Ranjan K Baruah
Despite insurance being a common word for us, we still do not have enough knowledge about insurance and why it is important for us. It is important for us to know about the insurance industry as it is not only linked with life but also has other aspects like general insurance or health insurance. All vehicle owners have insurance policies of their vehicles but most of them may not have their own health policy.
After economic liberation in India, many private corporate and career option have flourished and one such career options is the insurance field. Insurance has become an integral part in one's life as it helps in many ways. We are familiar with terms like Life Insurance and companies - whether under the government or purely private - have capitalized on life insurance, and they are doing business and at the same time also helping people in many ways. Insurance means being covered or protected against any hazards of life. It is a financial agreement that binds two people to certain obligations which is known as a Policy. One who buys insurance/ gets insurance coverage is the policy holder or insured and the one who sells the policy is the insurer.
In India, insurance has a deep-rooted history. It finds mention in the writings of Manu (Manusmrithi), Yagnavalkya (Dharmasastra) and Kautilya (Arthasastra). The writings talk in terms of pooling of resources that could be re-distributed in times of calamities such as fire, floods, epidemics and famine. This was probably a pre-cursor to modern day insurance. Ancient Indian history has preserved the earliest traces of insurance in the form of marine trade loans and carriers' contracts. Insurance in India has evolved over time heavily drawing from other countries, England in particular. As per an ASSOCHEM report, insurance sector requires 30 lakhs of manpower by 2030. Therefore, there is an urgent need for trained professionals with knowledge and skills of the sector.
There are many multinationals engaged with insurance. Some of the leading brands are AEGON Life Insurance, Aviva Life Insurance, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, Bharti AXA Life Insurance, Birla Sun Life Insurance, Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, Future Generali India Life Insurance, HDFC Standard Life Insurance, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance , Kotak Life Insurance, Life Insurance Corporation of India, Max Newyork Life Insurance, PNB MetLife Insurance, Reliance Life Insurance, SBI Life Insurance, Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Tata AIA Life Insurance, etc. All Insurance companies come under the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) which has been established to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of Life and General insurance industry in India.
Posts and designations related to the fields are Development Officer, Insurance Agents, Composite Agent, Insurance Surveyor, Actuaries, etc. Some of the courses related to insurance are BBA Insurance, Diploma in Capital Marketing and Insurance Management (DCMIM), Diploma in Insurance, Diploma in Insurance and Risk Management (DIRM), International Post Graduate Diploma in General Insurance, International Post Graduate Diploma in Life Insurance, MBA Insurance, MBA Risk and Insurance, M.Com specialization in Banking and Insurance, Master of Insurance Business, Post Graduate Diploma in Banking, Insurance and Financial Services Management, Post Graduate Diploma in Insurance and Risk Management, Post Graduate Diploma in Insurance Business Management, Post Graduate Diploma in Insurance Law, Post Graduate Diploma in Insurance Management, etc.
The foremost choice is to start as an insurance agent. They are the people who advice the individuals and enterprises about insurance protection to their health, life and properties and sell the policies to provide protection against financial loss. There are about 30 insurance companies in India. The major government companies are Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), General Insurance Corporation (GIC) and Postal Life Insurance. Minimum qualification required for joining these companies as an insurance agent is senior secondary where a student must be 12th pass. Higher qualification is always seen as additional advantage. One has to pass the entrance examination conducted by the Actuarial Society of India, Mumbai. Students who have passed 10 + 2 or equivalent exam are eligible. License is needed to work in this field which can be achieved through a training programme.
As the demand has increased so insurance has been introduced as a vocational subject. The same has been introduced by many universities at the graduation level. After the completion of graduation or post graduation in management one can work in insurance marketing and sales of private insurance companies. There are different positions in the sector which includes Administrative Officer (AO) & Assistant Administrative Officer (AAO), Development Officer, Insurance Agents, Composite Agent, Insurance Surveyor, etc. Though the minimum qualification for the insurance agent is 12th but for other administrative and management posts higher qualification like graduates or MBAs are preferred.
Insurance Institute of India: The Insurance Institute of India (III), formerly known as Federation of Insurance Institutes (J.C. Setalvad Memorial), was established in the year 1955, for the purpose of promoting Insurance Education & Training in the country. This institute's qualifications are held in esteem both by the regulator and the industry.
National Insurance Academy: National Insurance Academy (NIA) is a premier institution devoted to equip the insurance industry with the best of talents. Its close association with the Insurance industry provides the 'real life' reference to its training, education, research and consultancy activities. NIA was established in 1980 jointly by the Ministry of Finance - Government of India, Life Insurance Corporation of India, General Insurance Corporation of India, The New India Assurance Company, National Insurance Company, United India Insurance Company and The Oriental Insurance Company on 16th December, 1980 in Mumbai to be the institute of excellence in learning and research in Insurance, Pension and allied areas. The Academy was shifted to Pune on 4th June, 1990 with the state-of-the-art facilities for learning and research.
IRDA: Following the recommendations of the Malhotra Committee report, in 1999, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) was constituted as an autonomous body to regulate and develop the insurance industry. The IRDA was incorporated as a statutory body in April, 2000. The key objectives of the IRDA include promotion of competition so as to enhance customer satisfaction through increased consumer choice and lower premiums, while ensuring the financial security of the insurance market.
Institute of Actuaries of India: Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI) is a statutory body established under The Actuaries Act 2006 (35 of 2006) for regulation of profession of Actuaries in India. The provisions of the said Act have come into force from 10th day of November 2006, in terms of the notification dated 8th November 2006, issued by the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs. As a consequence of this, the erstwhile Actuarial Society of India was dissolved and all the Assets and Liabilities of the Actuarial Society of India were transferred to, and vested in, the Institute of Actuaries of India constituted under Section 3 of the Actuaries Act, 2006.
IIRM: Institute of Insurance and Risk Management is the only dedicated Institution for education in Insurance and Actuarial Science in the world. It is unique in character as the Institute is promoted by the regulator with the sole aim of developing the required work force for the entire Insurance sector. The institute offers education through the regular and distance modes.
Personnel attributes which are essentials are like good communication and networking skills. One needs to have a pleasant personality and friendly behaviour with others to get more success in this field. This area has tremendous prospect in the near future for which one can train him or her. Initially people had thought that insurance are for those who are rich or can afford to pay the amount but now it has changed its course and there are many aspects of insurance, including crop insurance and others which benefits the farmers. Many corporates are also trying to rich out to rural areas for their business which brings more scope for young people and others who want to get associated with the insurance sector. There are micro insurance policies too which are mostly for rural people.
(Ranjan K Baruah is a social activist and career mentor who has conducted career awareness programme in different parts of Assam and Northeast India and can be reached at email@example.com or 98640 55558 for any career related queries.)