Aveteran in the insurance domain with three decades of experience, RM Vishakha joined IndiaFirst in 2015 (it is her second stint in the company) as MD and CEO, but the challenges were many as the company was still struggling to establish its identity. She was undaunted, though, and quickly devised an effective strategy to make the business scalable, sustainable and profitable. She acquired scale by growing the retail business, which was further helped by her customer-centric approach. As a result, IndiaFirst has become one of the fastest growing life insurers, its profitability growing by 357 per cent in FY2016/17 compared to 2015/16. Under her leadership, the organisation scaled up to Rs 12,622 crore in AUM and a fourth consecutive year of annual profit as it clocked Rs 51.2 crore in 2017/18.
Vishakha is a votary of digitisation and due to her early initiative, nearly 95 per cent applications are now processed digitally at IndiaFirst while the turnaround time for policy issuance is 60 per cent less than before. Apps with robust security features have also been developed to automate routine tasks. She has introduced recurrent single premium products and also conducted 'ServiceFirst' camps to sensitivise customers towards a long-term approach.
Vishakha believes in leading from the front and appreciates the need for an agile workplace. She has tailored the company culture for its mostly millennial workforce (82 per cent), offering flexitime, mandatory block leave, sabbaticals and alternative work arrangement policies so that employees can enjoy a good work-life balance. Being a mother of two, she is fully aware of the kind of support required by women professionals with families and is ready to help new mothers at work.