Irda, insurers launch awareness drive
21 Apr, 2014 01:01 PM
Insurance companies on Saturday launched awareness initiatives on the occasion of Insurance Awareness Day. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) had declared April 19 as the Insurance Awareness Day to deepen insurance penetration in the country.

Irda had earmarked April 19 as Insurance Day, since it is the day of formation of the sector regulator. They have had meetings with companies and intermediaries in Hyderabad to use all channels to propagate the message of insurance.

Irda officials said the agency would partner with organisations through its Bima Bemisaal campaign to drive home the importance of insurance among the masses.

'Bima Bemisaal' is the brand name for Irda's insurance awareness campaign. It is a consumer education initiative and has the tagline "Promoting Insurance. Protecting Insured"

Irda came into existence on 19th April, 2000 with the mission to protect the interests of holders of the insurance policies, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance industry.

“Lack of insurance awareness has proved to be one of the hurdles in penetration of insurance across the country. Therefore, in an attempt to enhance insurance awareness across the nation, Irda is celebrating its formation day as Insurance Awareness Day on April 19 involving all stakeholders of the insurance sector,” said an Irda statement.

One of the initiatives planned as a part of these celebrations is organising Pan India Insurance Quiz for Intermediaries. Apart from this, the regulator’s consumer education website also spreads the message about the need to have insurance through comic strips and other consumer-related information.

Apart from efforts from the regulatory side, individual companies have also been asked to make additional initiatives to increase awareness about the insurance industry and the products. Throughout this fiscal, these companies are required to have campaigns, the plans for which are to be sent and approved by Irda.

For instance, Max Life Insurance is sending awareness e-mailers to all customers. Further, they have also put up standees in all offices and also arranged for customer camps. A Max Life spokesperson said that the company has also used social media like Facebook and Twitter to drive the message of insurance effectively to the public.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has launched a month-long insurance awareness campaign titled ‘Demystify Insurance’. Bajaj Allianz will kick-start the campaign on April 19th and has planned various activities over the next one month.

The month-long campaign will include running insurance literacy drives at various schools and colleges in cities like Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Kolkata. Bajaj Allianz employees will give a brief interactive presentation to students educating them on the importance of insurance.

The company will educate and interact with fans and followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with activities planned around the theme. Through this campaign, Bajaj Allianz aims at educating students within the age group of 15 to 21 years.

Tapan Singhel, MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, said, “Low insurance penetration remains a challenge for all the companies in the industry. Insurance is still largely perceived as a tax saving instrument whereas the benefits go much beyond. We realized that there is a visible need for insurance education in the country and launched this campaign which will be aimed at fostering insurance literacy in India.”

India is a country with the second largest population in the world, but abysmally low penetration of insurance. The total insurance penetration in India is at 4% (life and non-life), less than the world average of 6.5%.

Companies are also using technology enabled services to deepen awareness. Bajaj Allianz General will host a Google+ Hangout on ‘Health Insurance’ on April as a part of this awareness campaign.

Not just campaigns and road-shows, industry players are also firming up plans to serve customers, especially in smaller areas. The chief executive of a large private life insurance firm explained that they and few other players are also mulling initiatives where product awareness and incentives to low-income customers could be provided.

As part of the awareness day, ICICI Lombard General Insurance conducted a social media survey on understanding the ‘Risk’ people would associate during their lifetime.

Here the respondents were asked to rank risk on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being on Low Risk whereas 5 being high risk. This showed that ‘Risk of Death of a family member’ ranked number 1 on risk parameter, with respondents giving a rating of over 70%. But risk of ‘Medical emergency’, ‘Accidental disability’, ‘Critical illness’ ranked 2, 3 and 4 respectively with a rating over 60%.

Amit Bhandari, Vice President-Health Underwriting and Claims, ICICI Lombard said that it is interesting to note that despite the economic slowdown resulting in increasing concern on job security, people still believe that health concerns supersedes financial and material issues, which would not have been a case about a decade ago.

“This clearly shows that there is a need for health and other non-life insurance products which can protect one against financial liabilities arising out of medical treatments and other exigencies,” he said.

Insurance penetration in India has fallen for the second time after the sector was opened for private players. Irda Annual Report said that insurance penetration stood at 3.96%, while insurance density stood at $53.2 for 2012.

The measure of insurance penetration and density reflects the level of development of the sector. While insurance penetration is measured as the percentage of insurance premium (in $) to GDP (in $), insurance density is calculated as the ratio of premium (in $) to total population.

Insurance penetration in India has fallen for the second time after the sector was opened for private players. Irda Annual Report said insurance penetration stood at 3.96 per cent, while insurance density stood at $53.2 for 2012.
Source : Business Standard

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