FROM HOME­MAKER TO STAR PER­FORMER

Divya Tus­nial’s jour­ney from a housewife to an in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed in­sur­ance ad­vi­sor is not just in­spir­ing but also un­der­scores the trend of Mar­wari women too find­ing their place in the sun now.

Marwar - - Con­tents - Text Joseph Rozario

FROM HOME­MAKER TO STAR PER­FORMER Divya Tus­nial’s jour­ney from a housewife to an in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed in­sur­ance ad­vi­sor is not just in­spir­ing but also un­der­scores the trend of Mar­wari women too find­ing their place in the sun now.

MOST OF US AT SOME POINT HAVE BEEN ap­proached by an in­sur­ance agent. If you re­call the ex­pe­ri­ence, your first im­pulse might have been to flee, or you might have been wish­ing you were some­where else. Things were no dif­fer­ent for Divya Tus­nial when she started out as an in­sur­ance ad­vi­sor. She used to make cold calls, find it hard to get an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plain her prod­ucts, peo­ple would keep de­fer­ring her re­quests for a meet­ing, they would be averse to pro­vid­ing her with a clear-cut an­swer, and so on. But there was some­thing in her that told her to con­tinue nev­er­the­less, and to­day the re­wards of those ini­tial days of re­jec­tions, hard­ships and per­se­ver­ance have far ex­ceeded her ex­pec­ta­tions, bring­ing her suc­cess, adu­la­tion and in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion.

Step­ping out

Orig­i­nally from Bikaner, Ra­jasthan, Divya lives in Kolkata with her hus­band Rahul Tus­nial and daugh­ters Isshaa (17) and Jasshod­dhara (10). Rahul’s fam­ily has been in the tea plan­ta­tion busi­ness for the last four gen­er­a­tions, and hav­ing taken up the ba­ton, he too runs a tea es­tate. As part of a tra­di­tional Mar­wari house­hold, Divya Tus­nial devoted the ini­tial years of her mar­riage to home­mak­ing, un­til she felt the urge to do some­thing more and joined Tata AIA Life In­sur­ance Com­pany Ltd in 2009, as an in­sur­ance ad­vi­sor. Asked what in­spired her to take up in­sur­ance, she says, “Women of­ten have to per­form the dif­fi­cult task of balanc­ing their fam­ily lives with ca­reers, of­ten com­pro­mis­ing one for the other. If you de­sire a ful­fill­ing work life that does not in­ter­fere with your per­sonal life, a ca­reer in life in­sur­ance may just be what you seek.”

True enough, life in­sur­ance ad­vi­sory is one of those pro­fes­sions that of­fer the ad­van­tage of flex­i­ble tim­ing. More­over, as Tus­nial points out, it can be grat­i­fy­ing too since one can make a gen­uine dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s lives. “Ev­ery day, life in­sur­ance ad­vi­sors pro­vide in­valu­able ad­vice to their cus­tomers, help­ing them pro­tect their dreams and those of their fam­i­lies,” she says.

Up the rungs of suc­cess

A supremely suc­cess­ful in­sur­ance agent to­day, with a stel­lar per­for­mance and pres­ti­gious awards to show for it, Divya Tus­nial is happy; but way back in 2009, when she had just started her ca­reer, things were much dif­fer­ent. A to­tal stranger to the in­dus­try, ini­tially she was not com­fort­able with the cor­po­rate world. But all that changed grad­u­ally, thanks to Tata AIA’s ef­fi­cient train­ing pro­grammes. Start­ing with a small list of un­known clients in Kolkata, she be­gan to hone her sell­ing and cus­tomer ser­vice skills, and then, com­bin­ing her ef­forts with sin­cere fol­low-ups and the de­sire to do her best, she was able to ul­ti­mately make a dent. By and by she started get­ting re­fer­rals and grad­u­ally the num­ber of her cus­tomers be­gan to grow. Given that many women cus­tomers tend to feel more com­fort­able deal­ing with women ad­vi­sors, it pro­vided a fur­ther fil­lip to her by open­ing up a rel­a­tively un­tapped seg­ment. But ir­re­spec­tive of gen­der, Divya makes it a point to ad­dress all her clients’ queries and needs with due dili­gence.

A thor­oughly dis­ci­plined and pro­fes­sional worker now, to achieve max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency she re­mains or­gan­ised; main­tains a struc­tured work sched­ule, at­tend­ing to clients dur­ing nor­mal busi­ness hours; and lim­its dis­trac­tions from friends, ex­ter­nal fac­tors and even fam­ily dur­ing work­ing hours, un­less there is an emer­gency. Asked about her suc­cess mantras, she says she makes it a point to re­main dis­ci­plined and driven by a sense of pur­pose; set goals for her­self and achieve them; train the mind to be the best (her rea­son­ing be­ing, if you train your mind that you will be­come suc­cess­ful, it will make you do it); have strong con­vic­tions and be fear­less, es­pe­cially when it comes to pitch­ing for higher pre­mi­ums from clients. An av­er­age work­ing day sees her reach­ing of­fice be­fore 9:30 am (in­clud­ing Satur­days), meet­ing clients/ prospects, ad­dress­ing their needs, at­tend­ing meet­ings, in­ter­act­ing with co-work­ers, re­turn­ing calls, etc.

