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L.I.C’s Vision 2020 – ‘A Policy in Every Pocket’  By K.B.Saha, Executive Director (HRD:OD/CP)


Synonymous with Insurance in India

The Market Leader and the Sterling Public Sector Institution

A strong Global Brand that enjoys the Trust of every Indian

It is an amazing experience to wake up everyday to the fact that more than 250 million (…and ever growing) human lives are part of the extended family of Life Insurance Corporation of India. Our journey started over five decades ago and today covers the entire social, economic and geographical fabric of India. For us, insurance is not just a business; it is providing financial security and trust to millions of lives every day. 

Has the journey been easy? NO. From the days of nationalization of insurance in 1956 to the present liberalized era, the treaded path has been filled with multitudes of experiences- filled with agony and ecstasy, sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure, despair and success- and much more.  After over four decades of being a monopolistic institution in the life insurance sector, LIC entered into an era of competition since 2000.  Global insurance giants and leading international financial institutions partnered with commercial Indian Banks and large private sector companies to foray into the life insurance market with an eye on capturing their share of the “emerging India”. . The rules of the game started changing. New market forces emerged and the field was now wide open for new companies to set foot, grow and expand. The war for a share of the mind and the wallet space of Indians ensued. 

Although LIC remained the market leader, its market share slid and dipped to a low of 61.12 % in new business premium income and 70.52 % in new insurance policies sold during financial year 2008-09. The doomsday pundits had a field day in giving their opinion and predicting the fall of the “elephant”. But LIC has since bounced back to recapture the market and is now riding on a high with a market share of 72.30% in new business premium income and  82.38 % in new insurance polices sold at the end of January 2013. This turnaround in less than three years resulted in a trail of disaster for the competitors with some of their foreign partners preferring to exit the Indian market while others choosing to down size their operations.

It is said that behind every success there is a saga. The story of LIC’s success is not only embellished with its marketing and customer service innovations, it is also fortified with its unassuming and subtle HR interventions which have been the driving spirit behind the success. Every HR initiative in LIC is a step towards making it a beacon of excellence in the industry and adding value to all its stakeholders.

To understand the story behind the success of LIC, it is important to understand the HR philosophy and the framework it is built upon:

The foundation of LIC’s human resources philosophy is based on the concept – ‘Roots to Fruits’. The Brand LIC respects its people and recognizes their contribution as the key to accomplishment of the organizational objectives. Therefore, the human resource development initiatives in LIC are focused on utilizing the best services of LICians, developing their skills, motivating them to enhance their levels of performance and ensuring that they remain totally engaged and committed to the organization.

Learning and Development is a key organizational intervention used as part of the HR framework. The training infrastructure of LIC is perhaps the largest for any organization in the country.

Training Infrastructure:

LIC: Training Infrastructure

Management Development Centre (MDC):
Management Development Centre, the apex training centre of LIC, plays a significant role in enhancing the professional edge of middle and senior level managers by providing learning opportunities in functional, managerial and behavioral areas.

Zonal Training Centre (ZTC):

There is one Zonal Training Centre in each of LIC’s eight Zones. These centers impart the following training:

Courses on general management

Functional Training for the employees and front line managers.

Sales Training for the marketing and sales staff.

Seminars on special subjects

Sales Training Centre (STC):
The marketing of life insurance products is done by agents. These agents are managed by Development Officers in the LIC. Sales Training Centres cater to the training needs of Development Officers and agents and are presently located at 33 different cities/towns across India.

Divisional Training Centre (DTC):
Each of LIC’s 110 divisions has a Divisional Training Centre (DTC) to impart the training to employees on administrative and IT related matters to hone their functional skills and enhance productivity at the operational units. The DTC also function as centers for pre-recruitment training for new agents.

Agents’ Training Centres (ATC):
Agents’ Training Centres (ATC) provides pre-recruitment training to agency candidates and help LIC bring in fresh blood in the form of new agents. 

