Understanding the Advice of Commissions-motivated Agents: Evidence from the Indian Life Insurance Market

Santosh Anagol, Shawn Cole, Shayak Sarkar


In this paper, authors share findings from a series of field experiments to evaluate the quality of advice provided by life insurance agents in India. Agents overwhelmingly recommend unsuitable, strictly dominated products, which provide high commissions to the agent. Agents cater to the beliefs of uninformed consumers, even when those beliefs are wrong. We also find that agents appear to focus on maximizing the amount of premiums (and therefore commissions) that customers pay, as opposed to focusing on how much insurance coverage customers need.


Working Paper

Thematic Area

Financial Well-being and Social Protection