Private life insurers created hired 29,500 insurance agent jobs in the first half of FY19
Life insurers have added 36,311 individual agents in the first half of FY19, as the peak season begins from November when customers seeking special offers start buying tax-saving insurance products.
Among the new additions, 6,779 agents were added by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), and the rest (29,532) were added by private life insurers.
Last year, life insurers added 10,623 agents in the same period.
At the end of Q2, the life insurance industry had 2.12 million agents, compared to 2.08 million at the beginning of FY19. Here, LIC accounted for 1.15 million agents while private life insurers had 963,389 agents.
This is significant considering the life insurance industry has been facing a high rate of attrition among agents, due to low remuneration and limited prospects as a career option.
The industry, as well as the regulator, is introducing steps like career-development opportunities, lowering the pass percentage as well as training to improve their sales skills.
For the license renewal, agents have to give a test. The IRDAI has reduced pass marks to qualify, from 50 to 35.
LIC is the largest employer of insurance agents. Almost 90 percent of its sales are made through these insurance agents.
While life insurance may not be the most popular gifting option, children below the age of 15 years are also offered insurance as a gift by grandparents during festivals like Diwali.
Data sourced from the Life Insurance Council showed ICICI Prudential Life Insurance had the highest number of agents in the private sector with 161,735 agents at the end of the September quarter.
SBI Life Insurance came second with 113,045 agents at the end of Q2, while Kotak Life was third with 105,834 agents.
Agents are the largest distributors of insurance products in the country. They account for 60 percent of the products sold in the market. Unlike company employees who are paid a monthly salary, agents earn commissions on every product sold. Hence, the more products they sell, the higher the remuneration they earn.Usually, an insurance agent is paid 30-40 percent of the first year premium as a commission. This reduces with every passing year of the premium payment term.