Emergence of bancassurance as syndication channel

With the opening up of the insurance sector and with so many players stepping into the Indian insurance industry, it is required by the insurance firms to come up with impressive products, create more consumer understanding about their products and offer them at a competitive price. New entrants in the insurance sector had no difficulty in matching their products with the customers' needs and offering them at a cost acceptable to the customer.

But, insurance not as an off of the shelf product and one which requiring personal counseling and persuasion, circulation posed a major task for the insurance firms. Further insurable people of over one billion pass on all over the country has made the original programs of the insurance firms costlier. Also due to heavy competition, insurance providers do not benefit from the overall flexibility of incurring heavy distribution expenses and passing them to the client by means of high prices.

Introduction to bancassurance: With these trends and increased stresses in combating competition, companies are compelled to come up with innovative ways to market their products and services. At this juncture, bank sector with it's miles and huge reach, was regarded as a potential circulation channel, helpful for the insurance companies. This union of both sectors is what's known as Bancassurance.

Research methodology

Research Objective: To study the critical issues involved in emergence of bancassurance as a substitute distribution route to captive real estate agents for insurance products in India

Literature Survey: Many research workers and practitioners in recent have researched the importance and introduction of bancassurance as a substitute distribution route to captive brokers. A lot of the project has been modeled on the basis of articles released in journals, newspapers and interviews of skillfully developed. Some primary research in form of interview of some industry people has also been undertaken on their views on the topic.

Channels of Distribution

Personal circulation channel

Captive/Tied agencies: Insurance sales agents who work exclusively for one insurance provider are referred to as captive/tied agents. Agencies prepare reviews, maintain records, seek out new clients, and, in case of a loss, help policyholders settle their insurance cases. Progressively, some are also offering their client's financial examination or advice on ways the clients can decrease risk. Insurance sales agents commonly known as "manufacturers" in the insurance industry, sell a number of types of insurance, such as property and casualty, life, health, impairment, and long-term treatment.

An increasing quantity of insurance sales agents are offering comprehensive financial planning services to their clients, such as retirement life planning, house planning, or assistance in setting up pension programs for businesses. Because of this, many insurance agents get excited about "cross-selling" or "total accounts development. " Besides offering insurance, these real estate agents may become qualified to sell common funds, adjustable annuities, and other securities. This practice is most normal with life insurance real estate agents who already sell annuities; however, property and casualty brokers also sell financial loans.

Corporate agents: Firms and not individuals selling policies of Insurance firms. An amendment in October 2002, to the Action of Corporate Brokers, recognized finance institutions, and other entities like cooperatives, NGOs and panchayats as intermediaries who can sell Insurance for a commission payment. While under the old regulations the only commercial agent that was acknowledged, was a company where all directors were Insurance brokers, the new laws allows practically any entity to market Insurance. The strategy has provided a major boost to the private insurance providers in the country, who've been facing a syndication conundrum. The many channels you can use under the purview of the amendments are

Bancassurance: Bancassurance in its simplest form is the circulation of Insurance products by having a bank's distribution route. Banking institutions are straightaway leverage their existing capacities in conditions of repository and face-to-face connections to advertise Insurance products.

Co-operative societies and community panchayats: Rural places and small cities offer a huge probable to the Insurance firms. This probable was generally untapped credited to inadequate syndication. The key to advertise gain access to in these areas can be: Co-operative societies; Town Panchayats; Post Office. The Co-operative societies and town panchayats can act as 'Corporate Agents' to sell Insurance products most specific to the community's needs.

NGO: This route could be used to increase recognition about the Insurance products. As many NGOs have strong occurrence and a confident reputation in rural areas they can be an effective channel. HelpAge agreed upon as a corporate agent for the Life Insurance Firm and National Insurance Corporation

Other Financial Providers: financial providers like India Info line, Way2riches, Geojit etc. have authorized as corporate agencies for different insurance companies. The objective is providing the clients a one-stop solution, boost the other income and make effective use of the prevailing distribution.

Broker: An insurance professional will act as an intermediary between the customer and the insurance provider and his scope of activities will be way wider than that of the agent. Unlike a realtor who represents a single insurance company, an agent will represent a minimum of three insurance companies. A broker, as per the client's requirements, will obtain estimates from various insurers. And as per certain requirements of the customer he will guide him on the ideal policy that he could go for from a complete range of products available in the market from various insurers.


