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At 50, LIC becomes image-conscious

Mumbai, Feb. 19: The big daddy of insurance wants to shake off its fuddy-duddy image.

Life Insurance Corporation ' the 50-year-old state-owned insurer ' is going in for an image makeover.

The switchover from a fusty dowager to a more feisty filly that is more in touch with the youth of today will begin with a logo revamp and a stab at rejuvenating its enervated workforce.

“We wish to move away from the image of an old insurance company, synonymous with grave responsibilities and requirements. We want to appeal to the younger and the vibrant generation which is the purpose behind the decision to go in for a complete revamp,” said LIC managing director T. S. Vijayan.

“We have already put in place a team that is examining a variety of options,” he added.

The rebranding will begin with a redesigned logo.

The insurer intends to continue with the present logo that depicts a pair of hands shielding the flame of life, says Vijayan.

However, the company plans to move away from the black and white images and use rich and vibrant colours.

“We are considering using a shortened version of the company’s name in the logo and use attractive fonts,” he added.

Vijayan admits that it isn’t going to be easy.

“To depict a young organisation, it has to be actually young. We have to move away from being a sedate government institution to a pulsating organisation with fresh blood and fresher ideas. The demographics of the organisation will have to be changed in a phased manner,” he added.

LIC has an employee strength of over 1 lakh with an average of over 40 years. It plans to launch a recruitment drive with about 3000 development officers to be appointed next year.

The corporation plans to add a little glitz to its image by sponsoring a movie awards nite ' a conscious effort to connect with the hip-hop brigade. It will be sponsoring the Zee Cine Awards 2006.

“We were the co-sponsors for the event last year, but we didn’t get much exposure. So, we decided to be the principal sponsor this year. We also sponsored Kaun Banega Crorepati-II,” said Vijayan.

“We have appointed a panel of advertising agencies, which includes JWT, Mudra, FCB Ulka and Everest to consult on the various ways to enhance our brand image and impact,” added Vijayan.

“The panel will also help us assess the impact of such associations, based on which we will decide on sponsoring other such events,” he added.

LIC has been steadily losing market share over the past two years even though it is still the 1000-pound gorrilla in the insurance jungle.

In the nine months ended December 2005, its market share was 72.7 per cent in terms of first premium income.

That is a slide from 78.4 per cent in the December 2004 and 88.2 per cent in December 2003.

If the makeover plan works, the corporation can hope to get things into shape and snuff out competition from the private insurers who have just started yapping at its heels.

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