Prioritise your customers, not profit

Jan 29, 2018-

Abhijit Ghosh Dastidar started his career at Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) limited 26 years ago as an office assistant in India. LIC, which is an Indian, state-owned insurance group and investment company, was founded in 1956. Since its establishment, LIC has branched out to Australia, Bahrain, Mauritius, Oman and 22 other countries. Dastidar, who has worked in different departments within LIC, including HR, finance and marketing, has been serving as the managing director and CEO of LIC’s Nepal office for the past two years. Since its entry to the Nepali market, LIC has opened over 44 branches in Nepal  and has catered to many local and multi-national companies here. In this interview with The Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Dastidar talks about maintaining a global brand image and the evolution of the insurance sector in Nepal. Excerpts:

LIC is a prominent insurance company not just in Nepal but in more than 22 countries around the world. As a managing director and CEO of the Nepal office, how do you  maintain LIC’s global  brand image and how are your employees trained accordingly?

At LIC, we have a robust training regime. We regularly have internal management trainings and even send our employees abroad for other management related programmes. Generally, at a service-based organisation like ours, the marketing teams are the only ones who are given the maximum amount of trainings, but at LIC, we provide skill-based trainings to all our employees from every department. We believe that every employee should be well trained. If only one department is competent and the rest are in serious need of development, the organisation will not prosper. If the employees are competent, the organisation as a whole becomes competent as well. We work towards creating win-win situations. It is because of our competent employees that we have 330 million clients around the world. I strongly believe that the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is its pack. 

In Nepal there are many fresh graduates who want to join insurance companies and as LIC is already a global brand, there must be numerous candidates enquiring after jobs at your organisation. When there are vacancies that need to be filled, what are the foremost qualities you look for in a candidate?

Recently, we had a vacancy announcement for seven office assistants and to our surprise, we received CVs and enquiries from over 300 applicants. So, to choose the best candidates was challenging.

Since, 2001, we have seen many insurance companies growing along with us in the local market. However, the biggest challenges we face as an industry is the dearth of proficient candidates. We live in a funny cycle—where young candidates are deprived of good jobs and organisations are deprived of talented employees. Fortunately, the Insurance Board has planned courses for interested candidates, who will have the opportunity to get their targeted jobs in the future. There are lots of unemployed youth and we want to employ them. Also, people have this misconception that to join any management sector, you need to have an MBA degree. To some extent it is required but we understand that not all MBA graduates are professionals. In Nepal, the MBA students are well-trained for jobs in the banking sector or the finance domain but they lack knowledge in other management sectors, particularly in insurance. 

Since LIC’s foray into the Nepali market, there have been other companies vying for the same customer base. How challenging and competitive is it for LIC to stand out in the market?

Since its establishment, our company has had the goal to not focus just on profit but to prioritise customers and provide them with the best services whole heartedly. Overall, our company has always favoured clients in a claim settlement. We have covered claims of at least 99.7 percent of all claims made by clients. Our insurance company is the highest bonus giver as well. When customers buy insurance policies, they look out for return and possibly future coverage. Our company’s main objective is to provide fast settlement in the most hassle-free way possible. So far, there has not been much to complain about. 

What advice do you have for the fresh graduates who aspire to join the insurance sector?

In Nepal, we still don’t have any actuaries—a business professional who deals with the measurement and management of risk and uncertainty. People from these professions are the most sought after people in insurance and unfortunately, we have none. Our insurance companies have to hire an international actuary to fill the void. If today’s youth are taught such courses, they would find many employment opportunities in the sector. There is a huge potential for those who aspire to join the insurance sector. They just need to be smart about their choices.

Published: 29-01-2018 09:22

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