Jeevan ke saath bhi aur jeevan ke baad bhi, the once famous tag line of an insurance company proved to be compelling enough to lure one into opting for a life insurance and for those who didn’t get carried away by the advertisements, the constant bombarding of the life insurance agents would make one give up and invest in a policy. But things have changed.
Today, there are a lot many private players who have entered the arena and all of them are not only giving tough competition to the once uncrowned King of life insurance policy in India but they have taken customer service initiatives to an altogether new level.
But first lets understand what Life Insurance is. Life insurance is a financial contract which provides the nominee of the individual who has taken the life insurance with a sum of money as mentioned in the contract i.e. the life insurance policy.
The individual opting for a life insurance is required to pay a premium as per the contract. This is called as paying a premium.
There are 5 types of life insurance plans –
a. Term Life Insurance: This is one of the traditional life cover plans which offers a large sum as assured in the policy on the death of the policy holder.
b. Endowment Plan: This offers a lump sum amount at the end of the tenure of the policy. It also offers a life cover till the maturity of the plan
c. Money Back Plans: Under this insurance plan, you will receive regular pay-outs at regular intervals. These payouts basically are the percentage of Sum Assured under the plan
d. Unit Link Investment Plan: A recent entrant, this offers market linked returns and tax savings
e. Annuity/Pension Plan: Here you will receive regular money post your retirement. This again has two variants within it – Deferred and Immediate.
It is generally suggested to opt for term life insurance which is the most straightforward among the various life insurance policies and offers maximum cover at comparatively lower premiums.
However claims are only possible in the event of death while other policies offer money back plans which usually reduce your life cover with money back plans.
There is no such policy that can be claimed to be the “best life insurance policy” and the policy buyer should carefully consider his finances, future family needs, account for other health factors such as age, his/her own personal health, brand (as these impact your premiums) before choosing a policy.
We take a look at the top 10 life insurance companies in India that you can opt for. These have been chosen based on the reputation of the brand, claim settlement ratio and the competitiveness of their offerings and plans.
Please note that given the competitiveness of the industry, insurance companies are continuously innovating and coming out with new offerings & plans to attract customers and thus this list is subject to change.
Always compare policies of different companies, their terms and conditions before narrowing down on a policy.
If you are unclear on any terms, call up their customer care and ask them to explain it or send over an agent who should be able to explain the conditions in detail.
Most policies can be brought online or via an agent. Buying the policy online is usually cheaper as it eliminates agent fees which is especially cheaper for life insurance policies which you renew yearly but an agent is likely to be of assistance when settling claims.
So make your choice with what you would be comfortable with.
Lets get started with the various life insurance companies operating in India.
1. Aviva Life Insurance
A joint venture between Dabur Invest Corp and UK’s Aviva Group, Aviva, Life Insurance has been an early private insurance agency to offer a wide range of life insurance options to its patrons.
Today, Aviva Life Insurance in India leads the race when it comes to protection and child plans with some really strong policies.
With a sales force of 15,000 plus financial planning advisors and 107 branches spread across the country they are the first to introduce modern unit-linked ad unitized with-profit policies in India.
Check their website for information on their various products available online. You can opt to buy a policy online as well.
Aviva Life Insurance offers a wide range of life insurance plans catering to various needs of the customers which include Health Insurance Plans, Aviva Health Secure plans where the minimum premium works up to Rs 2,000 per month.
The Aviva Savings Plan offers both benefits of death and several assured incomes and the various options within this include Aviva Dhaan Nirman, Aviva Dhan Samrudhi, Aviva iGrowth, Aviva Life Bond Advantage, Aviva Live Smart, Aviva Family New Income Builder, Aviva Wealth Builder and Aviva DhanVriddhi plus.
Another wonderful product from them is the Reirement Plans which are also called Pension Plans. The options under these assure the policy holder a guaranteed income of the money assured till the insurer retires.
Check their various Child Plans as well. Overall, Aviva Life Insurance has a range of options to choose from and the returns are simply fantastic.