All this, need­less to say, has brought rich re­wards and to­day Divya Tus­nial boasts ex­cep­tional per­for­mance with five MDRTs, one COT and three TOTs to her credit.

Asked to ex­plain these terms, she says, “MDRT, or Mil­lion Dol­lar Round Ta­ble is a premier world­wide as­so­ci­a­tion of fi­nan­cial pro­fes­sion­als. MDRT mem­ber­ship is recog­nised in­ter­na­tion­ally as the stan­dard of ex­cel­lence in the life in­sur­ance and fi­nan­cial ser­vices busi­nesses. An agent is re­quired to achieve a cer­tain amount of first-year com­mis­sion to qual­ify for MDRT. The recog­ni­tion has three lev­els: MDRT, COT (Court of the Ta­ble) and TOT (Top of the Ta­ble), de­pend­ing on the amount of com­mis­sion one achieves. Cur­rently, only one per cent of agents world­wide qual­ify for MDRT. Also, MDRT qual­i­fiers are ranked in the top seven per cent of fi­nan­cial pro­fes­sion­als in the world.”

In­ter­na­tional ac­claim

But that is not all! The ic­ing on the cake was when she was hon­oured with the ‘In­sur­ance Agent of the Year’ award at the 2nd Asia Trusted Life Agents & Ad­vis­ers Awards 2017. The award was an ac­knowl­edge­ment of her out­stand­ing per­for­mance, track record and her ex­cep­tional knowl­edge and lead­er­ship qual­i­ties. “The judges se­lected me for the loy­alty I show to my clients, for my de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed and to serve, and for the way I bridge the pro­tec­tion gap of my clients. My per­sis­tency for the year was 99.46 per cent even af­ter the tenth year, com­pared to the in­dus­try best of 87 per cent, recorded af­ter the 13th month,” says Tus­nial.

In an en­core, ear­lier this year (2018), she was be­stowed the ‘In­spi­ra­tional Agent of the Year’ ti­tle at the 3rd Asia Trusted Life Agents & Ad­vis­ers Awards, 2018, held in Manila, Philip­pines. Hav­ing pro­duced over five times the TOT re­quire­ment in 2017, her per­for­mance has in­creased five­fold. The win­ners were cho­sen from around 400 con­tenders from 50 com­pa­nies, in a rig­or­ous and trans­par­ent two-stage judg­ing process au­dited by EY. Talk­ing about it, Tus­nial says, “It is a mat­ter of great pride that the em­i­nent jury chose me for my con­tri­bu­tion to the in­sur­ance in­dus­try and not just for my busi­ness con­tri­bu­tion. This award fur­ther en­cour­ages me to serve my won­der­ful cus­tomers with ded­i­ca­tion and sin­cer­ity.”

These apart, she has also won the LIMRA In­ter­na­tional Qual­ity Award for her ex­cel­lent record of main­tain­ing in-force busi­ness.

Giv­ing back

Hav­ing achieved so much, Divya Tus­nial not only feels thank­ful to her clients, but also to Tata AIA Life for help­ing her achieve it all. Em­brac­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity that comes with be­ing a win­ner, she has been help­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion grow in re­turn, in her ca­pac­ity as the MDRT brand am­bas­sador for Tata AIA Life In­sur­ance. Here too suc­cess has greeted her with the num­ber of MDRT qual­i­fiers from Tata AIA Life ris­ing steadily over the last cou­ple of years. That apart, she also works to­wards pro­mot­ing MDRTs world­wide through the Mem­ber­ship Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mit­tee and by men­tor­ing MDRT as­pi­rants through her very own ini­tia­tive ‘Hello Divya’, where she holds classes for MDRT as­pi­rants in Kolkata.

Away from the world of in­sur­ance, Tus­nial has been ex­tend­ing her car­ing na­ture to so­ci­ety too, through var­i­ous so­cial wel­fare ini­tia­tives, es­pe­cially in Gokul, a small vil­lage in the Mathura district of Ut­tar Pradesh. These ini­tia­tives in­clude tree-plant­ing (to help with af­foresta­tion); set­ting up a play­ground for un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren, with ba­sic ameni­ties; and spon­sor­ing the mar­riage of four fe­male or­phans and sup­port­ing them in set­ting up their homes.

As for fu­ture plans, de­spite hav­ing reached the pin­na­cle of suc­cess, Divya Tus­nial has no plans to give up. She be­lieves in set­ting high per­for­mance bench­marks and wants to con­tinue to do well in both her per­sonal and pro­fes­sional lives—be­cause for her, be­ing the best is not as im­por­tant as do­ing one's best.

The judges se­lected me for the loy­alty I show to my clients, for my de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed and to serve, and for the way I bridge the pro­tec­tion gap of my clients

From top: Divya Tus­nial, Ex­ec­u­tive Life Plan­ner, Tata AIA Life In­sur­ance Com­pany Ltd; Divya Tus­nial at the 2018 AIA MDRT Kick­off Event

From top: Divya Tus­nial wins 'In­sur­ance Agent of the Year' award at 2nd Asia Trusted Life Agents & Ad­vis­ers Awards 2017; Divya Tus­nial pos­ing with hus­band Rahul and daugh­ters Jasshod­dhara (front, left) and Isshaa (ex­treme right)

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