Pravin Dabhi joined some of the world’s most successful life insurance agents at the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) for the seventh time in a row in July this year.
Dabhi started working as an LIC agent in 2014.
Interestingly, he operates only in a 2-km radius in Central Mumbai, which includes Mumbai Central, Khetwari and Lamington Road.
His office is in the Fort area of the country’s financial hub, where he works with his staff.
Dabhi’s client list currently includes 700 families and 550 policyholders. “I started working for LIC as an agent in 2014. And I have been achieving MDRT since the year 2015 itself. I have already crossed the landmark of Zonal Club Member (ZM) and my next goal is to achieve COT (Court of the Table) by next year or so,” said Dabhi.
For an agent to get ZM status, he must have covered a minimum of 30 lives.
An LIC agent who earns Rs25,35,900 as first-year commission in any calendar year qualifies as a COT agent.
Earlier, Dabhi used to sell Mediclaim policies being offered by general insurers. “I realised that often people would enquire about LIC policy. That sparked my interest and my quest to become an LIC agent began.”
It was LIC’s Development Officer Anamika Prasad who explained to him the benefits of becoming an LIC agent. “Equally importantly, she also encouraged me to become an MDRT,” says Dabhi.
After receiving the licence in July, 2014, he earned Rs5 lakh as commission by selling 70 policies in the very first year.
Dabhi received training on new policy-selling concepts from LIC’s development officer and never attended any outside training programmes.
Dabhi has always been focused on service and not on his own commission. “Even now, whenever I meet my customers, I never request them to buy life insurance policy. I only ask them if my services are needed by them. It results in customers coming to me for purchase of policies,” he says. Dabhi ’s policy lapsation ratio stands at 0.50 percent, which literally means that all the
policyholders have been paying the premium on time.
“Even during lockdown, my policyholders continued to pay for renewal of policies regularly,” he claims.
This year, Dabhi realised that he was falling short of Rs 5 lakh commission which was possible only when he would sell policies worth Rs 15 lakh. He shared a message in a WhatsApp group, requesting his friends to help him bridge the gap so that he could reach MDRT this year too. And it clicked as people purchased policies.
As of now, his annual income through commissions is Rs 30 lakh and he now aims to make it Rs 1 crore within the next few years.
He also said that after recent deaths in certain families of his policyholders, the demand for health insurance policies had shot up like never before. “Though normally people prefer to have health insurance policies being offered by non-life insurers, I try to convince to buy term policies being offered by LIC and benefit policies too as I tell them that they must leave something for their kin in the unfortunate case of death.”
For Dabhi , LIC agent’s job was full of challenges in the to begin with. “When I started as an LIC agent, I lacked communication skills. I didn’t know how and about what to talk to a customer. Moreover, I didn’t know how to reply to the queries being raised by a customer. But now I have come over these lacunae by constantly learning and meeting new people.”
He also adds that while mutual fund products give comparatively higher returns as compared to life insurance products due to mortality charges, LIC has an edge over other financial products. This is because it provides a risk cover, which is missing in all other
Secondly, he claims that there is a smooth claim settlement at LIC unlike other financial products. Even in cases where there are problems with signature etc, agents can act as a witness for the same. “LIC policies are like family gold which will help you whenever you need money,” Dabhi insists.
Dabhi doesn’t give out-of-pocket sops to policyholders unlike many other agents. “I don’t believe in that practice.” He explains to his policyholders that he does not come to collect commissions at the time of claim settlements.
He maintains that the most important aspect of being a successful agent is the trust that policyholders place in him. “They are ready to give me blank cheque for the purchase of policies. It is this trust that I value the most,” he adds.
(Kumud Das is a Pune-based teacher and freelance journalist, who writes on insurance, banking and human interest stories)