Insurance brokers receive the required training by the insurance provider and also have a code of conduct to follow. They may be more professional and also have minimal capital norms and strict restrictions to be used as laid down by the insurance regulator. The rules proposed the bare minimum capital for a primary broker at Rs 25 lakh while for a reinsurance broker it is Rs 1 crore.

Range of products

Insurance broker agents are well versed with product information to offer advise on the risk products they sell and hence are able to offer a whole basket of risk products of various companies with several options to meet the customers growing insurance requirements. As for the customer, there will be no difference in the price of the merchandise.

Brokers fees

Brokerage charge is capped at 17. 5 percent. However in certain countries in another country the common brokerage commission is about 18 to 20 percent while in some cases it has gone up to even 30 to 35 percent. The insurance regulator blueprints to come out with the necessary polices soon in this regard


Brokers in the urban arena can attract the elite and top of the middle income customer

Brokers represent the customer and will sell the products greater than one company

They seek to look for the best fit for the client and can effectively solve the mind block faced by the public about the various companies

Work site marketing: Worksite marketing is the advertising of voluntary (employee-paid) Insurance and financial loans at the worksite. The products may be on either an individual or group system and are usually paid through regular payroll deductions. Another potential channel that reduces the need for an possessed distribution network is worksite marketing. Insurance providers will be able to market pensions, health insurance and even other basic covers through employers to their employees. The products may be purchased by the employer or simply marketed at the work area with the employer's co-operation.


Captive customer base

Potential to market specific insurance and group insurance

High trust factor

High hit proportion for the intermediaries


Cost effectiveness

Product customization

Efficient post sales servicing

Technology has an integral role to play in worksite marketing to ensure cost benefits.

Direct response distribution channel: - Immediate response distribution systems are the method whereby your client purchases the insurance straight. The restrictions of reach of immediate medium like internet and lack of such culture has seen limited progress of the medium via the personal distribution medium

Internet: - All leading insurance companies have websites with product features, other details and applications for shutting sales. However, credited to lack of technical aptitude and lack of penetration of the medium this medium is not very effective. In near future this channel can be convenient for advertising simple off of the shelf products. Inside our countries context, these channels by themselves will never be able to overcome the way of thinking of the folks, but rather can only just be enablers for the human channels

At present the majority of the insurance firms, have product information and/or illustrative tools on the web.

Call centers for tele marketing: - Call centers make effective use of directories provided to them and make he customers aware about their product features etc. However, as because insurance is a high involvement product it is virtually impossible to close a deal over the telephone. It for sure can only become an enabler for human channels.

Direct mail- another effective use of database can be for mailing direct mailers. Direct mailers can maintain form of digital mails or snail mails. The companies for the shear reason of their cost effectiveness like electric mails to snail mails.

Need for bancassurance

The growth of Bancassurance as a circulation route can be ascribed to the following

Conducive environment: Intensifying dismantling of laws and regulations relating to executing of insurance businesses by bankers, increasing use of electric programs and automation, growing needs for private old age plans to check public pensions, the matter for providing total financial services to customers, etc. have paved just how for Bancassurance.

Cost efficiency: Insurers turn to Bancassurance as a substitute cost effective mode of circulation as contrary to the costly company services. It's estimated that 50% of the insurance providers cost structure is straight or indirectly related to distribution

Fee-based income: A standard bank expects to increase its fee-based income and overall output by leveraging its branch network, brand image and client base by optimally which consists of property/infrastructure and by positioning itself as an one-stop-shop with value-added service for its customers, thereby increasing customer commitment and retention. Bancassurance permits a bank to satisfy the risk safeguard needs of its clients without presuming underwriting risk.

Fund Management: Life insurance coverage (where premium is about 55% of the insurance high quality worldwide) is a personal savings market. It is one of the methods to increase the deposits of bankers. Both life and non-life insurance business provide additional flow of float cash besides fee founded income to banking institutions, through the same channel of circulation and with the same people.

Innovations and efficiency: Increased convergence of bank and insurance would lead of melding of these corporate ethnicities, skill and synergising/innovating the marketing of financial services.

