In an interview with Pooja Chopra Goel of Myiris.com, Amish Tripathi, National Head - Marketing & Product Management, IDBI Federal Life Insurance says, ``We lead our communication through products, which makes it imperative to create products that are different and add value as compared to competition.``
Could you throw light on the products of IDBI Federal Life Insurance? What benefits they offer?
We started our operations in March 2008 leading with our flagship product `Wealthsurance`. Today we have 13 innovative products in our basket and each one of them is crafted considering the needs of people. `Wealthsurance Milestone Plan` our flagship product is a unique combination that aims to help people reach their important goals in life with full confidence. It offers a wide range of investment options, insurance options and unmatched flexibility that allows customers to customize a plan suited to their needs. Customers can plan for their milestones like completion of school education by a child, a marriage, acquisition of a new house and so on. This plan comes with a wide range of 13 investment options and 7 insurance benefits - all packaged with a low charge structure and unmatched flexibility. We have recently added `Bondsurance Advantage Insurance Plan` &`Termsurance Group Life Plan` in the stable of our innovative products.
Is your marketing strategy based on sectors or demographics?
Our products are based on catering needs of consumer at different life stages, thus psychographics. We intend to plug all the relevant need states that emerge with different life stages and demographics. From the communication perspective, we are now in a fairly crowded market with 22 players. While most players work on establishing categories like pensions, child plans, etc., our aim is to differentiate our products and communication once the audiences have warmed up to categories. Thus we lead our communication through products, which makes it imperative to create products that are different and add value as compared to competition.
Keeping in view the new emerging, educated and service oriented youth market segment, what are the future strategies of IDBI Federal Life Insurance to tap that segment?
As we have all read and heard about India being a young country with over 50% being the youth, it definitely is a large segment. Life insurance is an important form of long term contractual saving that helps people save for the long term for the unexpected occurrences they may not foresee today. This not only benefits them in the long run, but also the economy as a whole as it funds the long term projects like infrastructure, that is the need of the hour for India.
A key component of building wealth is time. And the earlier one starts to build wealth the more it compounds. We encourage and cultivate this habit with products like `Wealthsurance Milestone Plan` that offer investments into 13 different kind of fund options. From pure insurance perspective, starting a term plan early is cheaper and thus makes logical sense to opt for. But the biggest draw for insurance today comes from the tax benefits. Taxes eat into your income the most when you start working while you are young.
In communication, we have looked at the online medium very differently and have successful initiatives like viral films, games, calculators to content that makes life insurance and financial planning easier to comprehend and act upon. Do visit some of our initiatives like www.bosskaboss.com, www.quantumofshoelace.com, www.bulletproofboss.com, www.happylucky.in to name a few. Our new TV commercial for our product `Incomesurance`, which will go on air during the ODIs between India and South Africa, show the challenges for the youth today to be geared up and planned for the future. Hence the importance of guaranteed return products that can help secure the future goals of today`s youth in a world of rising cost of living.
What is your take on the importance of brand equity in the foundation of a company with respect to IDBI Federal Life Insurance?
Brand equity plays a vital role for companies especially in life insurance as the products are of mass appeal. It is very important to create strong brands and sustain them in the minds of the masses. When we look at the financial category, the brand brings with it trust and reliability that helps get a long term commitment from customers. Since these are large investments into a company`s products spread over years, the customer needs to feel comfortable of the company and its background.
We at IDBI Federal, have the benefit of being a part of giants in the financial and banking space with parent companies like IDBI Bank and Federal Bank. Both these names bring with it huge brand equity. All our efforts therefore are to focus on creating strong product brands. In January 2009, we were the title sponsor for India vs. Sri Lanka cricket series hosted in Sri Lanka which gave excellent visibility for `Wealthsurance` as a brand, both on-ground and on air in the first full year of our operations.
In Q1 2010, we did extensive outdoor and print media campaign pan-India with `Save Tax` message for our product `Wealthsurance`, `Retiresurance` and `Incomesurance` which added to visibility in tier-1, tier-2 and tier-3 cities. This year, Q42010 and Q12011, we are releasing 3 brand new clutter-breaking television commercials which are also releasing in various regional languages. We have also signed up for associate sponsors for India v/s South Africa and Pak v/s NZ cricket series. All these campaigns lead with our product messages.
Broadly, what would be the reasons for this relatively low penetration of life insurance in India? How do you intend to address each of these reasons?
I wouldn`t say that life insurance penetration in India is very low. The share of life insurance in the in the total financial savings of Indian households has gone up from about 17% in 2006-07 to 19.5 % in 2008-09. Going by RBI data, life insurance is the second most popular financial avenue for an average Indian to invest in after bank FDs. Having said that, considering the rapid growth that our country is experiencing, and we are sure will continue to experience in the foreseeable future, India is one of the most exciting markets in the world to be present in for an insurance company. The Indian life insurance sector has huge growth potential.