Satisfying Career

The first woman MD of LIC is leaving her mark on the Rs 28 lakh crore assets corporation.

This September-end, the 60-year-old Usha Sangwan, Managing Director of LIC, will hang up her boots after a career spanning almost four decades. Sangwan, who was one of the top contenders for the post of chairman almost two years ago, had joined as a direct recruit officer in 1981. "I feel as if I joined yesterday," grins Sangwan, adding, "I am feeling as fresh as ever." That is probably because she has been taking up challenges, pushing LIC to adopt newer technologies and setting higher goals.

Her five-year tenure has seen LIC touch record premium collections, several customer relationship initiatives and higher adoption of technology. In individual new business premiums, LIC has a market share of close to 76 per cent in number of life policies and 69 per cent in first premium income. LIC has been working hard on marketing campaigns, product positioning and focusing on channels. For example, it has launched specific products in the pension segment as well as products for millennials, women and HNIs. "The approach is to study the target market and design products accordingly," says Sangwan.

Sangwan's focus is largely on making LIC ready to face future challenges. She has been focusing on data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, chat bots and blockchain. "There are many use cases in areas of predictive analysis, likely policy lapses, fraud management, etc," says Sangwan. Two other areas - data security and cyber security - are also on top of her mind. LIC has already started work on setting up a world-class security operations centre in Mumbai.

As part of technology initiatives, customers will soon be able to interact with chatbots for day-to-day queries. "We have started working on a question bank. We are studying thousands of queries," says Sangwan. Sangwan's rise in a PSU set-up is an inspiration for young women. "The basic challenge has been balancing work and life," she says.