What is bancassurance?

Bancassurance in French or All finanz (Widespread Bank) in German, simply put, means using the bank's distribution channels to sell insurance products. The school of thought behind Bancassurance is to incorporate the manufacturing capabilities sand offering culture of insurance firms with the syndication network and large receptive clientele of banks.

It is a occurrence wherein insurance products can be found through the syndication channels of the banking services along with a complete selection of banking and investment products and services. Putting it simple, Bancassurance will try to exploit synergies between both the insurance companies and bankers.

Bancassurance if used right nature and applied properly can be win-win situation for the all the individuals' viz. , lenders, insurers and the customer.

Models of bancassurance

Different types of bancassurance on basis of depth of marriage between loan company and insurance company

Different Bancassurance business models as given below are prevalent in different countries

Distribution contracts: In simplest form called 'attached agent', the bank's employees sell the products of one insurer specifically, either in stand-alone basis or bundled with loan company products.

Strategic alliance: This is a higher amount of involvement in product development, service provision and route management using bank making an investment sizably in insurance business without any contingent liability.

Joint enterprise: Here a large lender with a well developed customer database lovers with a huge insurer with strong product and route experience, to build up a robust new distribution model. Otherwise, a bank and insurance company may agree to have combination holdings between them to share the profits.

Financial service group: Under further integration between a bank and insurer, an insurance provider may build/buy a bank or investment company or a bank or investment company may build/buy an insurance provider.

Thus finance institutions could relate themselves with insurance companies by learning to be a distributor or when you are a strategic trader or developing a jv or by learning to be a promoter. A lot of the bancassurance operations show up in the first model.

Different models of bancassurance on basis of sales force

Insurer employs sales force & deploys at bank

Bank uses sales power/ Loan provider employees sell insurance

Insurer employs sales force to check out up Bank generated leads

Process been able by Bank

Insurer only product/service


Minimal cross-cultural issues

Strengths of insurer not utilized

Greater change management required engendering sales culture

Quick to implement

Reduced bank or investment company management time

Little integration required

Least effective in making the most of opportunities from the lender database

Insurer controls sales process

Quick to implement

Both lovers' strengths utilized

Bank as introducer, insurer sales force as converters

Cultural fit key, since insurance provider personnel deployed at Bank branches

Table 5. 1 The latest models of of bancassurance on basis of sales force


Advantages to banks

Productivity of the employees increases.

By providing customers with both the services under one roof structure, they can improve overall customer satisfaction leading to higher customer retention levels.

Increase in return on assets because they build payment income through the deal of insurance products. (Least investment and "No" dangers)

Can leverage on face-to-face associates and recognition about the financial conditions of customers to sell insurance products.

Generation of additional profits

Staff will be encouraged through financial and other incentives

The "Tough" effective and efficient sales and marketing culture will have a good effect on the finance institutions marketing function

Retention of "existing" and acquisition of "new" customers

Certain life insurance coverage products will protect or minimize their risk exposure - mortgage loan or other loans, key man etc

Ability to market bank products alive insurer's clients

Advantages to insurers

Generation of additional sales

Increase in profits

Additional funds for investment

Ability to sell bank products to client base - producing additional profits

Sales make will be motivated through additional income and ability to provide more products to their clients and prospects

Retention of "Existing" and acquisition of "New" customers

The "Good" culture of the lender will have a good impact on the life span insurer

Insurers can exploit the bankers' huge network of branches for distribution of products. The penetration of banking institutions' branches in to the rural areas can be employed to sell products in those areas.

Customer database like customers' financial status, spending practices, investment and buy capability can be used to personalize products and sell consequently.

This route allows an insurance company to effectively tap the rural sector. Providing insurance through traditional methods in rural area can be an expensive proposition.

Since banks have already established romance with customers, transformation ratio of contributes to sales is likely to be high. Further service aspect may also be tackled easily.

Advantages to consumers

Comprehensive financial advisory services under one roof covering. i. e. , insurance services and also other financial services such as bank, mutual funds, unsecured loans etc.

