Insurance companies are hoping that recruitment of agents will become easier with exams now being held on a remote basis although there remain concerns about how accessible it will be for candidates.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India earlier this month decided to allow IC-38 examination for individual agents to be conducted from remote locations through remote proctor model proposed by NSEIT.
However, this model has been allowed on a pilot basis for an initial time of thirty days in four cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram.
“Post completion of thirty days of remote proctor model in the above mentioned four cities, the Authority shall evaluate the POC and communicate further instructions to insurance companies,” IRDAI said in a letter to the CEOs of all insurance companies.
The move is expected to help insurance companies appoint agents as many have been looking to recruit agents though the process has been disturbed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“IRDAI has rolled out proctored exam which can be done on any device. Candidates can sit at home and take tests. This will help in the agency business,” noted Tarun Chugh, Managing Director and CEO, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance.
“The new model will allow candidates to sit at home and take the exam. A webcam and microphone are required along with a computer device of a certain specification. This is a multiple choice question-based exam. If the pilot gets approval to be run on a full-scale basis, it will help insurance companies to on-board agents, which has been impacted due to the pandemic,” noted another executive with an insurance company.
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LIC recruitment numbers
Some life insurers have reported a decline in the number of individual agents with them between April and October this year.
However, the country’s largest insurer Life Insurance Corporation of India said its recruitment numbers are good and it has been appointing agents.
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“Initially there was some issue due to the pandemic to do the exams in the manner in which we wanted. It has picked up now,” said an LIC official.
As on October 31, 2020, LIC had 12.97 lakh agents with 1.65 lakh agents added up to October 2020, according to data with Life Insurance Council.
For the life insurance industry as a whole, 2.77 lakh agents were added between April and October this fiscal as against 3.59 lakh agents in the same period last fiscal.
However, insurers point out that many candidates may not have the required infrastructure for sitting for such an examination and so the efficacy of the whole model is still to be seen. It will also have to be seen how well the exams are supervised online, they noted.