Saturday, April 02, 2005
The American College announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the International Academy of Insurance and Financial Management Private Limited (IAIFM) in New Delhi, India. IAIFM will serve as The Colleges sponsor in India and provide The Colleges continuum of educational programs for professionals in the countrys life insurance industry.
With a population estimated at over a billion people, India represents an enormous insurance market and educational opportunity for our institution, said Larry Barton, PhD., President and Chief Executive Officer of The American College. We look forward to working together with the IAIFM in India and helping to bring financial education to professionals worldwide.
As The American Colleges local affiliate in India, IAIFM is licensed to adapt and conduct the same programs that The American College makes available to financial services and insurance professionals both in the U.S. and internationally. IAIFM has, however, customized specific courses in order to make them context sensitive for India.
IAIFM Focus on Professional Excellence:
Commenting on the affiliation between The American College and IAIFM, Rakesh Bhan, IAIFMs Managing Director, noted that the, mission of IAIFM is to provide the highest quality training for Indias life insurance industry in response to the countrys critical professional development needs. Through The American Colleges continuum of educational programs, IAIFM is committed to elevating the level of professionalism in the industry in India. We seek to achieve this objective by enhancing technical competence, and increasing the awareness of sound business ethics. This ultimately contributes to the financial security of individuals and families and to increased sales performance by individual agents and the insurance companies they represent.
Mr. Bhan added that IAIFM is an institution which provides an educational experience of real lasting value, so that a professional designation, jointly conferred by IAIFM and The American College, will always be a credential that stands out, opens doors and defines professional leadership and the standard of excellence in the life insurance industry in India.
Significance of the Life Insurance Industry in India:
The life insurance industry in India is rapidly evolving and growing. It recorded the second highest growth in Asia in 2000-01, posting an inflation-adjusted growth rate of 21.3% – more than double the worlds growth rate of 9%. The total insurance market in India is currently valued at US $13 billion with the life insurance sector accounting for more than 81% of the market. The approximately US $10.5 billion Indian life insurance market is expected to grow at 17-22% between 2002-07.
The life insurance industry in India has become fiercely competitive with the entry of several new private companies, including major multinational insurers, after the deregulation of the sector. It has opened up a range of untapped opportunities for new entrants into the industry, as the potential market for buyers is high since the emerging market in India has a low insurance penetration and high growth rates.
Gross premium collection, however, is only two percent of the GDP while nearly 80 percent of the Indian population is without life insurance coverage. In countries such as South Africa and the U.K., life insurance premiums account for over 50 percent of Gross Domestic Savings (GDS) while they account for over 25 percent of GDS in the U.S., Japan and France.
India has traditionally been a high savings oriented country with an enormous middle class that can afford to buy life; health and disability insurance as well as pension plan products. The middle-income segment of the population is estimated at 312 million. The Life Insurance Corporation of India services less than 100 million policies. Only 65 million Indians have been introduced to insurance, which reflects a penetration of just 6 percent.
According to some estimates, it is expected that in three years, 10 percent of the population in India will be covered by some form of insurance, a significant increase from the current coverage level of 6 percent.
Need for Trained Life Insurance Professionals:
One of the biggest problems that the industry is contending with in India is the lack of adequate knowledge of the business by its agents and staff and the lack of high-quality training opportunities in this field. Historically, selling life insurance used to be more of a supplemental source of income rather than a full-time profession.
This led to a perception that selling insurance did not require much education beyond certain sales abilities among ones personal network. As times have changed, it has become imperative that the industry produces a large number of highly competent and well-trained professionals. Potential clients interested in investing in insurance have become more market savvy and demand a higher level of efficiency, competence and professionalism from industry professionals.
In addition, training helps address the high rate of attrition among agents in the Indian insurance industry. Companies see training as a key retention incentive because it helps raise the prospects of the individual agents earnings capacity. Increased retention also reduces the considerable time and resources required to orient and train new agents improving company profitability.
State-of-the-Art Continuum of Education:
IAIFMs training program provides an opportunity to integrate sales training techniques and methodology with technical educational content creating a lifelong continuum of professional development that serves professionals throughout their careers in the life insurance industry. IAIFM offers The American Colleges adapted certification programs and numerous continuing education courses and seminars for individuals seeking career growth in life insurance and financial services. The programs that will be offered by IAIFM in affiliation with The American College include the LUTC Fellow (LUTCF), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designations.
The American College is the nations leading educator of professionals in the insurance and financial services industry. Located on a 35-acre campus in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the College serves over 35,000 students predominantly on a distance education basis. The American College offers an array of specialized designation programs, a Master of Science degree in financial services and customized continuing education programs for those pursuing a career in financial services. For more information, visit www.amercoll.edu.