LIC Central Office building YOGAKSHEMA in Mumbai.
Come September First great thoughts of Insurance Industry
Comes to mind! Concept India had practiced heftily
From time immemorial-Joint family system
Symbolized great practice! life insurance!
Came the current practice years hundred and forty eight ago
With the British Insurance companies in Eighteen seventy!
More than two hundred and forty companies Indian and foreign
Offering life Insurance protection to the selected citizens!
Came Independence and great leaders with Nehruji at the helm
Deshmuk as Finance Minister thought of nationalization
Born the great Life Insurance Corporation this day first September
sixty two years ago in Nineteen Fifty Six! Happy birth day to you LIC!
The above is what I wrote on this day a year ago!
My esteemed viewers would have noticed that I always refer to LIC of India as my Alma mater! My Alma mater can be only Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar High School, Karaikudi or Alagappa College, Karaikudi where I had my school and collegiate education upto 1961!
Websters Dictionary would say “ALMA MATER” is the college or school which one has graduated.
But I do deem the great premier Public Sector Organization LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA which I served for more than FOUR DECADES as Alma mAter because it is here that I learnt the ART AND SCIENCE OF LIFE AND LIVING!
LIC was born on FIRST SEPTEMBER NINETEEN FIFTY SIX -as LIC taking into in its fold more than 240 PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES IN INDIA BIG and SMALL!
Joining LIC in 1961 in Thanjavur, gradually rose to the level of Deputy Zonal Manager on the date of retirement in March 2001- after having faced 12 transfers and served in Thanjavur, Coimbatore, Ooty, Madras, Madurai,Erode, Bikaner, Salem and Kadapa.
As I referred above LIC was my Alma Mater where I learnt the art and science of Life and Living- moving with and dealing with men and matters- happy policy holders, irate policy holders, intelligent agency force, good,bad and indifferent colleagues, prospects, union members and leaders of different hues- all taught me the art and science of life and living = -at the cost of repetition!
Even today after , 19 years of retirement, I pleasantly and happily recollect my vast experience in the life insurance industry.
Normally any employee will be availing the so called LPR-Leave Preparatory to Retirement- SIX months ,Sick Leave etc. usually. I always used to feel that this leave is not to be availed as a matter of routine unless one is really sick and needs it. So I went on with my routine till 28th February.
Came 28th February last working day to be in my career- yes it was only officially! In the farewell party, ZM told “Though Mr. Subbaraman is officially retiring today, I have made a request and he has also accepted that he will help me till the books are closed for the year. I expect all your continued cooperation to Mr. Subbaraman.”
After the party, an interesting dialogue with my ZM. Me: “Sir, you know well that I will be in the office at 9.00 am sharp every day and leave by 6.00pm. Now that no car allowances, no running expenses to be met by LIC, poor retired employee, I cannot afford to come by my car. At that part of the day buses will be heavily crowded and hence I will leave my home after 9.30 in the morning and come to the office by 11.00 am and similarly leave the office by 4.00pm and reach home by the time the buses get crowded.”
ZM: “Subbaraman! Do you think that I am that heartless? I will send the office car to pick you up and drop daily.”
My response (with a loud laughter): Sir, Subbaraman can afford to come in his own car for any number of days at his own expense. Don’t worry; I will be in the office as usual”.
Yes; I did like that all through the next 69 days; no salary, no allowances, no leave, no right or authority to pass a voucher for 10 paise, no right to initial a paper, no signature in any letter or note! Divisions were reporting to me as in the past 2 years and 10 months while in service. 31st March 2001 came. Cash- closing on 4th April, NB closing on 14th April, Claims closing and Accounts closing by the month end. Year was over and on 8th May the ZM called for a conference of Sr. /DMs in the Zonal Office Conference Hall, the then Chairman was also invited and that was the real last working Day for me and I was given a touching FAREWELL!
Sometime in the middle of April, I sought LEAVE for a couple of days to attend the Sr. DM’s daughter’s marriage in Coimbatore. The LEAVE was GRANTED with a request that I may hand over some papers of great importance to the Divisions- in — Charge of Vellore, Salem on my train route, Coimbatore and Thanjavur which I did meticulously!!!!!”
An unforgettable CLAIM SETTLEMENT
CLAIM CHEQUE WITHIN TWENTY FOUR HOURS OF DEATH!
