HDFC Life likely to launch blockbuster products in Q3 & Q4: Vibha Padalkar, MD & CEO
HDFC Life will continue to be a market leader and maintain its leadership position in terms of top-line growth, profitability and on the front of innovation in the future, says Vibha Padalkar, Managing director and CEO, HDFC Life, in an interview with Zee Business.
HDFC Life will continue to be a market leader and maintain its leadership position in terms of top-line growth, profitability and on the front of innovation in the future, says Vibha Padalkar, Managing Director and CEO, HDFC Life. In an interview with Swati Khandelwal, Zee Business, Padalkar said, "HDFC Life will launch few blockbuster products in the next two quarters of the fiscal year". Edited Excerpts:
Q: Despite the overall sluggishness in the economy, the life insurance companies have continued to report strong growth. What according to you is holding this growth and how are you dealing with the ongoing slowdown?
A: We have seen a trend which different businesses, life insurance and whatsoever is going in the market including uncertainties, reacts differently. It is happening, maybe, because the products being sold by us are just not investment products. And, average Indians are aware of the fact that there is a need for protection especially when times are difficult. That's why they are getting lesser confused about either the product is for investing purpose or protection or retirement purpose. People are more receptive to buy these products especially when times are hard.
Q: Your company has reported very strong growth in VNB margins in the first quarter. What is your outlook on the margins?
A: HDFC Life will continue to be a market leader and maintain our leadership position in terms of top-line growth, profitability and on the front of innovation (product and technology innovations) and that's what is important. When we come up with new products that the average Indians haven't seen - in the space of health, protection, retirement and interest rate guaranteed savings - have been well received. Thus, we will continue with our leadership position as HDFC Life is known in the space. And, in the rest of the two quarters, we will come out with more products that will be blockbuster.
Q: You have maintained that you are open to inorganic growth opportunities. Do you see opportunities/value to increase your portfolio in an inorganic manner?
A: Yes, we are very keen to look at inorganic opportunities and we have currency as our stock has done well. Thus, this is the right time to look out but we are careful as to what kind of deal will be made as we don't want to inherit someone else's problems or inefficiency. If the company is good and their embedded value quality is good as well as have a bank assurance tie-up then we are happy to look at it.
Q: As a women leader will you like to talk about certain steps that your company has taken and works around women diversity, equality and pay parity among others?
A: A lot of things, in fact, we would like to believe that we have made a lot of progress in the financial services space in ensuring that middle-management women, which is the highest drop-out rate, don't drop out. I will give you a few examples include after delivery we allow women to take on half-pay to work from home and have flexible hours and we have the confidence that women will not misuse this opportunities to make sure that she remains employed and come back after their kid is a year old or more into full-time employment. We do have an in-house crash and provide drops to the nearest railway station. We do have aspects where we can give them differentiated help under which we have a support network in the company that helps her - at a time when she is a crossroads about how to handle everything - to see through that. In sales, we are beginning to target women in the sales as we have noted that in that case persistence is the highest, misselling complaints and attrition are lowest. Thus, women do very well at every parameter of health indicators of a business. Thus, we have a special focus on the recruitment of women, nurture and retain them.
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Q: Name the power in women that inspires you and you adorn it while playing the role of a women leader?
A: I look at various aspects of different women. Something that is very important is being fearless, which go back to Maa Durga, who is known to be as fearless, and that is the biggest attribute to be a woman.
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