From homemaker to an internationally acclaimed insurance adviser

By Ravi Samalad |  21-10-19 | 
 
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About the Author
Ravi Samalad is Assistant Manager - Editoral for Morningstar.in.

Read on to find out the inspiring journey of Divya Tusnial who overcame all hurdles as homemaker of a traditional Indian family and a mother of two daughters to become an internationally acclaimed insurance adviser. Divya has achieved five Million Dollar Round Table (MDRTs), one Court of the Table (COT) and four Top of Table (TOTs) since 2008.

How did you gravitate to become a financial adviser?

In the first year of marriage itself, I lost my father-in-law who did not have any insurance cover. That is when I realized the importance for insurance. But I had no first-hand knowledge of the corporate world of insurance sector. I used to make cold calls, find it hard to get an opportunity to explain products, people would keep deferring my requests for meeting, and they would be averse to providing me clear-cut answer, and so on. But all I had was my passion, determination and the willingness to work tirelessly, and today the rewards to those initial days of rejection, hardships and perseverance have far exceeded my expectations, bringing me success, international recognition and satisfaction. My journey of transformation from an ordinary homemaker of a traditional Indian family and a mother of two daughters to an internationally acclaimed Insurance adviser is very humbling.

Did you ever think of taking up a job?

No, I never wanted to be restricted to a fixed income package. Being an entrepreneur was the only answer to my sky-high aspirations.

How did you acquire your initial set of clients? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

I acquired my first set of clients from telephone directory yellow pages. I was focused on the corporates who had bought advertisement space there. Luckily, my first set of five clients were top business houses from Kolkata market who gave me a good head start.

Being a housewife from a Marwari household, with two growing up daughters, it was very difficult to be working in a traditional male-dominated society. At that time, it seemed like a handicap to achieving big goals that I aspired to. But I did not allow myself these excuses as I firmly believed in demonstrating high performance. I pushed forth and the results flowed. Today too, I continue to share my journey across the country and even internationally to inspire other agents, especially women.

There are not many women insurance/financial advisers in India. What would be your advice to women who wish to enter this profession?

Women often have to perform the difficult task of balancing their family lives with careers, often compromising one for the other. If you desire a fulfilling work life balance that does not interfere with your personal life, career in life insurance may just be what you seek. Also, it can be gratifying too since one can make a genuine difference to people’s lives, by helping them protect their dreams and those of their families. I am grateful that I chose this industry and a name like Tata AIA. There has been no looking back for me.

What has been your success mantra? What are the key skills required to excel in your profession?

Success does not get served on a platter to anyone. I have had to work very hard for it. Of course, with consistent support from Tata AIA. These are some of the things that I work with:

1. Purpose – Do you know why do you work?

The most frequently asked question by my peers is, “How to achieve MDRT/COT/TOT [MDRT is the highest honor globally for insurance agents. COT  and TOT are the top level MDRTs or the highest production in business and I think this question is not relevant when compared to the most important question which is “Why did I do MDRT/COT/TOT?” The purpose behind me getting up in the morning and meeting customers tirelessly. I work for a few compelling reasons. One, I want to give the best of the best higher education to my children at any good university in United States and this requires lots of money. Secondly, I have to prove to my two girl children that their mother is the best in what she is doing so that they get inspired to do the best in what they do. Thirdly, the smile on the face and the sparkle in the eyes of my parents when they witnessed me taking the Asia award, inspires me and that can’t be bought with money. It can only be done with hard work.

2. Discipline.

An army is always ready for a battle as they practice discipline every moment. An insurance professional’s life is no different. I reach office before 9.00 am 6 days a week. For instance, I was in office at 9.00 am even on the New Year for my work. I reach customer’s place 10 mins in advance so that I get accustomed to his office and get time to read things in his office lounge and get some information or pattern of working from observing the people working in the office. This gives you immense confidence when I enter the customer’s chamber to initiate a discussion.

3. Know your clients well.

Preparation before the first meeting is of utmost important if you have to create first impression. As the proverb goes, first impression is the best impression. You can google and get the details about the client, LinkedIn is another medium to know the client well. The known customers/friends from the circle of the prospective customer can also give you a brief about the client before you visit the client. You need to be really sure about the decision maker at the client’s place so that you can meet the right person.

In order for them to succeed as professional full-time agents, they must adhere to the following:

  • Proper training from the company so that the agent understands the company’s products and their features.
  • Understanding client’s requirement and advice products as per their requirements.
  • Develop the ability to listen and empathize with clients to understand which product will work best for them.
  • Know the products really well to know exactly what is suitable as per customer needs. Agents should advise products keeping in mind the customer’s investment portfolio and financial background.
  • Be quick to respond to consumer queries, via phone calls or mail or even personal meetings. This definitely boosts consumer confidence in the agent.
  • Behave responsibly and remember who they are representing. Agent is the face of the Company that he represents.
  • Be equipped with all policy related information for the right guidance and advice.
  • It’s very important to do regular follow-up with clients and track the premium payment so that the policy doesn’t lapse. It also helps get regular feedback from clients.

Your future plans…

I plan to continue with the same enthusiasm and continue to win honors.

I have no plans to rest and give up. I believe in setting high performance benchmarks and want to continue to do well in both my personal and professional life – because for me, being the best is not as important as doing my best.

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