One important event which I used to quote, wherever the opportunity arose in the Conferences at various levels, the meetings etc. goes like this. That always stands fresh in memory. One morning I was late in getting up as I felt a little tired; I could get up only at 5.00 AM. To some extent I thought of taking a day off. There was one Tamil news paper of high standard which normally carries a good number of obituary references. One important person of the town-wife of a well known industrialist- chartered President of Rotary Club- passed away on the previous day. As a person known well, notwithstanding my tiresomeness, I decided to go to their house, not very far away from mine, to condole the death. Funeral was planned for 3.00 pm in the day. Having seen the dead body, as is the custom I had my bath and having started the day, I thought of attending the office without any field visits. On the way to the office, it struck me that the deceased lady had a few life insurance policies with our Branch on which loan was availed not far back. I phoned up to a marketing official to trace the numbers. It was strongly working in my mind as to how the death claim can be settled on their return from the cremation ground. The numbers were traced, with the cooperation of the department concerned, necessary Intimation letter was prepared, Claim forms were prepared, and Discharge form was prepared including the cheque in favor of the nominee- the husband of the deceased!. After ascertaining the return of the family members after the rituals, I went along with the representatives of the Claims department, officers and the marketing wing to the policy holder’s house got the required forms filled up and letters signed and handed over the cheque- all within TWENTY FOUR HOURS from the time of death- an action that never was done in the corporation — I don’t think ever after that, a death claim was settled within 24 hours of death. That bigwig gentleman talked about the LIC’s settlement of the death claim so expeditiously to all those big people of Erode including the District Collector who came to condole the death! At the end of the day all the requirements for settlement of the claim were in the file except the Death Certificate from the competent authority which was also subsequently submitted within a week. People inimical to such activities in a derisive tone asked me whether I will settle all death claims so expeditiously; I told them “yes- sure” if it is exactly like the one that we had settled! But I did not come across any such case till my Branch experience came to an end!
In that very year there was another sensational tragic death of a local Doctor and the claim was settled in record time and both these two death claim settlements fetched an additional TWO CRORES of New business that year taking the Branch to the top in the Division!
Yet another Death claim related experience! At the instance of the Divisional office, I wanted to get the requirements for settlement of a death claim in respect of an Erode resident on behalf of another Branch. After having helped in complying with all the requirements and receiving the same, when I was about to leave the house, the claimant came behind me as if to see me off and in a hushed voice he asked me how much he has to pay me for the extra services rendered! I was indeed angry at his request; but posed as if I was so furious that I threw all the papers in his face, asked him to take care of the case himself and shouted at him that LIC is not such an organization and its officers will never succumb to such demeaning offers. Shocked client apologized profusely and I took all the papers from him and left!
JEEVAN JYOTI YATRA
Organized in Bikaner Division!
Never in the history of the Corporation till then was a publicity campaign organized; when I suggested a novel program with the caption “JEEVAN JYOTI YATRA” to cover 42 centers in the Division- where we had Headquarters of our 42 Development Officers over a period of 21 days in the Divisional Management Committee Meeting, it was received with skepticism. But as I was a little persistent, we called the representatives of all the classes of employees and some leading agents, the idea was well received very enthusiastically and in the course of a fortnight decisions were taken, planning was done, all infrastructure were devised for the success of the yathra. Issue of the ‘on the spot policy’ and ‘claim cheque presentation’ in each of the centers was a part of the yathra program.
Though immediate procuration of new business was not the objective, the Division could get more than a crore of new business during the yathra. Talk of the Divisional area was LIC’s innovative Publicity programme! It provoked the society to the extent of two of the news papers writing editorials- one criticizing the LIC and the other greatly appreciating the novel campaign!
STINT IN KADAPA- A GOLDEN PERIOD
I took charge and made certain changes in some of the then existing practices which was endearing to all.
I started well and the year 1995–96 saw the KADAPA Division occupying NUMBER I position at the all India level in one count, NUMBER III in another count and NUMBER VII in a third count! In the first BMs’ conference of the year, the reasons for the success were analyzed and some ran thus: (1) I never asked the BMs for New Business! (2) Full freedom was given to the HOBs to move about and take care of marketing activities without prejudice to the administrative responsibilities. (3) For the first time Division in its history had a TELUGU speaking Senior Divisional Manager!!!!!!!! (4) All out support was flowing from the Divisional office to the Branches. (5) Cooperation and support from all sections of the employees.
One important episode remains green. In the Induction Programme for Sr. Divisional Managers at Management Development Center, Mumbai one of the visiting Faculty members made a complaint about the servicing in the LIC- normally it is done probably to provoke the participants! Immediately after the Session is over the Faculty will spend some time with the Principal in his cabin. I followed them and requested the honorable visiting Faculty his grievance, telling him all out efforts will be made to redress the same. He told that he is not having the details readily and it pertained to the non receipt of the policy document from Calcutta. He promised to give the details once he gets back to his office. Accordingly in an hour’s time the details were passed on to me. I took up the matter with my counterpart in Kolkatta and could get the problem solved in a fortnight! Mistake was partly on the policy holder- not keeping the office his change of address and partly with the LIC.