Enhanced convenience for the insured

Easy access for cases, as customers visit banks regularly

Innovative and better product ranges

Bancassurance in India

The Indian insurance industry is growing fast. Lenders and insurance firms see bancassurance as the answer to the Indian retail financial industry's future income. Non-life products have highlighted les prominently in such route when compared with life products. The banks in India have a customer base of near 100 million and therefore are an ideal circumstance to carry bancassurance forward. A unique aspect will be predominance of rural loan company branches in sales functions and the closeness of the lender staff with customers generally speaking in the rural pockets.

Bancassurance in India is an extremely new idea, but is fast gaining earth. In India, the bank and insurance industries are controlled by two different entities (bank by RBI and insurance by IRDA) and bancassurance being the combos of two sectors comes under the purview of both regulators. Each of the regulators has given out detailed suggestions for banks engaging in insurance sector

As per the tips of the Malhotra Committee on Reforms in the Insurance Sector, Indian Parliament handed the Insurance Regulatory & Development Power (IRDA) Action 1999. IRDA is constituted to modify, promote and ensure orderly development of insurance and reinsurance business. Matching to IRDA, an exclusive sector participant has to fulfill the pursuing criteria for admittance into insurance sector

(a) Least paid-up capital of Rs. 100 crores

(b) Investment in policyholders' funds only in India

(c) Limitation of international companies to minority collateral holding of 49 %

Reserve Loan company of India has recommended entry rules under the next three options for lenders attempting to diversify into insurance

Joint-venture on risk contribution basis: Joint endeavors (JV) for insurance business with risk participation is allowed for banking companies which have

(i) Net price no less than Rs. 500 crores,

(ii) CRAR of no less than 10%,

(iii) Reasonable degree of NPA,

(iv) Net income continuously for the last three years,

(v) Satisfactory performance documents of subsidiaries

Strategic Investment: Bankers that are not eligible for JV participation as above, can commit up to 10% of the net worth of the bank or Rs. 50 crores whichever is less in insurance provider for providing infrastructure and service support without any contingent liability, provided they fulfill the requirements

(i) CRAR of not less than 10%,

(ii) Reasonable level of NPA

(iii) Net profit continuously for the last three years

Agency business on charge basis: Any commercial lender may embark on insurance business on cost basis, as an agent of insurance companies, with no risk involvement IRDA in addition has notified polices, interalia, on enrollment of insurance providers, their resources and liabilities, carry out of business, obligation to rural communal sectors, protection of plan holders interest, licensing of insurance real estate agents, providers' training etc. A standard bank can act as a Corporate Agent of any one life and/or non-life insurer(s); but cannot become a broker on behalf of many life/non-life insurers. Thus banks commencing bancassurance may also be subject to IRDA Regulations

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Specialist (IRDA) guidelines for the bancassurance are

Each bank or investment company that markets insurance will need to have a main insurance executive to handle all the insurance activities.

All individuals involved in offering should under-go required training at an institute approved by IRDA and go the assessment conducted by the power.

Commercial banks, including cooperative banking institutions and regional rural banks, may become corporate agents for one insurance provider.

Banks cannot become insurance brokerages.

Bancassurance tie-ups in India

Table 8. 1 Bancassurance tie-ups in India

Insurance Company


Birla Sun Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

Bank of Rajasthan, Andhra Loan company, Loan provider of Muscat, Development Credit Loan provider, Deutsche Bank and Catholic Syrian Bank

Dabur CGU Life Insurance Company Pvt. Ltd

Canara Bank or investment company, Lakshmi Vilas Loan provider, American Express Bank or investment company and ABN AMRO Bank


Union Bank or investment company of India


Lord Krishna Loan provider, ICICI Bank, Loan company of India, Citibank, Allahabad Bank or investment company, Federal Loan provider, South Indian Bank, and Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank.

Life Insurance Company of India

Corporation Loan provider, Indian Overseas Bank or investment company, Centurion Loan company, Satara District Central Co-operative Standard bank, Janata Urban Co-operative Standard bank, Yeotmal Mahila Sahkari Standard bank, Vijaya Standard bank, Oriental Loan company of Commerce.

Met Life India Insurance Co. Ltd.

Karnataka Loan provider, Dhanalakshmi Loan company and J&K Bank


State Bank of India

Bajaj Allianz Basic Insurance Co. Ltd.

Karur Vysya Standard bank and Lord Krishna Bank

National Insurance Co. Ltd.

