In terms of the future of the Indian insurance industry, what do you think are the measures that can be taken/ have been taken by ICICI Pru to further strengthen its distribution system to meet the competition? Bring out the drawbacks of the existing channels and the need to explore new avenues. Distribution Scenario in the Indian insurance Market The major challenges to insurers and intermediaries in highly competitive Indian insurance market are:
1. To build faith about the company’s insurance services in its customer’s mind 2. To develop relationship(in terms of credibility) between intermediaries and clients 3. To develop extensive network for providing best service and stay close to the customers Capturing larger segment –Rural India Except ICICI Prudential, all the insurance companies have traditionally tied agents that have been the primary channels for insurance distribution in the Indian market. In case of the public sector insurance companies such as LIC, SBI etc. they have used their branches in almost all parts of the country and have attracted local people to become their agents.
While ICICI Pru has used multiple channels such as bancassurance, direct marketing and corporate agents for their insurance distribution and have covered 69 cities and towns in India. By the virtue of these multiple distribution channels, ICICI Pru became leader in Indian insurance sector in short span of time with maximum contribution form bancassurance channel. However, these channels were targeted mostly at urban customers while the 70-80% of the Indian population stays in Rural area.
ICICI Pru has tried to cater rural customers by joining hands with BASIX, World vision, Dhan, Shepherd, Uttaranchal Co-operative Marketing Federation, nLog Communiaction, ITC’e eachaupal etc. But, to cover the maximum possible rural market and develop strong rural insurance market at optimum cost for ICICI Pru, according to me India Post is the best intermediary option. India Post is one of the oldest infrastructure developed in India and it would be the best channel to reach Indian rural customers at very low cost.
The postman are the best friend and information source to the village people. Hence they are the best fellows to create awareness about the company’s services and to distribute different insurance products. Thus they are the best sales man to build credibility about the company in rural India. Also the postmen have basic education in terms of services, hence the company can train them for their services at a very low cost. Thus the overall cost for reaching rural customer would be lower compare to all other possible options.