Normally after every training Session/workshop I attended, I used to give a feed back to the concerned under copy to my higher offices and the then RM (P&IR), Hyderabad acknowledged and appreciated the service rendered.
A few things remain green in mind after seventeen years of my leaving the Division- in 1998.
One was the honor that I got at the hands of the Zone- in- charge as the “EMPLOYEES’ SENIOR DIVISIONAL MANAGER” in a Conference of SDMs. Yes; this was my response: “If the ZM chose to honor me like this on the basis of the fact, that I diverted the budget that was allotted for Painting the DO premises, to painting the Staff Quarters in Kadapa, I will gladly accept the honor! Painting is done not for the sake of employees; but to strengthen the buildings that remained unpainted for quite a few years whereas the DO building had it recently and kept in a good state of repairs and look”.
Another episode that stands green in my mind is this: One of our Branch Managers attended a session in the National Insurance Academy, Pune. One of the important sessions was on “ROLE MODEL”. When the participants were asked to give a note on the Role Model according to the individual and whether he/she has come across one and if so the details. It would appear that he expressed that his Senior Divisional Manager was his role model and justified in the discussions his statement. Don’t be shocked; I was that SDM!?!?!? I know for sure that I can’t be, yet………………………..! This I came to know when I went to NIA for some Session and the Director told me and other participants about this and asked me the secret of my success. I simply told that the Manager had so much of love and affection, respect and regard which I may not deserve. What else it is?
As usual, Insurance Week –week of EIGHT days was celebrated all the three years when I was there with the cooperation of all sections. “RUN FOR LIFE INSURANCE” was a special feature with the volunteers donning special Tshirt, procured from Tiruppur, Tamilnadu for the occasion.
Campus- a big campus with DO building, Staff quarters, Community Hall, Guest House and SDM’s quarters with a well found Residents’ Association having a lot of activities-observing Ugadhi, Vinayaka Chathurthi, Christmas, New Year Day and so on with all sincerity and solemnity.
All LIC sports activities were carried out with genuine concern and interest.
I vividly have in mind the case of the termination order issued for a sub-staff member in one of the Branches. Convinced that it was too severe a punishment for the offence committed, the matter was taken up with higher authorities and the order was rescinded. Probably this was also a cause for my honor of being called ‘Employees’ SDM’!!!
‘Kavi sammelan’ organized was well received as an incentive to the high producers among the marketing team.
Perfect liaison and rapport with the public, with district administration, other organizations all added to the glory and popularity of LIC and those connected with the great Institution.
Three year stint was drawing nearer and I was to retire in 2009 February as per the retirement age 58. Unusually, for the first time in my career, I was asked to choose Hyderabad or Chennai for my final transfer. For obvious reasons, I chose Chennai and joined the Southern Zonal Office, Chennai.
In spite of several private life insurance companies having come into being and operating in full throttle,consequent on denationalization, GIGANTIC L I C maintains its greatness and top position both in sales and service. Retired or serving, all connected are legitimately proud of the tremendous progress LIC is making year after year!
This Blog I started with my first post titled “MY TRYST WITH LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA” one thousand six hundred and seventy days ago!The Blog today has a total views of nearly 2,10,000 from more than 210 countries. I am proud LIC – my Alma Mater- is taking care of me even at this age of 78 plus!
Let me close this Sunday story with this and we shall continue tomorrow as usual. Till then and later all our lives may God be with us! Thanks.
LIC Building on Mount Road, Chennai-Southern Zonal Office
Blogger N V Subbaraman addressing Rotary Club Members in 1986 at Erode!
Aao pyare saath hamare
Janseva hith sanj sahare!
Samyak sanchay aur nivesan
Jan man kaa hi hith samvardhan
Nigam neeti kaa uchcha lakshya hai
Vyakti aur parivaar thaan!
Lok hithaishi seva dhiksha
Jan man prerith sathath suraksha
“Yogakshema” hi paramadhyeya hai
Nigam hamara priya samsthaan!
Uto nigam ke sachche sevak
Abhikarta jan aur prabandhak
Bula rahe hai, kaarya lokahith
Thum par nirbhar jan kalyaN.!
Aao pyare saath hamare
Janseva hith sanj sahare!