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Assur-ing Returns At HDFC Life

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Vibha Padalkar, 

age: 54
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Hunt for “sunrise” sector brought Vibha Padalkar, MD & CEO, HDFC Life, to the life insurance industry from WNS Global Services. “I had led the team at WNS to get them listed on the New York Stock Exchange. HDFC group chairman Deepak Parekh was also on the company’s board, so that was the connection. I was bitten by the sunrise sector and insurance came along,” says Padalkar.
Just last year Padalkar concluded the acquisition of Exide Life Insurance, the first by any life insurer in India, she says. “Every M&A is difficult, but doing that during the pandemic makes us feel proud.” The company, she says, has doubled across key metrics in the last four years post the listing, be it new business premium, renewal premium, protection and annuity business, value of new business, embedded value or AUM.
The launch of the Sanchay Fixed Maturity Plan in 2021 is another initiative Padalkar talks about proudly. “This plan comprises a significant part of our savings product portfolio.”
To younger women aspiring for the corner office, Padalkar has a piece of advice: “Indicate your availability,” she says. “A woman COO will not become a CEO unless she asks for it upfront. It doesn’t happen with men, but that’s the reality.”