The year 1956 witnessed a defining moment in the history of India's Social Engineering landscape. It marked the beginning of a new phase in the life insurance industry in India, which was, then, a heterogeneous group consisting of companies at varying stages of development, big and small, solvent and insolvent, efficient and inefficient.
Binding these groups into one was a challenging task, and perhaps, the biggest ever attempted in the history of global capitalist era. The merged entity was called 'Life Insurance Corporation of India', with two tiny hands protecting a lamp as its logo.
Who could have imagined that a tiny flame kindled on the September 1,1956 would stand for warmth of security and care for millions of Indians in course of time? The flame has really stood the test of time for over 53 years and is today an icon of trust and stability for over 25 Crores policyholders.
The year 1999 saw the opening up of the insurance sector. Today, there are 21 other players in the market. Still, LIC continues to be the front runner in the race, holding a dominant share in the Indian Life Insurance Industry.
Started with a Life Fund of Rs 380.61 cr, its corpus has grown to Rs 8,07,317 cr as on March 31st, 2009. At the end of December of 1957, the total new business underwritten by LIC was 7,94,585 policies and sum assured was Rs 281.90 cr. This has grown to 3.58 Crore Policies and sum assured of Rs 3,90,053 cr during the fiscal year of 2008-09. When the Corporation took over on the appointed day (September 1st 1956), it had assets under management amounting to Rs 348.68 cr, which have now risen to a stupendous figure of Rs 8,73,551.35 cr (figures as at 31/03/2009).
As on Oct 2009, LIC had 2,048 fully computerized Branch offices, 109 Divisional offices and 8 Zonal offices and 915 Satellite offices apart from its Corporate office in Mumbai. All the offices of the Corporation are fully computerized and networked. Further, to enhance customer convenience, there is a facility to pay premiums On-Line.
LIC is a key player in the life insurance segment providing its clients with a wide range of insurance products. It is one of the largest life insurers in the world in terms of the number of policies issued every year. Its claim settlement operations are among the best internationally. The Corporation has tie-ups with various banks and service providers to offer on-line premium collection facility in select cities. The Corporation has also set-up various NRI centres in order to cater to various needs and requirements of NRIs and people of Indian origin having foreign nationality and residing in foreign countries.
LIC has also launched satellite offices in order to provide easy access to its Policy holders. LIC also operates three international branch offices, one each in Mauritius, Fiji and the UK. The Corporation has extended its operations to the international arena through various JVs, subsidiaries, brokers, etc spread across as many as 14 countries. As on Mar 2009, the Corporation has issued over 25 crore policies and has a total life fund of Rs 8,07,317 crores.
LIC has in its basket more than 50 different plans catering to the differing needs of different segments of the society. LIC has a good mix of the conventional life insurance business and the unit linked insurance business. It has Unit-Linked Plans to serve the needs of those who would like to link their returns to the capital market. It also has various pension plans in its basket. Most of these plans come with options called term riders and critical illness riders to offer greater flexibility to the customers.
The double accident benefit, the disability benefit and the term rider are some of them. All life insurance plans come with substantial tax benefits, too. LIC offers a wide range of children plans which are specifically designed to take care of the future needs of children. The Corporation also offers special plans for handicapped dependants. It also offers group insurance, group pension, group gratuity and social
security schemes, which provide life insurance and other benefits at a much lower cost than traditional life
LIC also plays an important role in financial inclusion of the economically weaker sections of society by providing insurance to the poor at cheap and affordable premiums. Some of the plans are the micro insurance plans viz., Jeevan Madhur & Jeevan Mangal and social security schemes like Aam Admi Bima Yojana and Janashree Bima Yojana.
LIC has been the most trusted choice of the consumers. No wonder it has won a plethora of prestigious Awards such as CNBC Awaaz Consumer Award, 2009, Readers' Digest Trusted Brand Award, 2009 - in Platinum Category, Customer & Brand Loyalty Award, 2009, Business Superbrand India, 2009, Asia Brand Congress-Brand Leadership Award, 2008, NDTV Profit Business Leadership Award, 2009, Outlook Money NDTV Profit Business Leadership Award for the Best Life Insurer, 2009.
Brand Equity rated LIC was as the Most Trusted Service Brand for 5 years in a row. In 2009, LIC emerged as the Top Brand in the Insurance Category in the survey conducted by Brand Equity with AC Nielsen. Even in the field of technology, our innovations and practices have won us the most coveted award viz., NASSCOM Award - Best IT User, 2008.
'Jeevan Saral' and 'Health Plus' have won the Golden Peacock Award in the innovative product category. It has also won the World Brand Congress- Global Brand Leadership Award in the Banking and Financial Category as well as in the Over all Brand Leadership Category. LIC has won the Asia Pacific HRM Congress-Innovative HR practices Award 2009.
Courtesy : The Economic Times, 24 Dec 2009, 1532 hrs IST,