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Hunt for agents takes LIC to soldiers

Mumbai, Sept. 2: The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is looking at financial market intermediaries, retired bankers and out-of-service military men as potential agents it could enlist to retain its dominance in business.

More than a lakh agents will be mobilised in the months ahead, and the hunt is on to tap talent from diverse areas. A growing number of bankers who opted for voluntary retirement schemes recently and ex-military personnel are being wooed as part of the drive. Intermediaries in the financial markets are also sought after. These are people who are finding the going tough because of poor conditions in the market, and could be more than willing to sell insurance schemes.

LIC, which also hopes to get real estate brokers on board, has 7.97 lakh agents. It plans to hire another one lakh, taking the number to a million by March 2003.

“We are focussing on enlisting agents from the four categories as they are productive right from the word go, and their gestation period is low. Sub-brokers and real estate agents have their own clientele. They have good knowledge of financial markets and they know the right people,” LIC chairman S. B. Mathur told The Telegraph.

Mathur believes these professionals can leverage their relationship with clients to sell insurance since it gives them a source of supplementary income at a time when their primary vocation is in the throes of a slump.

The agents recruited from these areas, he said, have outperformed expectations. He pointed to the case of an agent from the western region who worked as an intermediary for a leasing firm, but sold the highest number of life insurance policies in his area. “The agent has sold policies worth Rs 100 crore in just three months of being enlisted by LIC,” Mathur revealed.

Most of these agents find the recognition they earn as an LIC representative as one of the reasons to sign up. Those who out-perform their peers are ushered into what the insurance major calls a “select band” — a badge of privilege. “Some are even stock brokers,” Mathur said.

Even private insurers, says Mathur, are looking at these professionals, and LIC has to compete with them not only to sell policies but to rope in good agents as well.

Recently, Ritu Nanda was enlisted to endorse LIC’s campaign for agency promotion and to convince people that being an agent for the corporation is a lucrative career option.

LIC hopes to shake off the stereotype of a typical agent and go in for an image makeover. Nanda, the daughter of Raj Kapoor and wife of Escorts chief Rajan Nanda, is one of LIC’s leading agents.

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