Published on August 13, 2020
In the Leadership Series EDGE Webinar titled ‘Above and Beyond Business as Usual: Reinforcing Organisational Culture for better Stakeholder Engagement’ on August 12, 2020, Rishi Srivastava, CEO & MD of Tata AIA Life Insurance Company, dwelled on how the company has leveraged the power of a higher purpose to transform its organisation culture.
In 2015, Tata AIA’s leadership felt the need for a change in the company’s culture, purpose and ecosystem to regain the company’s position in the market. From the sixth spot in FY’05, Tata AIA had dropped to number 17 among the 23 private insurers in the country in FY’15. Realising the need of the hour, the leadership team implemented some far-reaching decisions, beginning with a vision to guide the company’s activities.
A new vision
India, historically, has a high protection gap. According to a research report in 2015, only two out of 10 Indians were adequately protected against an unforeseen event. Desirous of correcting the anomaly, Tata AIA recast its vision to becoming India’s pre-eminent protection provider. Accordingly, the brand positioning was changed to reflect the new vision. Rakshakaran ki Reet, which espoused practising protection as a ritual, was amplified by Tata AIA’s commitment to protection.
Through a series of product innovations, operational improvements and customised propositions, Tata AIA executed its vision in letter and spirit. An ecosystem was designed to provide customers with options for procuring the best protection from unforeseen contingencies with convenient servicing facilities over digital mediums.
Aligning the culture
A new culture that emphasised the recognition and development of competencies for higher employee engagement was also implemented. Through a series of initiatives, including leadership assessments, capability building, recognitions and alternate learning methods, a new work environment was put in place. Kristyl Bhesania, Senior Vice President and Head - Human Resources, spoke about the various awards and events that were instituted for recognising efforts and celebrating success. Apart from various fun-at-work activities, chosen employees could interact with the MD and regional CEOs over coffee sessions. Special awards, including ‘Diva’, were instituted for women employees, while top performers were recognised through awards like ‘Hercules’ and ‘Titan’. The initiative soon triggered a sense of higher purpose among the various stakeholders. Rakshakaran had successfully transcended from being a brand identity to becoming an organisational ethos.
Tata AIA then elevated the promise of protection to another level by launching the Rakshakaran Hero campaign, as part of which, for each term plan bought, Tata AIA planted a sapling and provided a certificate along with geo-tags of the plant to the customer. The idea of participating in a larger purpose has found favour with the customer — over two lakh saplings have been planted to date, which will generate oxygen for over 30,000 people annually.
The results of the various initiatives have been encouraging. Aon recognised Tata AIA as the best employer in terms of employee engagement for the fourth time in a row in 2019. As a result of all these initiatives, the company moved from 17th position in FY’15 to the top five Indian private life insurance companies in FY’20. With a compound annual growth rate of 63% and an increase in market share of more than five times over these five years, its performance has been the best among the top five players.
Weathering the Covid-19 storm
March contributes to 25% of annual new business. Hence, when Covid-19 struck in March 2020, the impact was severe. The growth rate for FY’20, a healthy 39% till February, was dragged down to 21%. Tata AIA’s response to the pandemic’s brutality was robust. With the focus on the well-being of its employees, a work-from-home framework was built for employees and additional medical cover provided to the field agents. The Covid-19 death benefit — first in the industry, was also extended to consumers.
Tata AIA’s digital thrust has been in full force. All activities, including recruitment, selection, training, and sales, are being executed through online means. The employee engagement initiative has continued unabated, virtually. ‘Rakshakarta of the Team’ has been felicitating managers for taking steps to protect their team members from potential exposure to the novel coronavirus.
Covid-19 has dented most private life insurers except Tata AIA. The relentless pursuit of a higher purpose has catapulted Tata AIA to become the best performer among all insurers, in Q1 of FY’21. With 556 crore of individual sum assured, it stands the tallest with a 15% market share, with a year-on-year growth rate of 17%.
The company plans to accelerate its mission of ensuring customer well-being. It is tying up with healthcare platforms such as Medix and Practo to provide customers with access to world-class medical experts for diagnostic and treatment-related advice. It will also be launching an app called ‘Vitality’, to motivate consumers to improve their well-being and health through a framework of rewards, promotions and soft nudges.
Tata AIA’s shift in its organisational culture, built on the fulfilment of a higher purpose has enabled it to advance from a lagging position to one of strength, despite the current crisis brought on by the pandemic.