Please tell us about the operations of LIC International in the UAE and its overseas presence.
The operations in the GCC basically began in 1989 with our headquarters in Bahrain. In 2005, the company opened a fully registered branch office in Dubai under the UAE Federal Law Number 6 of 2007. Later in 2016, the company established a fully-fledged branch in Abu Dhabi. LIC International is a part of LIC of India, which has 99.7 per cent ownership of the company. Despite being headquartered in Bahrain, the UAE branches represent the majority percentage of all life insurance sold by the company throughout the GCC. Its journey over the past 34 years is an exemplary story of sharing and fulfilling the dreams of thousands of NRIs in the UAE.
What are the popular products that are available for NRIs living in the UAE? What are your future growth plans in the UAE?
Our robust experience in the region has resulted in a thorough understanding of the market, and LIC as a trusted brand in the life insurance space enjoys a significant market share in the region. The company is able to establish and maintain strong brand connect with the Indian diaspora as its products are designed whilst keeping in mind the ethos of Indian financial habits. We have a competitive and need-based plan for every stage of life’s cycle, beginning with protection, critical illness cover, savings, child education, annuity, retirement and market linked investment plans.
Recently, LIC has launched a global equity market linked fund-based investment plan ‘Wealth Creator’, which offers NRIs the advantage of global market performance for higher yields on their investments. The unique advantage for NRIs with LIC’s products is the ability to diversify their investment into US dollars, aligning them with the dollar-pegged UAE dirham, a fundamental and increasingly attractive proposition. Over the next few years, our focus is firmly on diversifying our portfolio with a competitive advantage in the UAE market, building strategic partnerships with new distribution channels, and increasing our target customer base. In the long term, we are looking to prioritise and improve customer experience, with several initiatives in the pipeline at the company level. These include innovating and re-structuring our products and digitising the entire customer relationship for ease and accessibility during long-term relations.
How does LIC International help NRIs diversify their financial portfolio?
Post Covid-19, there has been a positive shift in customer priorities. The pandemic has pushed the importance of life insurance and health insurance to the front. Now, asset allocation is key in distributing the funds for investment. LIC had a niche market share in capital protected investment schemes, but with the recent addition of equity linked plan, we have leveraged our product portfolio in all asset classes of personal finance. Now, a customer can diversify their investible funds through a combination of investment strategies based on the risk matrix of each customer with LIC International. As an insurer, our prime focus is to educate the customers and extend a seamless financial planning journey. As you know, more than half of the UAE population is under the age of 35 (millennial group) — which indicates the industry has countless opportunities to grow. This niche group of investors is very well informed and digitally savvy. Therefore, part of our mission is to empower these NRIs whilst promoting insurance as a community service work organically.
How has the organisation leveraged its digital portfolio offerings? How do you foresee social media helping the current and prospective policy holder consumer base?
As an insurer, LIC International has a firm belief that life insurance is a matter of solicitation and post-pandemic, the working ecosystem has been disrupted to create a digital ‘new norm’. Our focus has been on creating a digital infrastructure for interfacing employees and engaging customers virtually, matching market demands with a competitive advantage. Ensuring customer service by working from home has been the new normal for us. However, we still believe face-to-face interaction is a must for understanding the nuances of financial planning, and customer needs.
We believe that social media in the insurance industry is a powerful strategy to educate our existing and prospective clients, helping the company to grow and thrive. It is a booming sector, and we are now adopting various measures to reach the desired audience.
Message for Indian Diaspora
On this special anniversary, let me first of all extend a very Happy India Republic Day to all Indians residing in the UAE and abroad. Today, let us make a promise to our motherland that we will do all we can to enrich and preserve its glorious heritage and to make India stronger for the future generations.