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Indian insurance: Rogue agents

UK Only Article: 
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Europe’s rescue plan

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Indian insurance


Though no longer out of control, the market still looks pretty odd



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One of these people is not an insurance agent

One of these people is not an insurance agent

AT THE peak of India’s strange insurance hysteria a few years ago there were almost 3m people flogging life-insurance policies. Many of them did so while juggling other jobs, from driving taxis to running TV repair shops. Even by the standards of the subcontinent it was a colossal operation: Indian Railways employs a mere 1.5m people. Many agents were hired in a frenzy of optimism by the world’s most famous insurance firms, which piled into the country, taking minority stakes in joint ventures with local partners (often India’s big industrial conglomerates), as the rules require.
These firms’ strategy was premised on one, beguiling ...