City Union Bank

Royal Sundaram Basic Insurance Company

Standard Chartered Bank, ABN AMRO Loan company, Citibank, Amex and Repco Loan company.

United India Insurance Co. Ltd.

South Indian Bank

Global Scenario of Bancassurance

Bancassurance is a topic of continuing interest to the financial services industry worldwide. Over the years, regulatory obstacles between bank and insurance have diminished altogether, setting up a environment increasing friendly to Bancassurance. The degree to which finance institutions spend themselves to the sale and servicing of Insurance differs from country to country and among specific banks. Bancassurance up to now has been principally Western european.

Bancassurance has changed the Insurance industry in most of the developed world. Bancassurance signifies over 65% of the premium income in life insurance coverage in Spain, 60% in France, 50% in Belgium and Italy. By making use of existing legislation in Insurance, Bancassurance has provided them with a fresh source of revenue, which served to diversify their banking activity and boost their choice of products, in that way increasing customer commitment.

Table 9. 1 LIFE INSURANCE COVERAGE density and penetration in Top 10 countries in conditions of GDP in 2003


GDP (In US $ Billion)

Population (Mil)

Density (in US $)

Penetration (In %)

United States


290. 2

1657. 5

4. 38



127. 0

300. 9

8. 28



82. 3

930. 4

4. 74

U. K


59. 2

2617. 1

8. 62



59. 6

1767. 9

5. 99



57. 5

1238. 3

4. 82

PR China


1290. 8

25. 1

2. 30



31. 6

722. 9

2. 63



41. 0

488. 6

2. 38



102. 5

41. 3

0. 70



1056. 3

12. 9

2. 26

Issues to be tackled

Given the jobs and diverse skills brought by the lenders and insurers to a Bancassurance tie up, it is expected that street to a successful alliance would not be a simple task. A number of the issues that are to be addressed are

Inherent differences between products of bank and insurance


Life Insurer


Demand motivated (Bought procedure)

Sold(It requires proactive sales way)

Process driven(varieties &paperwork)

Personality &Marriage driven

Short term

Long term



Table 10. 1 Natural differences between products of banking and insurance

Banks especially the general public areas ones have been found looking on the desired service levels. Insurance therefore needs higher level of consultation and excellent service levels mostly during claim arrangement. This mismatch has to be bridged to make bancassurance a success as a syndication route for insurance products.

Develop progressive products for bancassurance: The tie-ups need to develop innovative products and services alternatively than depend on the original methods. The sorts of products the lenders would be allowed to sell are another major concern. For example, a intricate unit-linked life insurance product is better sold through brokers or realtors, while a standard term product or simple products like auto insurance, mortgage loan and accident protection plans can be completed by loan provider branches

Clarity on operational issues: There has to be quality on the operational activities of the bancassurance i. e. , who'll do the branding, will the insurance company prefer to put a person at the bank branch, or will the lender branch train and set up one of its people, remuneration of these people.

Training: Despite the fact that the finance institutions are in personal contact with their clients, a higher amount of pro-active marketing and skill is required to sell the insurance products. This can be resolved through proper training.

Direct competition: You can find hazards of direct competition to conventional banking products. Loan company personnel may become resistant to sell insurance products since they might think they would become redundant if savings were diverted from banking companies to their insurance subsidiaries.

Inherent issues: Sometimes there are natural conflicts between your bank and insurance businesses which make it difficult to incorporate both in the organization. A mother or father or guardian may close his bank account if his child is refused electric motor insurance.

Model to be likely modified: If the bancassurance style of one loan company tying up with only one life insurance spouse is changed to that of many life insurance coverage partners than the whole dynamics of the overall game changes. Any player with over reliance on bancassurance and weak main distribution network will be left stranded.

Incentive and travel allowance problem: The lender officer is not willing to pressure himself because of incentive problem and travel allowance problem.

Incentive problem: The Banking Regulations Act will not permit financial incentives for loan provider employees. Some insurance companions are therefore resorting to other means. Insufficient incentives can be a major hindrance in motivating bank or investment company employees in advertising insurance.

Travel Allowance: Minus the insurance company footing the petrol expenses the bank official could have been struggling to work, as open public sector finance institutions do not pay any travel allowance to employees for any travel beyond 8 kilometres.