The best part about investing with Aviva is complete transparency and the fantastic customer support that is extended.
2. Aegon Life Insurance
Launched in India in 2008, in just a decade, Aegon Life Insurance is becoming the most preferred insurance company in India.
Present in more than 20 countries, the company began operations 173 years ago and today, their workforce spans across 29,000 employees!
In India, their partner is none other than the Times Group. Under their various Life Insurance Plans, they have included – iTerm Insurance Plans, Easy Protect Insurance Plans, term Insurance Plans, iReturn Insurance Plan, Future Protect Insurance Plan, Rising Star Insurance Plan, Future Protect Plus Insurance Plan, iMaximize Single Premium Insurance Plan, Regular Money Back Insurance Plan, iMaximize Insurance Plan, iGurantee Insurance Plan, Jeevan Shanti Insurance Plan and Guaranteed Growth Insurance Plan.
The Rising Star Insurance plan is perfect for a young family. The plan helps secure the future of children in case the insurer meets with untimely death.
Here the cover amount is enjoyed by the nominee and in case of survival, a lump sum amount is payable to the insurer. Here the insurer also has the option of partial withdrawal of funds.
3. Birla SunLife Insurance
Birla Life Insurance Company Limited (BSLI), a joint venture between Aditya Birla Group and Canada’s Sun Life Financial Inc. is another fantastic company to choose when it comes to opting for a life insurance.
With over a two million customer base, they offer a range of policies that comprise of children’s future solutions, wealth with protection solutions, health and wellness solutions, retirement solutions and savings with protection solutions.
With a spread over 5000 cities and with over 550 branches across India, they have a wide network. Besides a range of options to choose from, they are also behind introducing Unit Linked Life Insurance plans in the country.
The various life insurance plans offered by the company are as follows – Life term Solutions, Savings with Protection, Children’s Future Solution, Pension Solution Plan, ULIP Solution Plans, Rural and NRI based plans.
4. HDFC Standard Life Insurance
Founded in 2000 by Hasmukhbhai Parekh, HDFC Standard Life Insurance is head-quartered in Mumbai.
They have well designed life insurance policies including HDFC Standard Life Insurance Term Plan, HDFC Endowment Plan, HDFC Retirement Plan, HDFC Life Child Plan and HDFC Saving Investment Plan.
Each of these have a range of plans to choose from, each which offer flexibility in terms of age criterion, age of maturity and sum assured.
Going by the reviews shared by the past investors, this is one company that you should have in your list when deciding upon a life insurance for yourself and your family.
5. Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Limited
The founders of Big Bazaar are behind this company. It is a joint venture between The Future Grou and the Italy based Generali Group which is one of the leading insurance groups in Europe.
Future Generali Life Insurance offers good options for savings, family protection, unit linked policies and it has some very good group products as well.
The various policy options include – Future Generali Term Insurance, Future Generali Group Plan, Future Generali ULIP Plan and Future Generali Retirement Plan.
The Future Generali Term Plan is the cheapest life insurance product that provides financial independence to the family in case the policy holder is unable to continue taking care of his family financially either due to death or disability.
One of their best options includes the Future Generali New Saral Anand wherein you are offered maturity benefits in addition to an extended life cover benefit.
The maturity benefit includes sum assured and any optional compounded reversionary or terminal bonus, if declared by the company.
The policy has a term of 15-20 years and is available to people between 3 to 50 years with maturity ages from 18 to 70 years.
6. Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company Limited
Again a joint venture between two companies, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company Limited is a result of an association between Allianz SE and Bajaj Finserv.
Allainz SE is one of the largest insurance companies in the world headquartered in Europe.
In 2015, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company has won the BSFI Award as the “Best Life Insurance Company”.
They have a range of options to choose from where the premium to be paid is as low as Rs. 1500 per annum. The various plans include – Isecure Plan, Future Gain Plan, Retire Rich Plan, Young Assure Plan, Save Assure Plan and Life Long Assure Plan.
