Skip to main content

Max Vijay

About the Project
Project Name: 
Reducing costs by leveraging technology and educating the customers, to bring life insurance benefits to the low-income people
Type of Facility Project: 
Innovation Grant
País de operaciones: 
Asia and the Pacific
Project Thematic Focus: 
Product design
Type of Risk Carrier: 
regulated insurance company
Type of Distribution Channel: 
Microfinance institution
Non-governmental organization
Project Description: 

The model is based on extensive and widespread distribution of a simple, tangible savings and insurance product through established channels (e.g., non-conventional insurance channels like retail channel, NGOs, MFIs etc.) and leveraging IT, including handheld terminals, mobile phone and internet portals, to manage payments that are likely to be low and irregular. Another important variable to the success of the concept is the consumer literacy and financial awareness amongst the customers.

The product has been designed such that it will not lapse during the tenure of 10 years, even if the customer does not pay in any subsequent premium after purchasing the policy (i.e., it will always have a positive account value based on the premium allocated to account and interest credited, net of charges). It was piloted and launched in the retail channel in July 2008.

The Facility grant will support purchase of low cost, wireless, printer integrated hand-held terminals (HHT) that can be used to collect small amounts at the customer's doorstep. The grant will also be used to develop and install the new technology modes using mobile phones and Internet portals at the points of sale.

In addition, the grant will be used to communicate benefits of life insurance and long-term savings to small savers.

An underlying assumption of the project is that the more ubiquitous these terminals are, the easier the access, leading to a higher motivation and willingness to leverage 'small change' to build capital for long-term saving.

Consortium Members: 


Max Vijay targets approximately 100 million urban and rural low-income households, with an average total income between Rs 4000/- ($88.89) and Rs 8000/-($177.78) per month. Despite irregular incomes, Max Vijay's target market has the potential to save part of their earnings, but do not have access to a convenient and easy method of saving small amounts.

Lessons from the Project
Learning Agenda: 
  • Can technology (such as hand-held terminals, mobile phones and Internet portals) significantly improve affordability, responsiveness and transparency for the low-income policyholders?
  • How can the insurer set up an effective delivery of customer service by intermediaries by using HHT, Internet portals and mobile phones?
  • Regarding consumer education:
    • Does increasing financial literacy result in increasing take-up rates?
    • Which scripts work better to make the customers financially literate?
    • What are the most efficient delivery modes for financial literacy amongst the target group?
  • Impact on renewal behaviour of customers, basis different levels of financial literacy efforts and renewal outlet availability in close vicinity.
  • Whether the initial premium is realistic and in line with the real paying capacity of the target group?
Emerging Lessons: 
  • The product will provide value to clients and will be viable for Max New York Life only if regular savings behaviors are sustained.
  • Upfront premium mechanism makes it hard for people to decide to buy the product.
  • One way to make microinsurance premium payments as flexible as possible is to link insurance to credit. However, linking insurance to credit has some drawbacks.
  • Building an aspirational brand with well-known celebrities to raise awareness can be effective, especially when mass products are in question.
  • Finding a hook to start communicating with the target audience is key.
  • It is possible to focus on just 3-4 items when explaining key functionalities of the product.
  • A key trend observed for mass products is to move from print heavy campaigns to initiatives with greater focus on outdoor activities such as meeting existing and potential clients, contests and quizzes, point of sale visibility and sales aid.
  • Ongoing marketing for at least the next two years would be needed to sustain regular savings behaviours.
  • With advancements in mobile telecommunications, call centres can play a major role in education and servicing the clients.
  • Ongoing training and marketing costs as well as commission structure and high density requirements put the viability of selling insurance through unorganized retail at risk.
  • Top-up infrastructure should be present from day one.
  • Government intervention might be needed, both in terms of distribution infrastructure and subsidies to seed the market.
  • Contrary to earlier belief, hand-held devices were not accepted by the market.
  • More realistic assumptions and a longer time horizon are needed when planning investments in microinsurance.

Date of final Learning Journey update: February 2012

About the Organization
Tipo de vínculo con el Fondo: 
Innovation grantee
Country of Head Office: 
Region : 
Asia and the Pacific
Type of institution : 
Insurance industry
Participation in Microinsurance: 
Risk carrier
Organizational Overview: 

Max New York Life Insurance Company Ltd. (MNYL) is a joint venture between New York Life International and Max India Limited. Max New York Life started commercial operations in India in 2001. The company used a multi-channel distribution strategy. Agency distribution is the primary channel in India. The other additional distribution channels include the rural business, employed sales force involving alliance marketing, bancassurance and partnership distribution.

MNYL has developed "Max Vijay", a business model designed to serve 100 million low-income Indian households by improving access to benefits of life insurance and minimizing transaction costs. Max Vijay was awarded the "Golden Peacock Innovation Award 2008" for its unique product, distribution and service strategy.

Microinsurance activities : 

More about the Organization
Related materials :