With the merger of the three public sector non-life insurers shelved and with large scale retirements to happen, it is time for fresh hiring by them, said senior industry officials.
If recruitment is not possible, then the other option is to merge the offices --divisional/branches -- and save on rental outgo and rebalance staff deployment, they added.
The central government a couple of years ago announced the merger of three general insurers viz., National Insurance Company Ltd, Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and United India Insurance Company Ltd and put a freeze on fresh recruitment.
Shelving the merger plan the government is planning to sell off about 50 per cent stake in one of the above insurers.
"The operating offices are short staffed, impacting customer service. Retirements of about 150-200 employees are happening in each company and this number is set to increase soon. There is a dire need to beef up the staff strength at the lower level," K. Govindan, General Secretary, General Insurance Employees All India Association (GIEAIA), told IANS.
Bulk of the staff in service now in the public sector general insurers were recruited in the 1980s and in 1990 and they are set to retire soon, a senior industry official said.
At an average the PSU insurers have about 12,000 employees and about 1,600 offices.
Further the ratio of class I officers to other cadres is nearly 1:1 which shows the companies are top heavy and the span of control is low, said the senior industry official.
Simply put, span of control denotes the number of subordinates a manager/class I have. The higher the number of subordinates, the broader the manager's span of control.
According to him, there are two options for the companies -- go in for fresh recruitment or merge the offices and redeploy the staff and in the process save on rent.
While Govindan said merger of offices are happening at the ground level it is not happening at an accelerated speed even though the companies are in cost rationalisation mode and getting additional capital from the central government to beef up their solvency.
Opposing the government's move to privatise one of the three general insurers, the Unions do not want to comment on the aspect of transfer of employees from the to be privatised company to other PSU insurers.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)