Mid-level officials to brush up their skills at premier institute
The country’s largest life insurer,Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC),is going for capacity building and retooling its employees’ skill sets. The move has come in view of the intense competition brought in by private players and the shrinking market share of public insurers.
The insurance giant is training around 50 mid-level managers with the Indian Institute of Management,Ahmedabad (IIM-A) for an MBA programme.
RR Rai,the zonal head of the western region was not available for comments. Mukesh Gupta,the chief marketing officer (India) also chose not to speak on the issue. However,a regional officer told Newsline on condition of anonymity that competition was indeed one of the reasons for LIC to get their mid-level managers trained at IIM-A. Apart from that,competency building is another important area where the LIC is focusing,he added.
Recently,the UPA government opened the insurance sector to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The government has increased the FDI limit from 49 to 76 per cent. This has led to a situation where a lot of foreign companies are now eyeing the Indian market. The LIC has also appointed a consultant to conduct competency mapping of its managers.
LIC is known for sending its officials for short-term training programmes ranging from two to 10 days; but this is for the first time that the insurer has sent so many officers for a yearlong residential programme.
The MBA course is divided into four terms. In the first three months,the officials will learn the basics of management with focus on their sector. This will be followed by a series of electives in areas of finance,human resource management and marketing.
“For the first time this year,so many officers have come to us for a one-year course,which is equivalent to MBA. The course promises to increase the productivity of the employees and teach them principles of management. The idea is to expose them to the functional and operational areas. It’s a retooling of the skills in the wake of competition from private players, said Prof Samir Barua,Director,IIM-A. The name of the course is post-graduate executive programme (PGEP) for LIC officers and it has been designed by the Management Development Centre in Mumbai.
IIM-A selected the students based on a written test and interview from various locations across the country. Selections were based on the potential to go through the programme,and variety of experience and academic background, said Sailesh Gandhi,IIM-A professor and head of the PGEP. It is learnt that Steel Authority of India Limited has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IIM-A for running a short duration training programme for its officers.
Life insurers business grew by 23.3 percent to 930 billion rupees in the 2007-08 fiscal,while general insurers posted growth of about 14 per cent in premium income to 298 billion rupees,according to Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) data. It is expected to grow further.
Several other international players are in the process of coming to India. At present,the country has 21 life and 20 general insurers. With the coming of new players the competition will also intensify in the sector. Some joint ventures in the sector include Tata AIG,Bajaj Allianz,ICICI Prudential,SBI Life,and HDFC Standard Life,among others.