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Personality Speak - Child Insurance
Among service industries, insurance perhaps, tops the list. For, the service that needs to be provided to clients/customers is always an on-going exercise, in the sense that year after year, the clients' premium would have to be collected and paid up in time. In addition, the agents providing this service would be adding more and more fresh clients every year. Besides, there would be the work of settlement of maturity claims. Thus, ideally, the insurance agents' hands are always full fully occupied and busy in hunting for new clients and providing quality service to the existing ones.

It is usually difficult to come across an agent providing all these plus "something more" with an ever-beaming smile on his face. The "something more" could be the reader's guess, ranging from reminders (by way of phone and letter), birthday / marriage anniversary greetings to providing the clients valuable and timely help by way of advice to create funds for paying up the premium! One has to ideally meet such an agent, providing a basket of such services, to get fully convinced. Associate Editor, V. Raghuraman, recently had an opportunity of getting acquainted with one

Shri. Zarsis D. Udhnawala
Chairman, Udhnawala Insurance Consultants
such agent, Shri. Zarsis D. Udhnawala at his place in Thane. A man of conviction, who believes in the spirit of insurance, Zarsis as he is affectionately known, has proved that the role of an agent is much more than merely advising clients and meeting their requests. He goes a step further, taking a pro-active approach in understanding his client's needs, motivating and providing customized solutions to them, based on their specific requirements.

Being in the field of life insurance for the last 25 years, Shri. Udhnawala has excelled in every area of insurance, be it marketing, business development or after sales service. Starting his life at the age of 18, he has come a long way in his career ladder. He has been eight times member of Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) of USA and twice that of Top of the Table (TOT). Chairman of Udhnawala Insurance Consultancy, he is currently president of Life Insurance Round TaBle India 2008. Interestingly, MDRT membership is conferred on insurance agents who achieve the target fixed by the international body of insurers, always a stiff one and revised year after year. Of the over 35000 MDRT members from 79 countries in the world, India has 1999 members. And for their annual conventions held abroad, he has attended as many as five times. In addition, he is the first agent from Thane Division of LIC (Branch 91-J) to qualify for MDRT 2005 Table in the very first month of the year. He has also risen to the rank of being a member of the prestigious and exclusive Chairman's Club.

To the query as to how he could successfully rise to this eminent position within a span of less than four decades, Shri Udhnawala has attributed this to his quality of building what is known as "relationship agency". He has, for instance, among his nearly 2500 strong, satisfied clientele spread all over the world, clients who have continued with him for generations. In fact, he was narrating the case of a client who had taken previously a couple of policies through another agency but preferred to take fresh policies through him mainly with a view of availing of his "services plus something more". He has to his credit as many as 3700, including some multi crore ones policies and the total sum assured is Rs. 35 crores. The most interesting part is that none of his clients have defaulted even once in paying up the premiums a zero per cent default -- a rarity in insurance.

How has he been able to achieve this? According to him, "service plus something more" includes, among others, investment planning for his clients suggesting how best they could ensure that they pay up the premiums without fail. And with a full fledged office having professional staff to manage the financial portfolios of his clients, Shri Udhnawala has successfully "enjoyed" servicing them for the last 38 years. Coming from a family of insurance agents wife, brother, and niece with several years of experience in the field he has taken to the line quite naturally, just as fish to water. With a view to providing better service, he has become a fellow of the Life Underwriters Training Council (LUTCF) and is presently going ahead with a course on Certified Financial Planner Programme.

Professionalism, integrity and innovation are the guiding principles by which he runs his business. In the present ever-changing financial scenario where the client has a range of options to choose from, Zarsis customizes solutions to meet their needs. In fact, his systematic approach and commitment to his clients and LIC, has served as a model for other agents. He is thus not only a "people's person" in the true sense of the term, applying his inter­personal skills and insights of relationships in his personal and professional dealings. As for the less fortunate members of society, Zarsis has a soft corner, specializing in critical illness and disability policy, particularly for the mentally and physically challenged individuals. In sum, he is, without doubt, a fine person to know and get acquainted with and, if possible, to do business.

