SBI Life plans to broadbase its premium portfolio

Pier paolo DipaoloChennai: With single premium policies contributing sizeable amount of business SBI Life Insurance Company Limited has decided to broad base its business portfolio by tripling its agency force, strengthening the traditional as well as unit-linked life insurance policy (ULIP) portfolio, says Pier paolo Dipaolo, 49, deputy CEO, SBI Life Insurance Company Limited.

Dipaolo an Italian by birth, has a degree in industrial chemistry and an MBA specialising in strategic marketing. He started his career with a FMCG company and then moved into banking. Three years later he joined Cardif, and was instrumental in setting up the company in Italy.

For 10 years he was Cardif''s managing director in Italy before moving to France to participate in the company''s overseas ventures, including the Indian operations. Two years ago he joined SBI Life, a 74:26 joint venture between State Bank of India and Cardif.

When asked to compare and contrast the life insurance business in France and that in India, he says, "The differences lie in complexities in operations as well as product design. In India the market is driven by individual agency force whereas in other countries it is driven by banks."

He adds, "Overseas the products sold through banks are simpler and there are separate regulations that govern the bancassurance channels. In India all the distribution channels vend the same products and are governed by one regulation."

According to Dipaolo, Indian banks still consider selling insurance policies as an extra workload and not an active revenue source for the bank. "In the West, it is a big business for banks as the customer segments are clearly divided."