One of their most prominent plan is the Bajaj Allianz Save Assure plan which is a traditional non-participating endowment plan where you end up paying a premium only for a limited tenure and on death or maturity, 115% of the chosen sum assured is paid to the nominee or the policy holder.
Under this plan, you can change the premium payment frequency and also avail loan up to a maximum of 90 per cent of the surrender value. The minimum entry age is 1 year and maximum is 60 years.
7. Max Life Insurance
Max Life Insurance has to its credit the claim settlement ratio being close to 97 per cent. This is considered the best among all private insurance brokers in India.
Established in 2001, Max Life Insurance Company Ltd. is a joint venture between Max India Ltd. and Mitusi Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd.
Through their various policy plans they offer comprehensive life insurance and retirement solutions for the long-term savings and protection.
The most popular plans offered by them include – Child Plans, Term Plans, Growth Plans, Savings Plans, Retirement Plans and Group Plans.
8. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance
They are one of the earliest players in the insurance sector of India. It is a joint venture between ICICI Bank Ltd. and Prudential Corporation Holdings Ltd., a UK-based MNC.
Their settlement ratio stands at over 96 per cent. Of all their plans, the ICICI Prudential Wealth Builder II has a strong acceptance in the market.
The term insurance plan offered by ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company include – ICICI Pru iProtect Smart, ICICI Prudential Smart Health Cover, ICICI Pru iCare II and ICICI Pru Life Raksha.
ICICI Prudential Life is also the first insurance company in India to be listed on NSE and BSE.
9. Tata AIA Life Insurance Company
From FMCG products to vehicles, the Tata Group has a presence all around. So how can life insurance be an exception?
Tata AIA Life Insurance Company Limited (Tata AIA Life) is a joint venture company, formed by Tata Sons Ltd. and AIA Group Ltd.
The AIA Group has is presence pan-Asia. There are various life insurance plans offered by the company which include – Protection Plans, Wealth Plans, Savings Plans, Child Plans, Group Plans and Micro Insurance Plans.
Under the Protection Plans, the iRaksha TROP Term Insurance Plan offers not just tax benefit as per availing IT rules but also has an advantage if you are a woman The rates of premium for woman are on the lower side.
The policy offers dual benefit of protection against any ill-fated event and return on premium as survival benefit and it also offers three option for premium payment frequency as regular, limited payment for 5 to 10 years or single premium plan.
10. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)
Unarguably one of the oldest insurance agency in India, LIC can claim to have sold one policy at least in each of India’s household.
They have an army of insurance agents spread across the length and breadth of the country.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that not a building in India would be without at least one tenant who is either directly or indirectly associated with LIC.
They can be given the credit to set the ball rolling for life insurance policies in India and open up a career option for insurance agents alluring them with attractive commissions based on sales target and then pamper them with international holidays and other goodies.
LIC today has the most wide range of options available, the most popular being – LIC Jeevan Saral, LIC Jeevan Anand and LIC New Children Money Back Plan.
Though, it is important to keep in mind that in case you are opting for a LIC policy, not all their agents are honest to share the fine prints.
Most of them will not tell you that if in case you wish to discontinue paying the premiums post the third premium, you will end up losing all the money you have invested in those three years and if in case you opt for discontinuing after three years, you will get back a very meager amount in return.
LIC gives you the option to cancel the policy within 15 days of it being issued and get back the complete refund though again most of their agents do not handover the policy to you within the first 15 days.
The agents resort to all of these tactics to simply meet with the targets though it is at the cost of taking the naïve customer for a ride.
So in case you opt for LIC, ensure to read the fine print carefully instead of relying on the agent sharing the policy information with you.
There is a lot of information available online on not only the insurance agencies but also on various plans that they have.
The best of all is Policy Bazzar. They have detailed information on each of the policies from all the major life insurance agencies and the information is shared in an easy to understand method.
It is highly recommended that you do visit the aforementioned website to check on all the details next time you decide to opt for any policy, no matter how close the insurance agent is to you.