HDFC Stan Life sets new standards

Chennai: Its a peculiarity India is known for: once the prices go up they never come down. But it proves otherwise with HDFC Standard Life Insurance. In a customer-friendly move, the company has slashed down the premium rates on its term-assurance plans by nearly 20 per cent.

"There can be nothing wrong with a company that wishes to offer its customers a good value for their hard-earned money. We have reduced the premium rates on just one of our products term assurance. This is a commodity product and therefore it has to be priced competitively," says Standard Life general manager (finance) and appointed actuary Nick Taket.

Despite an increased life span in India, all new companies are using the Life Insurance Corporation of Indias mortality table to peg their premium rates more or at part with that of the latter.

Taket, 44, is one of the foreign actuaries to occupy the position of an appointed actuary in a life insurance company. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries, UK, and the Actuarial Society of India. Working with Standard Life since 1989, Taket has served in the companys head office in Edinburgh and then in its Canadian branch before coming to India.

For the second time in a year he has rocked the private sector life insurance industry. The first time was when HDFC Standard Life decided to declare a one-time founders bonus and a reversionary bonus to its policyholders. This forced many a player to think of such bonus declarations.

But Taket says being aggressive is not HDFC Standard Lifes marketing strategy. "Nor there is a market perception that we find it tough to sell. I believe that other life insurance companies cannot or do not wish to follow our example, and they want to tell their clients that it is our company that is at fault, and not those belonging to them," he remarks.

"Declaring a bonus when a policy makes profits is one of the normal actions of a life insurance company. We were the first new life insurance company to procure an IRDA licence, and it comes as no surprise that we were the first to declare a bonus," says Taket.