Vibha Padalkar, MD and CEO, HDFC Life, has been going from strength to strength after taking the helm of the biggest private life insurance company of India, both in terms of market capitalisation and new business premium. While leading the growth chart in good times is essential, minimising the fall during a crash is what differentiates a true industry leader.
In March 2020, the life insurance industry de-grew by 50 per cent, while HDFC Life de-grew only by 28 per cent. "Covid-led challenges were witnessed towards the end of FY20. However, we always see opportunities emerge when times are tough and our agile way of working helped reinvent ourselves. We took a bold step to shut down offices and branches even prior to the official lockdown and started servicing our customers via digital modes," says Padalkar.
This has reflected well in Q1FY21 financial results, with the company's marketshare in terms of individual weighted received premium (WRP) increasing to 18.5 per cent year-on-year from 17.5 per cent. Holding on to your existing customer is the toughest task.
In life insurance it is the persistency ratio, which shows how well you have been serving your existing customers. The persistency ratio, which indicates policy renewals, has increased over the last year; from 84 per cent in FY19 to around 90 per cent in FY20. "Each month since March has been progressively better in terms of both new business as well as persistency with expenses being very well controlled. At the same time, we have not shied away from making necessary investments in technology" she adds.