By Sipra Jana
I joined Apeejay Insurance Broking Services Private Limited as a Trainee in the year 2010. Apeejay Insurance Broking Services incorporated in 2004 are experts in Underwriting – including commerciality, coverage and responsiveness; Policy Administration – including timeliness, accuracy and policy wordings; Claims – including attitude, settlement and technical support; General Service – Insurance portfolio analysis, risk assessment and post placement services. Know more about the business.
My first assignment I can equate with running a marathon. I was a novice and was asked to manage the renewal of Mediclaim Insurance of Apeejay Surrendra Group. The challenge was to ensure smooth claim services for the employees with a complete new team in the system. During my initial few days I was immediately given a responsibility where making an error was not an option. Thanks to all the team members we pulled the job with superlative efficiently, which is the first lesson I learnt in this service industry. When you first set out to do something, you have that real enthusiasm and ambition which helps you focus and get things done. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication I only had the knowledge about the power of communication but never realised in service industry it plays a vital role my learning on the first task at hand.
Here are some of my paintings:
From Trainee to Principal Officer my journey in these 10 years has been full of interesting challenges that have pushed me to widen my horizons and constantly learn new things. My key responsibility areas includes performing the duties and responsibilities as specified by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) including managing all regulatory requirements, front ending the crucial and priority cases on behalf of the company, solve legal issues as per the case requirement. In Insurance sector ‘Turn Around Time’ is extremely crucial, after few months of my joining I realized addressing this issue will solve most of our problems so I worked with IT team to automate the workﬂows to decrease the turnaround time and gain a competitive edge.
I would be lying if I say it was all sunshine and roses. The roller coaster of life kicks in and the inevitable downs, frustrations and obstacles are an inseparable part. It’s at that point that it’s useful to look at the goals we had set individually and remind ourselves about what we are aimed to achieve in the long term. It helps to find the drive to work through the difficult patches. This zeal becomes a pattern in your system and eventually your goal, I would describe it in the words of Paulo Coelho “When you want something; all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Insurance is a sector that demands availability of the service at any moment. Insurance is tricky. It’s not like buying a chair or groceries. When you buy insurance, you’re buying a promise. It’s a promise that if something catastrophic happens to you, your business, your carrier, we are going to assist you and will be by your side. Hence I have been trained since I took up the job that ‘Availability’ is key to survive in the industry. For this I want to thank my boss Mr. Debangshu Mukerjee, CEO and Director of Apeejay Insurance Broking Services Private Limited.
After working for a decade in the sector I never stopped learning every day, working hard, and soaking up everything around me. My mantra had always been not to waste time, never give up, and make every day extraordinary. Hence I always ensure that I communicate, be available and respond to the clients and employees in emergency even if I am on leave and after working hours.
The year 2020 was tough for the insurance industry but it also helped it reinvent itself like never before. The industry brought in many customer-facing features, which would have normally taken years to become functional. One of the most promising policy changes that were brought in by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) was standardization of insurance products. This enabled insurers to launch products with uniform features, which makes policies simple to understand and affordable for mass people. The regulator this year introduced standard essential insurance products such as Arogya Sanjeevani (health), policies for covid-19 (Corona Rakshak and Corona Kavach), Saral Jeevan Bima (term plan). Second was digitization – which was one of the pillars on which the industry was able to engage with its key stakeholders. The Covid-19 pandemic was also a wake-up call for the insurance industry. The year taught insurers to leverage technology and how simple products can become game-changers.
2020 taught all of us that work can be done from home. During the lockdown we managed to work smoothly, yes adoption of digitization across sector was new but at Apeejay Insurance Broking Services, we had a system in place to manage all the insurance and medical claim related issues. Besides this, all the team members were on standby for any emergency calls. We had meetings, calls and case to case discussions on a regular basis. Infact I realized that WFH needs a serious discipline, else it becomes complicated.
We planned every day for the next day’s work so in case of emergency we are ready with solutions. It was literally an unprecedented time where we did not know what was coming next. I was handling all the immediate cases and ensured that I am available to my clients and employees.
As Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said “Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this advantage that they force us to think.” In 2020 Apeejay Insurance Broking Services expanded Retail offerings. Designing, planning and identifying the best possible health & other insurance policies for Retail customers. Dedicated separate team that looks after existing clients in providing focused claim support, on-going risk profiling and reviewing existing policies for its relevance of time. Committed to delivering comprehensive and non-conventional alternatives to customer requirements. Now I have additional responsibilities including managing administrative work of our new retail format, recruitments, training and orienting operation team and provide support service to the marketing team. I am grateful to Chief Operating Officer for keeping faith and showing confidence on my ability to take new charges and challenges.
“Man is by nature a social animal”, wrote the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. What he meant is that social interaction is an inalienable part of life. Constantly surrounded by people making demands on your time it is vital to take out ‘Me’ time. When I am not working I am busy in shaping my thoughts by painting in blank canvas. Painting was always a passion that I returned to, whenever I needed to express or calm down myself emotionally. It is a meditation to me as well. I am an ardent reader and my favourite genre is thriller and crime, presently I am reading Avenger by Frederick Forsyth.
Sipra Jana is Principal Officer, Apeejay Insurance Broking Services Private Limited