Rishi Srivastava, MD & CEO, TATA AIA

Rishi Srivastava, MD & CEO, TATA AIA: Going Beyond Business

Chosen as India’s Most Trusted CEO, Rishi Srivastava, MD & CEO of Tata AIA is scaling new heights and redefining the industry with many firsts.


What is the big idea of the business that is impacting human lives?

Our vision to be “The pre-eminent protection provider: inspiring dreams, enabling healthier and happier lives” encapsulates the big idea fuelling purpose in our business .

And we are going Beyond Business.

At Tata AIA, we identified the latent need of Protection (term insurance) that exists in the country. There exists a huge 92% protection gap in the country. What this means is that for every Rs. 100 of protection needed, only Rs. 8 is actually spent on buying it. Ensuring financial protection for loved ones and self is a basic need for all.

We are committed to providing offerings that are best for the consumer; beneficial for society; and value accretive for the company & its people.

Our ecosystem has been developed to reflect this commitment. We have industry best EoDB [Ease of Doing Business] measures that include highest waivers in medicals and elaborate financial documents; for FY’19 we had the highest claims settlement ratio in the Industry at 99.07%; for every term policy bought, a tree is planted on behalf of the policy-holder. Our brand philosophy echoes the intent to make purchase of financial protection an essential ritual and we call it “Rakshakaran ki reet”.

We are extending this commitment of protection to include the environment by planting a tree for every protection policy bought and making our consumers ‘Rakshakaran Heroes’.

Rishi Srivastava, MD & CEO, TATA AIA


The Differentiators that set your business apart.

Our Purpose of Service to Society; inherited from our Shareholders with a history of combined 250+ years.

In the business of insurance, consumer trust is of utmost importance. For Tata AIA putting consumer (society) first is ingrained in our DNA.

We constantly look at enhancing value for consumers. Focus on protection (term) policies in the recent past which is being mirrored in the industry is one such example.

Going forward we have larger plans to encourage our consumers to live healthier longer better lives through promoting wellness activities. The value of living healthy will be shared with the consumers through dynamic policy pricing measures.

Accessing consumers is essential for us in our mission to provide best and simplest life solutions.

Being a non-Bank promoted Life Insurer was considered to be a handicap in the Industry. However, we turned this theory on its head by adopting a balanced multi-channel approach for expanding distribution.

Multi-Channel Distribution Strategy.

We have one of the best performing Agent networks in India; tie-ups with HDFC, CBoI, IBL, Citi & DBS Banks; strong online presence through web aggregators like Policybazaar; and deep relationships with most prominent Corporate Broking Agencies.

As we touch more consumers’ lives, we continue to develop deeper understanding of their needs and offer them personalised, pre-approved propositions through predictive analytics.

Upholding consumer faith requires being responsive to their needs & concerns. We believe that happy employees and seamless processes are critical to this.

People are our core and we offer them world class opportunities for professional development. With an increasingly millennial workforce our policies are attuned to their needs such as a day off at will for our Single employees; a Chatbot that addresses employee needs; and a gamified social media-powered referral programme.

Similarly, our processes are becoming increasingly digital and simplified reflecting the evolving consumer needs. Some of the key initiatives undertaken are showing promising results: Real time mobile sales management; Chatbots for supporting sales; 95% forms are filled on tablets; Bank KYC, Credit Bureau partnerships make it easy for consumers to share their information; Automated underwriting utilising all possible data sources for more accurate risk assessment so that we can provide industry best medical check-up waivers (an essential part of the policy issuance process) and expedite processing policies, particularly for protection.

We continually invest in new methods and initiatives to develop future ready leaders who can drive the transformation of Tata AIA as tomorrow’s industry leaders in all aspects.

Rishi Srivastava, MD & CEO, TATA AIA

Focus on People & Processes.

It’s often said that leaders these days must operate in an environment of extreme volatility. Do you agree? How does that affect the way you lead?

Agree that the environment we operate in is dynamic. For anyone the fundamentals remain constant while the tactic may vary depending on external factors

The basic principles stay constant:

1. Purposeful business with consumer at the center of business decision-making

2. Profitable growth

3. Grooming future ready leaders by developing digital thinking and design sensibilities in our talent

From time to time, the approach anticipates & adapts to the evolving environment by developing products that make financial protection inclusive. Further by utilising technology we can increase accessibility to solutions.

A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all. What has been your core strategies of retaining customers?

Happy employees beget happy distributors and customers.

Tata AIA Life is built by its people. We focus on developing employees, promoting work-life integration, and supporting them on their aspirational journey.

We invest in employees so that they can give their best to our partners & customers, thus, engendering a positive cycle that serves society.

Starting this year, we are driving three key leadership principles of courage for achieving goals, clarity in thinking, and humanity towards stakeholders to guide employees along their career path.

Innovation for enhancing consumer proposition is integral to Tata AIA. Passing along benefits of a healthy lifestyle back to consumers through dynamic policy pricing ensures a fair proposition and promotes healthier, longer, better lives.

We propose to do this through our Vitality plan where along with dynamic pricing a host of attractive benefits are offered to consumers depending on their healthy activities and continued engagement.

We have initiated real-time tracking of voice of consumers through NPS [Net Promoter Score] methodology. This has been extended to all touch points where we interact with our consumers.

Initial response has provided us excellent insights on how we can evolve to better address consumer needs. Going forward we will make this a platform where proactive consumer dialogue can be established to discuss future needs along with taking continuous feedback on their experience.

