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'India, a huge insurance market'

February 01, 2008 15:01 IST

With a population of 1.1 billion, India is a perfect market for insurance and can generate sufficient long-term funds for development of infrastructure sector, says Million Dollar Round Table, a global body of insurance professionals.

"You cannot be anything but bullish about the Indian market if you are a multinational. With 1.1 billion population, relatively young population, relatively well educated population, this is a perfect market for insurance," MDRT President James E Rogers said in an interview to PTI.

Insurance is also important as it leads to capital formation, he said, pointing out that, "countries with strong insurance industries have strong infrastructure and strong capital formation. It generates long term capital to build super highways, mortgages for buildings, at the same time it protects families and businesses in case somebody dies."

Rogers, who is in India in connection with MDRT meetings at Chennai, Pune and Bangalore, said the country has the potential to add 40,000 members to the organisation, which is an international association of professionals representing 476 companies spread over 76 nations.

"India and China are fast growing economies. It would be foolish not to be interested in this part of the world, especially India, and increasing our membership because this is an economic story that is very exciting and we want to be a part of it," he said.

In terms of the financial sector, he added, India is in an excellent position to grow in exponential fashion in the short run.

Referring to opening of the insurance sector, Rogers said, competition has made "everybody sharper in their product design and pricing - making consumer a winner."

For exponential growth of insurance, he said, "The agents need proper education. If they feel good about their job, feel that they are doing a social good and they are really contributing to the welfare of the society, then there will be more of them."

Presently, MDRT has about 2000 members from India, Rogers said, adding, "If we are able to increase the members then we can make this a much stronger organisation. This will then impact India because the efforts will help in taking care of the needs of widows and orphans when people die."

The increasing presence of MDRT, he said, could also help in bringing latest insurance technology and improving the skills of the Indian insurance professionals. Pointing out that number of professional agents are very less, Rogers said, "What we are doing with the help of MDRT is enhancing the lives of the professionals so that they become more educative, more knowledgeable, more professional by which they become better salespersons. By doing this, they could enhance their life and lifestyle."

Refuting the charge that MDRT charges a high membership fee, which is about 450 dollar per annum, he said, "People have a mindset. They are not focusing on value versus cost. They are focusing on cost alone. The benefits far exceed the cost if you go to the meeting and pay attention.... Cost is only important to the extent that the benefit you are getting is less than the cost."

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