Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Most Trusted Brands 2011: LIC retains number 1 spot in life insurance category

From the year 2003 to 2007, LIC reigned supreme in Brand Equity's Most Trusted Brands Survey - in the services list of the survey - the insurance major was the numero uno service brand for five consecutive years. 

But call it a reflection of the market dynamics on-the-ground, the big daddy of life insurance in India slipped to No. 4 in the overall services list last year and is ranked No. 12 in the services list this year. The slip is owing to the rise of other service brands, particularly telecom services providers who have kept a scorching and an aggressive go-to-market strategy touching millions of lives across India. 

Telecom services and banks may have dislodged LIC from the overall list, but the company still rules the life insurance category. LIC is at No. 1 spot, followed by competitors SBI Life and Reliance Life at No. 2 & 3 respectively. LIC today has 78% market share in the life insurance space and services 28 crore individual policies besides covering more than 9 crore people under group insurance /superannuation schemes and more than 3 crore families under social security schemes. 

While LIC still dominates the category by a wide margin, there are clear indications that competition is hard at work to narrow the gap. The Brand Equity's Most Trusted Brands survey reveals that in the four zones, SBI Life comes a close second after LIC in the North zone. SBI Life also beats LIC as the most preferred life insurance brand in Chandigarh. Reliance Life Insurance is the other life insurance brand that has managed to beat LIC in the cities of Chennai, Bengaluru and Chandigarh. 

The brand has been quite visible through advertising recently and its efforts at improving distribution two years back through the introduction of the Chief Life Insurance Advisors (CLIA) scheme to leverage cream of its agent pool has also yielded positive results. In less than 24 months after CLIA was first introduced, LIC managed to get close to 15 lakh agents. 

The first year premium coming from just the CLIA scheme was so significant, that if the proceeds from CLIA were taken in isolation, it'll be the sixth largest amongst the 22 life insurance companies operating in India. For the year 2010-11, LIC earned Rs 203,358 crore as premium and settled a mind-boggling 183 lakh claims for the same time period paying Rs 52,160 crore. 

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