New India Assurance Company (NIA), incorporated in 1919, and founded by the House of Tatas, enjoys a gross direct premium upwards of Rs 15,149.50 crore for the year ended March 2016. That, plus the fact that it has a huge network of 31 regional offices, 6 corporate offices, 448 divisional offices and 583 branch offices, makes it the market leader.
This coffee table book, Legacy of a Leader, chronicled by journalist K Nitya Kalyani, is a great attempt in tracing the company’s history. The “thick” book in fine print, replete with neat photographs, aims at bringing out the various aspects of NIA, which would justify its motto Leadership and beyond.
The company aims at a 20 per cent market share by 2020. This growth “objective” is split into various achievable sub-goals which the book focuses and takes us through. Goals regarding innovative products, simple processes, developing
business, expanding network... The book throws light on NIA’s global presence, its avowed target of tripling premium income from abroad in 2020 to Rs 10,000 crore, and these steps for achieving it.
The book also illustrates the tough times the company faced during 2000-05 when the bottom-line eroded due to de-tariffing and how finally a proprietary scientific rating methodology was evolved to offer competitive quotes for premium. The model helped the company’s turnaround in the year 2011-12. After that, there has been no looking back.
The book has insights from industry stalwarts Mukesh Ambani, Cyrus Mistry, Kumar Mangalam Birla and others whom the author rightly calls “Partners in Success.”
The second part of the book deals with history: on how the company has traversed since 1919.
The Life Department of the company was the first one to be mechanised when B K Shah joined as an actuary. Many stalwarts believe that NIA would have been just another company for this visionary genius.
The book pens down its quest for the right place for its registered office, which ended when it got its present location at the Currency Bank Building through an auction from the government. The book bifurcates the company’s efforts in the pre-independence and post-independence days and its striving to glory in a short and swift manner. The brief insight into the various departments of insurance, namely fire, marine, motor and miscellaneous have also been brought about in an engaging way.
The book is a comprehensive compilation of the success story of New India, detailing every milestone it has achieved and not omitting any threat it faced. These risks ended up as opportunities.
Author K Nitya Kalyani has taken stupendous efforts to make this book happen. A former employee of New India, she has had an illustrious career as a journalist. You can never underestimate her toil in bringing out a volume of this size and stature. Each and every page talks about her dedication and involvement.
Review of the coffee table book would be incomplete without a mention of the sheer beauty and magnificence of the page laying and beautiful printing.
Well done New India Assurance Company Ltd. Advance wishes on your centenary.