As it celebrates 10 years of operations in the Indian life insurance space, it could not be a better time for MetLife India to have achieved profitability. The time is right for the organisation to think of how it intends to write the second chapter in its Indian story and achieve its goal of becoming a top tier life insurance player. While the market shows plenty growth potential and the industry still believes in the adage of insurance being sold and not bought, the focus continues to remain on products, distribution efficiency and cost optimisation. However, the real strategy towards growth lies in taking steps towards creating a better two way interaction designed to meet the consumer and provider needs. Adopting this view could differentiate MetLife from the rest of the pack. The road ahead lies in establishing an environment which encourages innovative thinking and research both internally and externally, leveraging the power of social networking and computing, fostering collaboration amongst partners and competitors to learn and work alongside, viewing opportunities with a wide perspective and developing appropriate solutions. The need of the hour is to switch from product to customer centricity – to look beyond products and to segment customers by analysing psychographic instead of demographic information. It will require MetLife India to change its thinking, measure the customer value it provides and the return therefrom, use social media to interact and co-innovate with customers, listen to their needs and create a trusted and transparent relationship. Data so collected and harnessed will allow MetLife to translate it into insight and profit from it.
MetLife India Insurance is one of the fastest growing life insurance companies in India. An affiliate of US based MetLife Inc., it commenced operations in Indian in 2001 and serves both individual and group (commercial) customers via multiple channels – a strong network of 29 bank partners in addition to a 30,000 strong individual tied financial advisors and a strong broker network (MetLife, 2012). In a market where an average life insurance company takes nearly ten years to attain profitability (Swiss Re, 2011a), MetLife India declared profits in 2011 making it one of the few profitable and growing life insurers in India. The parent company, MetLife Inc., is over a 150 years old and offers services to nearly 90 million customers across 50 countries in the areas of life insurance, automobile and home insurance, annuities, retail banking and financial services to both individual and corporations (MetLife, 2012).
The company has come a long way to establishing a significant presence in the Indian life insurance market. As the company embarks on a new route having achieved profitability, it has identified the following drivers for the coming year – growth and protection of existing bank partners as well as acquisition of new distribution channels, growing employee benefits business, manage expense ratios to maintain profitability and maintain persistency to build long term value for the organisation and aspires to be one of the top tier companies in its segment (MetLife, 2012). Yet, despite its long journey, MetLife India has only been able to garner 1.65 percent market share amongst the 24 players in the market with some later entrants having grabbed a larger share (Business Today, 2011b). As it moves towards the future, MetLife would need to think of focus areas in order to uniquely position itself and gain competitive advantage. This report focuses on the growth areas for MetLife India in the area of individual life insurance, provides an insight into the customer priorities of the future and identifies areas for innovative growth to gain leadership and establish itself as a strong brand and a force to reckon with.
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The Indian life insurance industry has been associated with a significant role...