but if it is not the right risk sold at the right price you are not necessarily building quality business. We sold 64,000 policies in year one with premium collected being over Rs 38 crore. We have presence in nine cities with 11 offices and over 2,500 agents. We would continue to build on the success as we go into the second year.
What milestones for the future have you set for yourself?
We want to be the `most admired' life insurance company in India. We want our company to be the first choice for agents to join. We want to be the most preferred brand to be bought in the marketplace and we want to see ourselves as the most preferred employer in the life insurance domain and we certainly want to become profitable by 2007.
What are the premium figures you have targeted around 2007?
It is our practice not to disclose future projections. The reason is that it is very difficult to anticipate what will happen in the future. You have seen the fate of 5 per cent service tax on life premium (which was not implemented). Had that happened it would have changed everybody's projections dramatically. We want to show success in the marketplace and then talk about what we have actually accomplished.
Have you been able to differentiate your products from other similar offerings?
Yes, substantially. We have done couple of noticeable things that were clearly differentiated and set the pace for the market. Firstly, we were the first to launch products with riders thereby giving the customers a great amount of freedom to select the cover. We were able to customise our 8 products and 9 riders in such a way that we currently have over 250 customised combinations for customers.
Secondly, we offered products with a very healthy mix of protection and savings potential of the product. In the past in India what has been sold has been substantially investment products with almost nil life insurance in it.
Thirdly, we changed the paradigm of how products are sold and we recruited the best agents and followed a need-based, customised selling approach.
We also offered for the first time in India a free-look period i.e., if a customer did not appreciate what was sold to them they have a 15 day free-look period. That standard has been adopted by the regulator as the best practice that everybody else has to emulate.
(To be concluded)
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