At the outset I thank Professor K.K KRISHNAN for providing me this opportunity to share my thoughts. Always will strive hard to be worthy of what you have taught us Sir.
Q1) How was your first day at the insurance company you work for?
1. The first day was the most frustrating and knowledge imparting day. After completing my joining formalities my Boss led me to a huge pile of risk inspection reports (some were 10 years old). I was instructed to archive them in electronic format. There was close to 5000 pages that were needed to be scanned and indexed. I was given an old HP digital scanner to complete my task. A scanner has a feeder and a flatbed channel for feeding. Unfortunately the feeder channel was not functioning properly (you can use the feeder channel to scan documents in one shot). I was forced to use the flatbed channel (scan documents one by one). Added to my misery, most of the risk inspection reports looked like ancient fossil. Thus I began my first day at office doing what most MBA graduates would not be doing – scanning. After battling competition from data entry operators who would interrupt me from using the scanner to frequent power cuts I achieved what I set out do
That faithful day exposed me to the harsh realities of how a regional/branch offices in the insurance industry function. I understood the teething infrastructure problems, resource crunch and process lacuna that make employee lives a little difficult.
On the brighter side now I can scan anything – even if they pile up to the height of Mount Everest.
Q2) How is studying insurance as a subject different from its practical application?
2. It is like reading from a book how an apple will taste and actually eating one to feel the taste. There is more to insurance than the four principles that define it. An insurance company is not like any other business. It’s an ecosystem with people at the heart of it be it the customer, the intermediary or the employee. You cannot feel this in the text book. You do not have any business in the world where you will know the cost of delivering the service only when the customer actually uses the product (I am still wet behind the ears. Join the industry and find out for yourself).
PS: Notwithstanding the above you still need to read the theory before practising.
Q3) Briefly describe your daily work regimen? What does your day start with and how does it end ?
3. I am a Risk Engineer for property and engineering related risks. I am entrusted with the primary responsibility of surveying industries and other commercial properties for risk related exposures to aid underwriting (depending on the type of insurance cover opted). So my regimen includes a lot of travelling. I get to survey all types of industries (from salt to steel), meet people and most importantly aid our customers to improve safety features.
If I am at the office my day starts with scouting for insurance related tenders on the web for new business acquisition followed by a round of cold calling to industries to again scout for new business. I also am entrusted with the secondary responsibility of training our marketing personnel on Property & Engineering related insurance products. Besides the above I read a lot about industrial safety and modern technologies and prepare presentations for our clients (not your average Insurance Business Management Trainee).
Q4) How did BIMTECH facilitate your learning? Your suggestions on how current students can utilize the time spent at BIMTECH ?
4. I wanted to become a Doctor, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, worked in a software firm, pursued an MBA in Insurance and finally landed where I am. Like the great Steve Jobs Sir said you can only connect the dots looking backwards. BIMTECH is the biggest link that landed me where I am today and I am very happy. I joined BIMTECH to be reborn and I guess I have been reborn as a professional.
I have just taken my baby steps into the industry. I guess I don’t have much to say to you. Only a year ago I was sitting and warming the same benches you guys are on now. I want to share only four things with you, just four things.
a. Always try to be fit and healthy. This is the age to be beautiful. So hit the gym, play a lot of outdoor sports and dine wisely.
b. This is the time you can acquire what Professor Krishnan calls “Life Skills”. Topic based oration, participating in quiz competition, joining the college band and what not. You need these skills to engage yourself into something constructive in the real life. Besides you never know. You might even make a career out of it (Read HARSHA BOGLE).
c. Make friends, a lot of them. An MBA degree provides you with a network that is unparalleled. The friendship you make here will definitely help you in the future (friends with benefits).
d. Enjoy life to the fullest as for most you this will be the last time you will experience college life.
If you still have time after doing A, B, C & D do open your text books and study (humble request).
Q5) How would you rate insurance as a career prospect? Any suggestions for prospective students ?
5. First and foremost it doesn’t matter which part of the insurance eco system you are in – take it from me it’s a happening industry. Even the great WARREN BUFFET built his empire by investing what is called the “FLOAT” from his reinsurance business.
The insurance industry is one of the few sectors which employ a diverse spectrum of professions (Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, CA’s, etc.). There is a huge resource crunch – especially with prior insurance knowledge. Within the BFSI space, insurance is the least preferred sector for MBA graduates from top management institutes (read IIM’s). Somebody has to fill the gap. We are the ones who are going to propel this sector to its zenith in India, adding sparkle and glamour for the future to join the band wagon.
It is very frustrating at times but what is life without its share of challenges. So meet you all someday when we bump into each other as a part of the insurance industry.
Thank You INMOS and all the very best for your future endeavours.