Embracing challenges for the mere love of facing and overcoming them, and redefining success in his own way, Tapan Singhel is a maverick & a stalwart, who has strengthened the roots of the Indian insurance sector firmly on the domestic & international soil BY ANAM KUMAR
Believing that “No one person can define success or happiness for anyone else; one has to find one’s own path,” Tapan Singhel defines success as “to be simple, take life as it comes, and to help people I meet smile more.”
He reminisces that he always wanted to be a scientist and was trained to be one. However, a challenge by a friend – that he of course won – got him into insurance. The story goes like this, in his own words: “One of my friends suggested that I take part in an entrance exam to be recruited as a senior officer in a government insurance company. I refused but he challenged me saying it’s just an IQ test. I took up the challenge, cleared it and joined the company in 1991, which was also my first job. Since then there has been no looking back.”
He has not only been associated with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company (BAGIC) since its inception, but he has also consistently achieved significant newer milestones for BAGIC, finally bringing it to the pedestal of one of Asia’s best insurance companies through his lofty vision and untiring efforts. Being a thorough professional, he has made significant and path-breaking contributions to BAGIC and while doing so has created an exceptional and incredible experience for himself throughout his journey.
DARK HORSE OF THE LONG RACES
Mr. Singhel’s love for challenges has always enabled him to triumph with an edge over others, be it winning clients, achieving targets, and getting a good P&L ratio in his profession or achieving varied forms of success in his personal life. His experience during his college years, when he finally pulled himself back together in his final year and secured a position among the toppers, after lagging behind in his first two years of graduation, left him with a great learning that “one can bounce back and emerge stronger from any given situation.”
His positive thinking, passion, enthusiasm and the white heat of desire to make the most of any given situation invariably gave him an additional sway over any impediments that came between him and his goals. He shares, “I never got disheartened or depressed whenever I faced hurdles in my journey. I would always put my best effort and never lost faith in my abilities. Facing and overcoming these challenges have played a major role in shaping my personality.”
NEED FOR TRANSFORMATION
One of the most knowledgeable persons on earth on insurance issues, Mr. Singhel has been endeavouring on two fronts to develop the insurance sector as one of the most rewarding in our economy: creating sturdy infrastructure through development of technology, and creating ample awareness so people are inclined to utilize the benefits and financial tools provided by various insurance policies.
Realizing that the optimum level of development, awareness, inclusiveness and participation in this sector can be achieved only with concerted and joint efforts of the government and the private sector, he has contributed immensely in his own capacity towards growth of insurance as a social cause. Being ever-optimistic about public and private sectors together achieving towering targets, he feels, “Together they have introduced and implemented several schemes for Crop, Personal Accident, Health and even Life Insurance. Several more such ideas and suggestions are in pipeline. The key to this lies in implementing insurance solutions and creating awareness by bringing together entire communities right from the grassroots, into the mission. Insurance would be a household name if all the stakeholders put collaborative community-level efforts.”
His devotion for making valuable changes in the insurance sector is reflected in his insights that he offered to AsiaOne on being asked what reforms would he bring if he had a wand of absolute power. “I would have made the entire economies understand the role of insurance as a social cause, a powerful tool that bridges the gap between economic losses and insured losses. Also I would take insurance to the last mile of the country, with seamless transactions and products simplified to a level where anyone would be able to choose the best cover as per his/her requirements. And lastly, I would take away the negative perception that is associated with this industry. We are in the business of doing good, by helping out people in their direst hours of need. It is actually one of the noblest professions one could be in!”
To promote the nobility of his profession, he has been spreading the awareness on goodness of insurance since beginning. In the process, he has gathered invigorating memories and profound moments of satisfaction since the beginning of his career. He recalls one incident where he went personally to give the cheque to the widow of an accident victim. “The tears that I saw in the eyes of the widow and her kids when we handed over the cheque made me realize the importance of my work and its impact on the society at large.”
He has drawn constant inspiration from his family – his parents were his greatest teachers who have greatly contributed in making him what he is today. His wife and daughters have taught him to be agile and take challenges head on.
Though he has won several awards in his life, he still considers that his biggest award is the smile on the face of the person who has faced a lot due to unforeseen circumstances.
BACK TO THE SOCIETY
Believing that like individuals, companies too have a soul and a thought process that drives them to take up social causes, personally and professionally he has made immense difference to the lives of people. He and BAGIC have undertaken activities for the welfare and empowerment of local communities, consequently enhancing lives of children from underprivileged background, with the understanding that they are the future of the country, and irrespective of their background they should get equal opportunity to create a bright future for themselves. He is associated with NGOs such as Smile Train India, Association of Rural and Urban Needy – Project Rainbow Homes, SOS children’s village and have created care centres and charity trusts at some of the leading hospitals in Maharashtra that take care of treatments for the indigent.
He is extremely passionate about life, and thus advises the youth to be passionate about everything they do in life, and also enjoy what they do thoroughly.