The focus is on improving services and celebrating positive experiences. Towards this we share stories of how our employees have amazed consumers with the entire organization to promote a culture of delighting consumers.

Sharing value of positive behaviours with our consumers.

Creating a responsive feedback loop to help us serve better.

Three Business Strategies of yours that were winners?

Focus on Protection.

As i mentioned, there exists a huge 92% protection gap in the country. While there are multiple types of products offered by life insurers, term is the essence of life insurance and is the most affordable. In our endeavour to bridge the protection gap we find it important to reach as many consumers as possible and ensure that each one gets the full insurance cover required.

Today in the industry we sell the highest proportion of protection vis-à-vis other private players. Ensuring financial protection for loved ones and self is a basic need for all and Tata AIA Life is committed to fulfilling this need.

In a private-player market driven by Bancassurance (insurance sold through banks), we were the first to focus on developing all possible sales channels, particularly Agency.

Having leapfrogged from 17th position to 5th position in the private Life Insurance Industry with a 76% four-year CAGR till FY’19, our agile strategy has proven its efficacy.

Our organisation has transformed and continues to evolve due to the commitment of its employees. Our employee engagement score is 81 for the past two years (BFSI average:78 | Indian LI Industry average: 72).

Being adjudged AON Best Employer fourth straight year in a row is a positive reinforcement that we are living up to our value of People being our core.

Changing the game through omni- channel presence.

People First Philosophy.

Your strategies to ensure that you stay in touch with employees and customers in line with the company’s goals?

With a People First Philosophy, constant interaction with employees has been institutionalised.

From quarterly virtual town halls with all employees & agents across India to closed door skip levels, we have different modes for communicating with employees and addressing their requirements.

Engaging employees and keeping them abreast with latest information creates a collaborative environment and focuses our talent for working on critical areas for the Company.

By establishing the NPS methodology, we have taken a positive step in interacting with consumers. We encourage C-suite leadership to personally converse with consumers and understand their choices & needs.

Internally we applaud employees for positive consumer feedback through an initiative called “Amazing Consumer Experience”. By speaking about positive experiences across the Company we promote a consumer centric culture.

Listening and Learning from consumers is being increasingly ingrained across the organisation.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever heard? How do you create trust with the employees and the overall management?

To me, Kabir’s philosophy has withstood the test of time and provides relevant advice in our business environment

Some of the key attributes needed to succeed today have been well described by Kabir Das in 15th century, such as:

⸗ Benefiting Others

“Bada hua to kya hua, jaise ped khajoor; Panthi ko chhaaya nahi, phal laage ati door|”

(In vain is the eminence, just like a date tree; that provides no shade for travellers, whose fruit is hard to reach.)

In other words, what good is our eminence, if it is neither compassionate nor helpful to others?

⸗ Being Proactive

“Dukh Mein Simran Sab Kare, Sukh Mein Kare Na Koye;

Jo Sukh Mein Simran Kare, Tau Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye|”

(In anguish, everyone remembers those who can help them, in joy no one does; For someone who remembers their helpers even in happiness there can be no sorrow)

In other words, even when there are no troubles we must thank those who help us & guide us, if we do so we will never have any problems.

⸗ Breaking Silos

“Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala,Bura Naa Milya Koye;

Jo Munn Khoja Apnaa, To Mujhse Bura Naa Koye|”

(When I set out to search for wrongdoers, I couldn’t find a single one; But when I searched within, I realised that there is no greater wrongdoer than me.)

In other words, when we indulge in finding faults with others we intensify our own greatest fault.

With dialogue, trust can be built gradually and sustained through:

  • ⸗  Listening (i.e. absorbing and assimilating information, ideas & emotions) to our key stakeholders
  • ⸗  Sharing thoughts and correlating to activities
  • ⸗  Being transparent by sharing periodically the why and what of critical decisions
  • Through these fundamental pursuits maintaining consistency on fundamentals and communicating tactical realignments for engaging stakeholders

Constant & Open dialogue is key to creating & maintaining trust

What strategies do you use in terms of planning your personal career progression?

Strategies which:

  • ⸗  Keep raising the bar: I believe that we need to keep testing our limits; we don’t know our true limit
  • ⸗  Give more than 100%, even if it means going beyond what we have already put in
  • ⸗  Persevere/Never giving up
  • ⸗  Continuous learning from everyone around
  • ⸗  Believing in people, focusing on people, and developing people

⸗  Most importantly, while having an end in mind always remember to enjoy the journey

Your Favourite Book, Automobile, Cuisine and Quote of all time? How do you maintain work-personal life balance?


Koshish karney vaalon ki kabhi haar nahi hoti. This is my favourite saying and has rung true for me at every juncture in life. I don’t know any other way to be. I don’t know of a single instance where I did not accomplish what I set out to do. Because I don’t give up until I have done what is needed.

Work-personal balance:

I have limited hours to spend with my wife and children and I make the most of it by listening to them and spending meaningful time with them. I ensure that I am up to date with what is happening in their lives when I am not present. I can focus on work because I have their support at home and I make sure they know that I also make sure that I take two family holidays in a year.

Personally, I have been into fitness for a long time now and I continue to take time out for that. Very importantly, I eat sensibly. I am conscious of the physical strain and the mental stretch that we undertake in our roles. Therefore, it is important for me to take care of my physical health.

Book: Kabir ke Dohe

Cuisine: Japanese & Bengali

Automobile: Harley-Davidson



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