Emerging Project Lessons
A pre-requisite to building a partnership with a delivery channel is the channel’s awareness of two things: benefits of microinsurance for their constituents and the benefits of the partnership for the channel. ICICI Prudential created this awareness among labor unions, opinion leaders and tea estate management by highlighting the advantages of ICICI Prudential’s insurance services includingdoorstep hassle-free institutional saving option with protection, customized liquidity to serve life cycle needs and premium in line with cash flow of the policy holders, skills enhancement and employment generation, and commissions for the channel.
In terms of formalizing the partnership, the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) can take a substantial amount of time. It is important to build in sufficient time to allow for revisions in the proposed MoU document as per legal and compliance requirements.
In terms of the operational implications, several process adjustments had to be implemented by ICICI Prudential to increase relevance for the partner and target customers. Among these were: 1) the readjustment of the premium payment process from a monthly deduction from wages to a weekly deduction given that wages were paid on a weekly basis (credit of payment was still on a monthly basis); 2) in case of absenteeism resulting in the non-payment of a wage tea workers suggested deducting the premium from the wage of the spouse or children with due authorization from the policy holder; 3) in case of a death claim, policy proceeds were given to the beneficiary through the tea estate as many policyholders did not have bank accounts.
Implementing a wage deduction system for premium payment became an administrative concern. A lot of deductions (for electricity, house rent etc.) were already happening in the plantation. There was a requirement of system enhancement and customisation. System changes were completed with inputs from the tea plantation management and consultation with the IT team of ICICI Prudential.
The project would have garnered larger support and acceptance across tea companies if it had been bundled with other development initiatives that the tea company was pursuing. As a result of the additional focus groups held with the tea plantation workers and dialogue with tea estate management, ICICI Prudential has realized that the integration of insurance services can be more effectively achieved if the stakeholders come together and have more dialogue, engagement and institutional rapport building at the outset and on a continuing basis. ICICI Prudential is now incorporating its financial education activities into community dialogues to gain and retain interest of the target group.
Date of last Learning Journey update: September 2011