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Corporate National Insurance » Inclusion / Apr-June 2014  


National Insurance Company (NIC) has been the most preferred choice for motor insurance since 1906. Over the years, NIC has retained this leadership in insurance market with a consistent share ranging from 15 per cent to 17 per cent of the industry’s motor insurance portfolio. Today, 48 per cent of the company’s gross revenue comes only from this segment

Maximising growth with profitability by focusing on Corporate Automobile Tie-ups, promoting sale of policies through online portal of the company, rational pricing of our motor products based on analysis, product development, product diversification and fine tuning of existing products are but few factors that have contributed to the motor insurance portfolio of NIC.

It has increased its outreach in semi-urban and rural areas by opening new business centers across the country. Insurance-on-Wheels (IOW) and online portal have recorded immense success as these offer special incentives to its customers. This is complimented by formation of countrywide Centralised Motor Claims verticals. It has made extra efforts to minimise grievances by maintaining turnaround time (TAT) for settlement of claims and providing alternate online support to customers through Web Portal and toll-free call centers. In addition to the above, the company has recruited specialists – automobile engineers and investigators – for handling specific requirements of the motor portfolio.

Starting in 2002-03, with ₹1.3 billion premium, NIC’s share of business from strategic alliances has grown to whopping ₹21 billion. Following factors have contributed to the achievement of this segmental growth and continuation of the same for such a long period:

Efficient claims handling
With an aim to provide enhanced customer service, NIC has tied-up with 3,500 garages that provide cashless facility. Complimentary emergency road assistance services in case of breakdown of vehicles, specialised tie-ups with service providers for repair of damages to or replacement of windshields of all types of vehicles and for multi-brand repairing of all ‘private car’

Key learnings
Increased interaction with the consumers, intermediaries, regulators and internal customers have enabled NIC to understand and develop a strategy for business growth, development of better priced models, improvement and motivation of its internal customers leading thereby to better customer service.

Increasing Awareness amongst customers: There is a need for a well-defined strategy for customer education regarding various aspects of insurance to enable them take informed decisions about various policies. This will not only help society at large but will also generate business from the untapped markets.

Providing more options for coverage, based on the needs of the customer (external customers): With increasing levels of awareness amongst the customers, there is growing demand for more innovative products and options in the market. This has been one of the key learnings for NIC and it intends to develop better options for the customers on a priority basis.

Increasing the number of training programmes and interactive sessions (Intermediaries – agents, surveyors, investigators and internal customers): Training programmes and interactive sessions have helped in improving performance levels of the intermediaries as well as NIC’s internal customers to a great extent. NIC aims to increase these interactions and to make them more meaningful and informative for its customers.

NIC’s partners and their representatives prefer to place maximum business with it because of strong relationship and trust built over a period of time. This has contributed to healthy growth of this segment despite facing stiff competition in the market

— A V Girjakumar, CMD, NIC

The thrust of all NIC’s activities has resulted in development of excellent relationships with its customers, tie-­up partners and intermediaries. A strong sense of loyalty from the customer has been the highlight of this success and special focus on customer relations is the most distinctive feature of the company’s transactions and dealings. Some of its initiatives are distinct in the way they have been implemented with a goal to provide a better experience of insurance, which makes these initiatives more deserving than all other initiatives.

The way of implementation of the concept of claims verticals is distinctive. Unlike NIC’s competitors, it has claims verticals not only at the Head Office but also at Regional Offices enabling it to provide improved claims settlement facilities at the doorstep of the customer. It keeps improving the working of its existing claims verticals while increasing the number of these verticals with appropriate professional staff to achieve better claims management and to minimise the TAT for claims settlements further. NIC is moving forward to make insurance products even more inclusive. type of vehicles, insured by NIC, are some of the other facilities extended to all customers of NIC.

Easy car insurance
Through its bank tie-ups, it extends cover to vehicles that have been financed by these financial institutions. A similar cover is also extended to customers of specialised motor financing institutions, with whom NIC has tie-ups, such as ‘Magma Finance’, ‘SREI Finance’, and, ‘Tata Motor Finance’.

Doorstep service
The lOWs are mobile vans, which move around the city on designated routes, thereby providing an easy way for insureds to buy / renew their insurance policies.

Focusing on key business sources, based on data analysis, attractive pricing options were made available to the profitable classes of vehicles and special focus was given on business generated through strategic alliances and bancassurance. In addition, specific emphasis have been laid to improve the online service thereby expanding reach and reducing administrative costs. A specialised technical team is helping the company to secure a robust top-line through high level of customer satisfaction as well as maintenance of a healthy bottom-line through better claims management. Dependence on external expertise has reduced by recruiting specialised work force, which has helped in curtailment of time taken in processes as well as diminishing financial outgo, better claims control, faster settlements and reduction of claim ratios.

The net effect of all these measures has been that the NIC has registered a steady growth in premium despite the slowdown in the automobile industry in India in the past two years.

NIC tie-ups
Some of the major tie-ups of NIC include: M
I. NIC’s market Share in ‘Maruti’ is highest among the six insurance partners.M
II. The concept of dedicated tie-up offices (hubs) is unique with NIC, which provides an edge over other insurers in terms of business focus and service parameters.
III. Utilisation of services from specialised vendors such as Department of Posts, for renewal reminders, mobile application for policy renewals etc. has helped to increase the penetration.
IV. NIC has also become the first industry in setting up a tie-up with a leading automobile finance company – Tata Motors Finance Ltd.
V. In order to consolidate pan-India auto tie-up businesses at select centers, Strategic Alliance Auto Tie-up Hubs (SAATH) have started functioning at Kolkata, Lucknow and Jabalpur.

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Feedback - Inclusion:
Effective Leadership Is The Answer

The article by Mr Tarapore on the 'Financial problems of MSMEs' is an excellent piece, a well researched one.  RBI, SIDBI et al should look at the issues flagged by the author and see that the MSME sector gets better deal. As he has mentioned it is more a 'glamour' in lending to larger units than MSMEs. See the way every banker has walked in to lend to King Fisher Airlines which has left a huge NPA of over Rs.7000 crore with very little hope of recovering it from the owners. Recently, the newspaper report mentions that the CBI when approached the SBI, the consortium banker to provide certain information on KFA, the latter had refused to do so. The RBI has also not taken any forensic study to see if any complicity in financing such large units. It is sad its own representatives are on the Boards of these banks which have lent huge loans to KFA and others. It is sad to see that Mr Mallaya is happily watching the IPL matches cheer-leading his cricket team while 1000s of KFA employees are in the lurch without any pay for months on. Will RBI listen to the cries of common man? 
Dr S Santhanam PhD(Eco), CAIIB General Manager (Retd), NABARD & Consultant - Development Finance Pune

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Ideas for Growth, October-December 2013

I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister, Goa

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