A Deep Dive Into Insurance – Rajendra Ghag, HDFC Standard Life @ MYRA

“Facing rejections always helps in polishing and improving ourselves. So, never fear the interview rejections” as rightly said by one of the powerful personalities in the Insurance sector, Mr. Rajendra Ghag who is Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resource Officer at HDFC Standard life during his visit to MYRA on 11th September 2015.

Mr.Ghag is also the Head of Excellence department at HDFC Life. This department looks after the welfare of the employees, their physical and mental well-being, their mentoring and other human resource development activities. The excellence team also hosts a Jigyasa HDFC life management trainee program though which the administrative sector teams are hired.

HDFC Life was established in 2001 with an aim to become the most established player in the Insurance segment. HDFC life is a merger between standard life and HDFC both dealing with pension plan, insurance plan and Unit link plan(ULIP). In the current market scenario, when insurance companies take such a long time to get to break-even point, HDFC Life zoomed to 8th position by 2008-09 and secured 2nd position by 2011.

Mr. Ghag shared a brief history and insight of the insurance domain. During 2007, when the stock market points were around 21,000, it was projected that stocks would rise to about 40,000 by the year 2008. This drove all stock investors to make over investments. During this period, all the insurance companies sold ULIP like hot cakes. Many insurance companies had 85% of its share in Unit link and 15% in insurance, but HDFC life was a bit skeptical of this projection and made an even bet of 50% in ULIP and the other half in insurance. Eventually there was a crash in the stocks leading to the recession period, due to which many insurance companies are still yet to reequip from the dip. Since then, insurance firms take long periods to come to break-even point. HDFC life was the super brand for the year 2011/2012. HDFC life would soon be the first life insurance company in the world to make it into stock listing.

The market potential is untapped because there are a lot of target customers. Any individual above the age of 18 and earning annually are eligible customers for availing life insurance. Currently only 13% of the customers are enrolled, so approximately 80% of potential customers could be targeted.

The excellence team at HDFC life always engages employees to create a fine balance of professional life and personal life by having Employee engagement clubs. Such clubs aim to promote internal talent, continuous learning, to inspire leadership, and develop leaders.

Apart from the insights of Human resource development, we did get to know how HDFC life works on maintaining reputation ratio, which depends on time taken to clear the claim i.e. from the claiming to approval. This process has a high margin of spurious claims which are dealt by a special wing who specifically deal with the early claims.

The session as a whole was more of a deep dive into the insurance domain than merely being a normal lecture. After walking out of the Athena auditorium at MYRA, we had a new perspective about the insurance domain and we are now aspirational about the abundant opportunities in this field. We truly are thankful to Mr. Rajendra Ghag for enlightening us with his invaluable industry experience in the insurance sector. This talk has certainly made us eliminate all the norms we had about the insurance industry, considering the numerous opportunities available to learn and grow in this field.

Varun S – Pgdm1
The MYRA school of business.