Computer Training Centre (CTC):
The need for training in Information Technology has increased by leaps and bounds in our organization. Computer Training Centers satisfy training needs of Branch/Divisional offices and keep our employees update with the latest in enterprise software and applications

There are about 2000 Internal Trainers who impart training at the above training centers. While most of the functional and behavioral training is conducted in-house, the LIC also custom-designs programs to suit specific target groups through external training service providers. These custom designed programs are conducted at our in-house training centers or other suitable locations.  In addition, the LIC also nominates its employees for various trainings / seminars / workshops to leading institutes within India and abroad.

A path breaking initiative to develop and nurture the best talent within the organization was conceptualized by the Corporate HR department that eventually crystallized in the rolling out of the Post Graduate Executive Program (PGEP) during 2008-09.

Post Graduate Executive Program (PGEP):    This perhaps is globally the first of its kind training initiative, futuristic in approach and totally indigenously designed. Aimed at enhancing the managerial competence of LIC-ians so that they provide cutting edge support to strategic departments and corporate initiatives, the PGEP is a flagship program of the LIC that brought about a strategic partnership with India’s premier management institute, IIM (Ahmedabad).  With the private players entering the life insurance industry and getting top management graduates into their organizations, any other public sector organization would have conceded their inability to attract management graduates from top B- Schools in India within their midst. But LIC was unfazed and decided to get chart its own course in providing high quality management education through IIM (Ahmedabad) and expose a select group of its officers through a one year fully residential Post Graduate Executive Program. Since its commencement in 2008-09, 197 officers of LIC have been exposed while another 50 are presently in the last phase of their program.

Few other strategic initiatives are:

Customized Program: LIC also has another strategic tie-up with the Hyderabad based Indian School of Business. Annually LIC sends 50 select senior officers to ISB, Hyderabad for a customized six-day Business Leadership program covering leadership, marketing and strategy execution. The program is facilitated by internationally reputed faculty drawn from some of the best B-schools in the world

Besides ISB, LIC also sends it officers to other leading institutions like IIM, XLRI, MDI, ASCI etc.

In consultation with other training service providers, HRD department has designed and developed several other Management development programs for specific target groups like functional managers, Branch Managers, Assistant Branch Managers and field personnel including Development officers and agents

Vikas Path: A unique organizational development program that aims to establish a country wide connect with employees in an annual exercise is the “Vikas Path”. This initiative started in 2006-07 is a platform through which the organization reaches out to nearly 100,000 people and is pivotal in binding them into a cohesive force.  A one day session is conducted across the country covering employees in all cadres and drawn from all offices of the Corporation. 

Vision 2020: Leaders make things happen……True to this adage, LIC has now set for itself a BIG, HAIRY AND AUDACIOUS GOAL of putting a policy in every Indian’s pocket by the year 2020. As India’s leading public sector institution and with a core objective of spreading insurance widely to all corners of the country and providing economic benefits to society at large, LIC had its task cut out when faced with a market challenge. With the industry witnessing a downturn and the economy slowing down on account of global factors, it was time to look within and reinvent ourselves. This required bold thinking, broad visioning and setting ourselves targets that will require the concerted efforts of every LICian.

Teams of top management officials supported by middle level executives have been formed to conceptualize the strategic framework for developing the Vision and preparing roadmaps for implementation of strategies and sub-strategies. While it is still work in progress, some of the operational dimensions and process re-engineering initiatives being worked upon will have far reaching impact on the way insurance business is transacted in the country. Alignment and engagement of people being the key ingredient to the success of this Vision, LIC has started looking at this dimension with microscopic precision. Besides aspects of hygiene, other people-related issues like skills gap analysis, specialization, training enhancement, incorporating global best practices are being looked into with a view to incorporating them within the broad policy framework.

We understand that the path to achieving Vision 2020 will be fraught with hurdles and by no means, it will be easy. Having seen undulations in the past and learnt from the years of experience, we are that much wiser and always willing to learn from the environment. Achieving the Vision 2020 of putting a LIC policy in every Indian’s pocket is a journey that every LICian will undertake with pride. For this will perhaps a life-time opportunity for leaving behind indelible imprints in the sands of time…

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