– Insurance World, January 2008

Role Model - A Lifelong Bond
Scouring the internet for a good in surance cover to secure the future of his mentally challenged son, an NRI from Dubai stumbled upon the website of Udhnawala Insurance & Investment Consultants. He found that the agency specialised in just what he was looking for. Moreover he was delighted that through the website he could complete the entire transaction from start to finish with just a click of the mouse button!

Mr Zarsis Udhnawala, LIC agent and Chairman's Club Member since"! 992, is the man behind the agency. He is proud to be a specialist in insuring persons who are physically or mentally challenged.
"There is a lot of documentation and vali­dation to be done in such cases. I processed all of it without the necessity of the NRI having to do any running around. He bought policies worth Rs 5 crore and ev­erything was done as if through remote control!" says Mr Udhnawala.
It's all in the Family
Mr Udhnawala, his wife, brother, sister and niece who is also a professor in a presti­gious college in Mumbai are all insurance agents. In fact it was his brother who en­couraged Mr Udhnawala way back in the 70s to become an agent. Today, they op­erate two separate, successful agencies in Mumbai and Thane.
Uninterrupted Service
A staunch advocate of the power of 'ser­vicing' in the field of insurance, Mr Udhnawala has an interesting first sale experience to share. His first ever sale was in 1 970 to his tuition student for Rs 5,000, which was a big amount in those days. But after that his agency was terminated be­cause of insufficient business and was re­vived only in 1980. In spite of that Mr Udhnawala continued to service the student's policy, reminding him about pre­mium dates, managing the bonuses and maintaining a warm relationship with him through the years. Just with referral busi­ness and more policies from the same per­son Mr Udhnawala has earned Rs 80 lakh over the years.

Says Mr Udhnawala, "Servicing is much more important than prospecting. If your service is good, clients come to you. The customer's ecstasy and delight is para­mount in this business."

"Young agents should focus on marketing, not selling," he says.

The Invisible Man
Technology is a handy tool for Mr Udhnawala and he uses it to the fullest. He closed a massive sale in March 2008 to a single client for Rs 10 crore without having once met him. All thanks to the features on his website, which carries extensive details on policies. The site also has an effective search engine and offers comprehensive information on other investments that complement insurance, like housing loans and planning for health care expenditure.

The website has an interesting fact finding section where the client interface is so effi­cient that by filling in some simple details an individual can have his entire financial roster planned for him.

Business Boosters
Mr Udhnawala finds the brand name of LIC a great selling point. "People believe in the name which is synonymous with insurance in India today. When they buy an LIC policy the'y are assured of the complete absence of mishandling and a full guarantee of de­livery when in need," he adds.

He also finds the system of Electronic Clear­ance Systems (ECS) offered by banks to be a very efficient way to facilitate insur­ance transactions. "With ECS, the danger of missed, bounced or delayed payments are close to minimum," he elaborates.

The Power of Knowledge
Mr Udhnawala is a seeker of knowledge. He says, "I do not wait for someone to spon­sor me for training and knowledge sharing forums. I can spend any amount of money on such things." He believes that constant updation of knowledge in the global insur­ance sector and the banking industry is a must.
Following Success
With more than 5,000 happy customers to his credit, most of them high networth indi­viduals, Mr Udhnawala is not a person who rests on his laurels. The recipe for success and above all job satisfaction is giving con­tinued support to the customer - new or old. He urges upcoming advisors to be with the customer throughout the policy term.
The Feathers in his Cap
  • Qualified for International level LUTCS fellowship for Underwriters 1999 - 2000
  • Life Insurance Corporation Member -Chairman's Club since 1992
  • MDRT Qualifying member for six years.
  • Life Insurance Round Table Founder Member
  • Life Insurance Agents' Association Im­mediate past President & Chairman Edu­cation Committee
  • Life Underwriters National Guild Life member
– Premium, August 2008