Alice Vaidyan: Alice In Insurance Land
Re-insurance in India has a long way to go. And GIC Re’s Alice Vaidyan has no small part to play in harmonising the darks and the brights
When faced with a major decision a few years ago to move to South Africa with her husband, Alice Vaidyan decided to stay back instead and look after her family and build the general insurance business. “Moving to South Africa with him would have meant having to forgo my professional life. I would never have, thus, attained this position. Although it was a very hard decision for me to make at that time, I am glad that I made the right one,” says Vaidyan.
The GIC Re chairman and managing director is the first chairwoman of the public-sector insurance business in India. Recently, Vaidyan led one of the most successful public offers in recent times of GIC Re. “I had served in the Indian insurance industry in many different capacities and areas. Attaining the position of CMD at GIC Re has turned out to be the pinnacle of my career. Presiding over GIC Re’s IPO was one of the most challenging and, yet, exciting times of my life. I am glad that due to the hard work of the GIC Re team, the IPO was well-received in the market,” she says.
Under Vaidyan, GIC Re has become the 12th largest re-insurance company in the world, and she now sees GIC Re becoming the 10th largest at the end of this financial year. In the last few years the re-insurance industry has experienced soft market conditions, while price upticks have subdued. Natural catastrophes have struck the re-insurance industry hard. It is still recovering from the losses suffered in the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. The challenges for re-insurers now are how to recoup losses and pursue growth. The Indian re-insurance industry, on the other hand, is admittedly in a nascent stage, and growth is strong.
Having served in the insurance industry in varied capacities and areas, Vaidyan is perfectly suited for her job at GIC Re. But when she is not breathing re-insurance, this trained western classical pianist makes it a point to spread her fingers across the black and white keys as much as she does across the ups and dumps in her chosen profession. Music and insurance do indeed go hand in hand, at least for Vaidyan.