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Beyond the piggy bank

Manu Kaushik     November 25, 2010
Delhi-based Naveen Dhingra has two kids, Naman (13) and Nipun (10). In June this year, he got to know about Max New York Life Insurance's I-Genius scholarship programme and discussed this at home. His children showed interest and sat for the test. Both cleared the first round but could not make it to the finals. "The kids could not reach the last round, but the experience has resulted in me and my kids developing a strong affinity for the Max New York Life brand. I have already bought one insurance plan, Shiksha Plus, from them for my younger son and will strongly consider the insurer if I buy another policy for my other son. Till recently, I was saving money in National Savings Certificates and recurring bank deposits. A child insurance plan combines the savings component with protection coverage," says Dhingra.

Fun with numbers

  • Over 119 million parents in the 25-44 age group are looking for financial planning to secure their kids' future
  • Over 85 per cent of Indian households have children in the age group of 0-15 years
  • 65 per cent of parents spend more than half of their take-home pay on meeting their child's education expenses
Source: Max New York Life-NCAER India Financial Protection Survey, MarketGate, ASSOCHAM 2008 Survey

Scholarship programmes, photography contests, spelling competitions, comic books and merchandise are some of the innovative activities being introduced by insurance companies to capture mindshare of kids who influence parents to buy insurance products. "Unlike a car or a television, insurance is not an experiential product. That is why we create such platforms to give customers a more tangible experience of the brand," says Anisha Motwani, Chief Marketing Officer of Max New York Life.

Aviva India is another player in the life insurance sector that has moved away from traditional marketing methods to woo kids. "Since it is imperative to sensitise kids from a very early age about the value of money, Aviva partnered with Kidzee, the largest pre-school chain in Asia, to launch illustrative comic books called Money Smart last year," says T.R. Ramachandran, CEO & MD of Aviva India. Aviva has a nationwide tie-up with some 1,500 schools.

Currently, there are 14 life insurance companies offering 39 child insurance plans, broadly classified into conventional endowment plans and unit linked insurance plans, or ULIPs. "Insurance is a technical product and kids do not understand the need for it. Creating a buzz around the brand surely exerts a greater pull on kids and parents," says Motwani. Now, that is a sound policy.

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