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We want to specialise sector-wise: Rakesh Jain

Reliance General Insurance is seeking to rebalance its portfolio, which is currently skewed in favour of motor insurance, to include more non-motor insurance business. Towards this end the company is planning new product launches in the weather insurance, health insurance products, health-care for employees of SMEs and sector-wise insurance plans, says the company's CEO Rakesh Jain. In an interview with Business Line, Jain outlines his thoughts on the way forward for his company. Excerpts from the interview:

How do you look back on the company's performance since you took over in 2011?

I think what we have attempted to do is invest heavily in technology. We have started to recognise processes and trained people to become experts in processes. Thereafter, we have started to work on how we can put the customer at the centre of everything we do. Gradually, in this way, a re-orientation of the organisation has happened.

Second, on the product side, we were significantly under the influence of motor insurance. Motor formed about 70 per cent of our portfolio a year and a half back; last year, it was about 64 per cent and, hopefully, this year we will bring it down to 60 per cent. We have been able to grow our health and property insurance portfolios as well. These are welcome changes from the portfolio balance perspective.

Third, we have been focussed on driving business which is sustainable and not loss-making. It is not just about top-line driven approach but the top-line and bottom-line put together. In the last two quarters we have displayed such an approach and are confident we can sustain this going forward. So the sourcing strategy seems to be in place.

How do you plan to change the mix of 80:20 in retail versus corporates?

In today's scenario, the larger issue is that people don't sit down with corporates and understand their businesses. In a world where large value claims are emerging and corporates are anxious about getting their claims, our strategy is to bond with the corporates, understand their business and finances, so that when any claims situation arises, we can support the corporate immediately. Therefore, risk management of the corporate business becomes very important.

Appropriately, we want to specialise sector-wise. We are arranging sector-specific conferences with our clients in cement, IT and power, for instance, where we exchange notes and create a 'best practices' environment, not just in insurance but also in client operations. There is an exchange of ideas and then they are able to see what the insurer does as a development role. This way we have started to create a more risk-based approach.

Is there any particular sector that offers untapped potential to insurers?

Sectors, as such, are not an issue. However, insurance segments are. For example, there is low awareness on the SME side. SME health is a big opportunity as most SME entities don't have health cover for their employees. The way of tapping into this is through agents, given that SMEs are so widespread, and unorganised that one can't reach them by oneself. For this, we are motivating our agents to look beyond the retail business to get at least 10 per cent of business from corporates and SMES. We have thus created a specialised channel that can meet the objectives of the SMEs.

Business Line, Jul 22, 2013

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