An interesting comment by the IRDA IT chief in making – Anand Juvekar regarding mis-selling by Insurance Companies made me revisit the entire storyboard. After all I am also an employee of a life insurance company. He was referring to the latest advertisement by Pepsi. Did not make any sense to me. Just like that dog advertisement wherein two dogs are driving a car. Anyway, let me have a biased view of the entire mis-selling story of life insurance policies. Let me go against the populist media coverage which slams the life insurance companies.
1. Indians want quick fix – Look at cricket. From true form of test match to a diluted version called T20, we have time and again proven that we seriously do not prove in the adage “patience is a virtue”. Even products are so named Eg: Feviquick. Headache pills which guarantee a solution in seconds .. Aah se aaha tak .. So, why would we even consider financial products from long term perspective. The concept of Money back policies is an unparalleled success in this country primarily for that reason; you start getting returns in 3/4 years.
Even the social structure forces us to do everything quickly “Chat mangni pat byaah”. And once that is done with, then next obvious is “When are you becoming a parent? It’s been so long. 10 min is all it takes. Just do it”.
And then you blame insurance guy for pitching you product that would give good return in few years time. Except for PPF an average customer does not look beyond 5 years. In such a scenario why would he go the entire way of telling you the benefits of staying invested for a long time.. Apne to khoon main hi nahin hai.
2. Thanda MATLAB … – Of course you remember this Ad done by the ethical actor. Oye, thanda means refrigerator. Period. You put anything in there it is bound to be thanda. Why not neebu pani? Why not milk? Why not lassi? Marketing purists would debate that it was a great brand strategy. But it is not a fact.
How many guys have really become fair thanks to the “saavla guy who wants to become fair” creams?
How many guys have really attracted heavenly bodies (literally) thanks to the deosprays?
How would you know that your kid has become smarter and fitter and stronger thanks to the various biscuits and energy drinks or s/he is as duffer as you were and you are even now?
Then why blame the hard working and creative sales guy who painstakingly explains that returns may double and bonuses will increase. At least he is banking on growing economy. He did not plan 2008 market fall. I don’t think he had any “thassan” or “khoon nas” with any of the Lehmann brother either.
3. Is he a Yudhistra or a court witness? – main Jo kahunga sach kahunga, sach ke siwai kuch nahi kahunga. When was the last time a jeweler took this oath while selling you stuff. I bet you still don’t know its purity, making cost or even the charges for maintaining the showroom or marketing. But then we go crazy while looking at ULIP charges. I wonder why. At least it is transparent and saying the truth. For decades we have been buying bonus returns under the garb of insurance, yet we do not question the premium amount. Yet we do not question the calculation of returns.
The premise or rather the explanation given is that customers generally are intelligent enough to know what they are buying. It is an era of information and social learning. So then why do you blame the insurance guy? Know insurance. Learn insurance. Buy insurance from a normal salary and commission earning advisor. And just like other brand ambassadors and marketing concepts, do not expect him to be a yudhistra. Many would argue that this is a very myopic view of looking at the entire issue of mis-selling by the life insurance advisors. Many would say that there is more transparency today and hence the knowledge that buying insurance is not the perfect solution for issues of financial planning.
Thank God I would say. Finally if customers are realizing that life insurance is not the panacea to all issues related to financial planning, then many issues would be resolved by default. Most importantly it would bring to forth the most critical aspect of buying a life insurance plan. Just like you would buy a pressure cooker to please your wife as ‘Jo biwi se kare pyaar …’ .. Just like you would overcome your fear by drinking as ‘darr ke aage Jeet hai …’ … Similarly “jisko rakhna hai family ki khushiyon KO barkaraar … Insurance lene se kyun kare woh inkaar”.
Nobody knows whether fear was really overcome by drinking that drink, nobody knows if the wife went crazy over a cooker. But ask the family the value of insurance claim. Ask the value to the advisor who presented that claim. Priceless!