Factors critical to the success of bancassurance

Factors that seem to be critical for the success of bancassurance are: -

Commitment of mature management: Senior management of the bank must be focused on bancassurance as a center strategy that should be integrated with other key strategies.

Due Importance: Bancassurance should not be merely viewed as an add-on product but as an important aspect of the business

Change in culture: Bank's culture must be altered to sell insurance and it must be guaranteed that "shelf space" is effectively provided in the bank's retail delivery system.

Handling of customers: With customer awareness levels increasing, they are really demanding higher convenience in financial services.

Emergence of distant distribution programs: The introduction of remote syndication channels, such as PC-banking and Internet-banking, would hamper the syndication of insurance products through lenders.

Emergence of newer syndication channels: The emergence of newer distribution channels seeking market share in the network.

Others: Strategies constant with the bank's eyesight, knowledge of focus on customers' needs, defined sales process for presenting insurance services, simple yet complete product offerings, strong service delivery mechanism, quality administration, synchronized planning across all business lines and subsidiaries, complete integration of insurance with other loan company products and services, comprehensive and high-quality training, sales management monitoring system for confirming on real estate agents' time and results of lender recommendations and relevant and adaptable repository systems.

Future of bancassurance in India

India is 23rd major insurance market on the planet but it compares badly with other countries in respect of insurance penetration and density, as shown in the table below

Table 12. 1 Comparison of Insurance penetration and density of India with other countries

During 2001-02, the full total life insurance high grade collection in India increased to about Rs. 50, 000 crores. When the industry is to expand at a level of 20% per annum (against LIC's growth of 39% during 2001- 02), the life span insurance market in India will be around Rs. 1, 71, 500 crores in ten years time. Even when banks can have the ability to get 25% of the market, they will take into account sales worth Rs. 43, 000 crores in high quality. This is only a conservative physique as the majority of the private insurance firms bancassurance business is contributing in the number of 25 to up to 70 %70 %(in case of Aviva). If the common commission payment is 10% of the total premium, banks can earn about Rs. 4300 crores per season. In the same way they can earn another Rs. 1000 crores as commission rate from non-life business (the each year alternative non-life market is above Rs. 10, 000 crores in superior per calendar year).

This magnitude of potential charge founded income by bankers in India from bancassurance business is the appeal for finance institutions to be preferred vendors of insurance products, in spite

Figure 12. 1 Future fads in Bancassurance

Of possible challenges relating to selection of insurance business (life or non-life or both), social issues, compensation composition and capacity building.


With huge untapped market in a country like ours, sky is the limit for personal series insurance products. Over 900 Mil individuals and 200 Mil homeowners are uninsured. After discounting the population below poverty brand, the middle market segment is the next largest in the world after China.

The Insurance sector will probably witness a whole lot of activity - whether it be product advancement or distribution route blend. Bancassurance, the emerging distribution route for the insurance providers, will have a sizable effect on Indian financial services industry. Traditional methods of distributing financial services would be challenged and will find it difficult to live up to the growth probable with in the sector and bancassurance is likely to be the toast of the future.

Banks provides in customer databases, leverage their name reputation and reputation at both, local and regional levels, employ the personal contact with their clients, which a new entrant cannot. Banking companies also have lower circulation costs than insurance firms and are thus, the quickest emerging distribution route. Tying up with lenders is the logical route for insurers to achieve considerable geographical spread and countrywide customer gain access to.

The expansion in the sector is going to be so fast that the most ambitious and most progressive will have the potential to overturn the traditional goliaths. But all this cannot come at the price of service levels. Circulation could possibly be the differentiator in the medium run but in the long term service would be the only differentiator and any player who develops this knowledge will emerge out the victor.

One more word of extreme caution, Bancassurance will be most likely the quickest growing medium of syndication but it cannot come at the price of traditional channels of captive agent. Over reliance on anybody particular route can cost dear to any player who so may it be.

Finally, success of bancassurance would mostly depend on how well insurers and banks understand each other's businesses and seize the opportunities offered, weeding out distinctions that will probably appear. Success of bancassurance and the firms adapting this course will rely upon the overall flexibility in integrating both cultures.

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