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Indians prefer life insurance to FDs

January 16, 2009 08:36 IST

In these times of economic turbulence, more Indians prefer life insurance policies than fixed deposits, as an option to safeguard their capital, says a survey.

According to the survey conducted by global information and media company Nielsen, 44 per cent of the Indians would opt for life insurance policies as compared to fixed deposits.

"In the wake of the global financial meltdown, most investors are looking at options which help them safeguard their capital. Life insurance is seen as one such avenue," The Nielsen Consumer Research associate director Kalyan Karmakar said.

The survey titled 'Nielsen Life 2008', involved 12,760 respondents in the age group of 22-50 years. The report said life insurance has the highest penetration level amongst investment option with 44 per cent, followed by bank fixed deposits which as 35 per cent votes.

At the same time, the survey said all-weather investment option gold continues to be the safest bet for most of the respondents, while property are the other favourites among locals.

The findings came in the backdrop of global financial turmoil shaking the investors confidence, making equity market a tough case.

"The Indian insurance market is buoyant since its opening up. It is interesting to note that in the beginning of the year 2000 there was only one player in the insurance sector but today we have 22 players with varied offerings.

Insurance buyers have responded positively to this with a rising number of buyers looking at private players for their second policies", Karmakar said.

Meanwhile, Life Insurance topped the list of future investment instruments with 30 per cent people considering it as a future investment option, while only 11 per cent think fixed deposits as a investment option in future.

Further the report said that only seven per cent Indians voted for Gold and property as an option in future investment.

The research report has listed three key triggers for buying life insurance are family protection in case of untimely death, retirement corpus and securing child's future.

Interestingly, insurance for child emerged as a key trigger compared to the previous leg of the survey in 2004.

"We see a reduction in the number of people who bought insurance for tax saving with more people buying insurance for insurance sake", Karmakar said.

The report also noted about the source of information on insurance policies. It pointed that 98 per cent of people receives information from agents and about 58 per cent of them get to know from friends and peers in comparison 2004.

The latest report by Nielsen Life indicates about consumer divide between private and public players where insurance is considered. Most people favour state-owned LIC [Get Quote] for their first insurance policy.

However, there is a strong tendency to look at private players for succeeding policies as they are seen to provide additional investment options and are considered more transparent. They also provide door step service to their consumers.

On the other hand, "the high charges and hidden costs of private insurance companies act as a deterrent for respondents". The people think that they are new in business, thus this is often a barrier for a long term commitment.

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