Not all life insurance agents sell non-life policies. Only 3 out of 10 life insurance agents sell motor and health insurance policies, shows the General Insurance Council (GIC) data. GIC is an industry trade body for the non-life insurance industry.
Currently, there are over 20 lakh life insurance agents in the insurance industry. However, GIC data reveals that of these agents, only six lakh agents are selling non-life insurance policies like health insurance and motor insurance.
Current IRDAI norms allows individual agents sell policies of three insurers – one life insurance company, one non-life insurer and one standalone health insurer.
Experts attribute this to recruitment of non-serious agents and lower incentives in non-life products compared to life insurance policies.
Sanjay Datta, Chief - Underwriting & Claims, ICICI Lombard, believes, “Currently, the number of life insurance agents outnumber general insurance agents. However, it is to be noted that many life insurance agents are either inactive or work on part-time basis.”
“It may be possible that the industry has only 6 lakh active agents as these agents have a tie up with all three insurance companies. Also, the commission in non-life business is not attractive compared to life insurance,” said a senior official of the large general insurance company.
R Chandrasekaran, Secretary General, General Insurance Council, says, “Banks and insurance brokers account for the distribution of 60% of non-life policies. The reason behind this trend is commercial policies. On the other hand, individual agents are allowed to sell retail policies only which they don’t find attractive.”
Typically, in the non-life business, large distributors like banks and insurance brokers contribute a considerable amount to new business premium. These intermediaries do not like to sell life insurance to retail customers as they feel the effort and expenses incurred in acquiring and servicing customers is too high. Instead, they focus on selling large ticket size non-life products like group health insurance, motor insurance, liability insurance etc. to corporates.