#10 Kapil Mathur - Key Person Insurance

Kapil Mathur is the Vice President of Business Protection at Holborn Assets. He studied in a school built for the royals, changed industries from robotics to lubricants to insurance with ease and found his meaning in life when he lost someone very important to him.




One of my family members happened to pass away. He was, again an SME business owner. I never spoke to him while I would talk to my clients, and I would talk to people outside, but I never spoke to my own brother. 


That was Kapil Mathur, the vice president of business protection at Hallborn Assets. Kapil specializes in a very interesting niche in the insurance segment called Key Man Insurance. But he started out in robotics. Yes, robotics. How did the career change happen? Where did he start from? And what exactly is key man insurance? Let's find out. This is his story.


Hello there. Welcome to the first episode of a new month. I'm Aamer Khan, and this is Aamer Medium Podcast, a podcast that talks to people and about them, too. We take out the most significant experiences of an individual and package it in the form of a story, sharing those with you. We narrate people's journeys in the simplest way we can. There's a new person every episode, so do check out the previous ones. 


I'm sure you'll find someone to relate to. Let's start with this one, shall we? Kapil Mathur is a person who brings rightfully deserved checks to a grieving family. That's his job and quite a fulfilling one for him. Still didn't get it? Well, here's an example. 


You're running a business and SME. You might be doing it on your own, or you might be in a partnership. Point is, you're the key person to run the business, and let's value your business at $2 million. Your family does not necessarily have an idea of how to run your business entirely. 


So, God forbid, something were to happen to you, the business goes belly up, and the creditors line up. Employees leave to sustain their own living. What exactly happens to your family? Your husband or wife or kids may be able to take over, but sometimes they would not. What happens then? That's when Kapil comes in. The key person niche in the insurance segment protects and isolates your business from your family. 


And so if you do not happen to be there tomorrow, the $2 million, the value of your business, or to reach your family regardless, it is pretty interesting, and it's been there for very long, but hasn't really caught on. 


Kapil has a passion for doing this. He does it with all his heart. But this is not the beginning of a story. The beginning of a story, and dare we say otherwise, was very royal.


Kapil: When I was born, so everybody gets a token, RS100 or whatever the child is born. So one of my uncles, instead of giving my parents a small token, he filled up the form for my admission to Mayor College, Ajmir. So Mayor College is known as Ethan of the east. 


Aamer: If you Google it and if you see the pictures of the College, it was a school set up in 1847 for the Rajput Princess in Ajmer. Their history is Rajputs were basically a warring clan. They would keep fighting amongst themselves, like today Russia's fighting Ukraine. 


Imagine that situation in Pakistan. So all these principles to be at war with each other, expanding the territory or whatever. The British found that to be of a bit of conflict. So they said, why not we create a school where all children of these boring clans go together and study at the same place? 


Because you would never find a friend. That's where he studied. And naturally, it was a boarding school for people who have gone to boarding schools. The reality is that you make very good friends there because that's who you spend the most time with. 


You make some amazing memories there too. Kapil has been in the financial services sector for pretty long now. But one of his first incidents with a lot of money didn't exactly go according to plan. 


Kapil: But my mother gave me Rs60 as my pocket money for three months. So when I came back, I had Rs60 in my pocket. I'm nine years old, so guess what I did? I had a huge fascination of blind kites. 


So outside of the thing, there was a shop, which was a grocery store and everything, but he had a small section for kites. So I went over there and I bought kite and the chalky and the manga for Rs60. I spent it all and I bought some chewing gums and I bought bubble gum and I bought chocolates and I got all that. 


I didn't realize the Rs60 for three months, but I spent it in that one evening and I came home with all this stuff. So that significant memory still brings a smile to my face. One of the first lessons in finance learnt early on plan your expenditure and your savings. That's what Kapil didn't. But could you blame a kid and his love for kites? At the time, Kapil was an outgoing person, friendly and easily approachable. 


But his dad's family had either doctors, engineers or architects. And there was some pretty good peer pressure right there. So Kapil did his engineering and computer science, which started in Kashmir. But unfortunately, due to the conflict, he shifted to Mumbai to complete the rest of it. He did his marketing and MBA from NMIMS. 


But before that he had a stint in industrial robotics and industry that still hadn't been discovered in depth postmangineering. I did two years in industrial robotics and I was working for this company called CFLX Robotics, which was a subsidiary of Yasca electric operation. The world's largest robotic vendor in the world. So all your Japan plants, Toyota, Nissan, all the Japanese Mitsubishi, all these Japanese companies deploy motor man in a very big way at that point in time. 


When I'm talking about the late were about four or five robotic vendors at that point in time. In fact, I got into robotics much before it came off age. Something is not adding up, but it will in a few seconds. Kapil was clearly not the kind of person you would see doing engineering. 


He loves conversations, and he has a keen sense of understanding his products and needs to be out there in front of customers. And by the way, in one way or the other, he definitely was in front of customers. 


Kapil: I'm a people's person. I've been a people's person from my childhood. I always had friends, always had people, always like talking to people. So even in my days when I was doing engineering, I used to do these jobs for pocket money where I would do surveys, market research surveys. 


So I did this market research surveys for companies like Mercedes with telco, when Mercedes was setting up their subsidiary out here, I did research on that, and I worked with the world bank, and I used to do that. Pocket money has to get paid very well. And I used to go and meet these people in my blazer and formals, and I would be beating seals of companies, and they would see this boy standing over there for market. 


And I want to ask you all these questions I tried on that. 


Aamer: There was always a part of his life that stuck with talking to people, even when he was doing his engineering. In fact, he found the robotics job while he was doing market research surveys. He worked there for a while and then changed industries completely. Yes, he went from robotics to lubricants. And when you're out there in the market, you're more exposed to such opportunities. 


And when the opportunity came up to work for Castro India, well, he didn't hesitate at all. 


Kapil: So I have done pretty much a transition at various stages, and I'm very comfortable transitioning industries because you carry a core skill set with you anywhere you go. When I transition to lubricants, for example, I studied the chemical composition of lubricants, which was part of my subject my first year, called applied chemistry.


So in engineering, I did 44 subjects of science, and each of the subjects applied physics, applied maths, engineering, drawing all the things that you learn in your education, every single one of them forms a building block in your life. The job transitions are pretty drastic, and they're drastic for a reason. 


Aamer: Kapil hadn't found the right thing for him yet. He had spent six years at Castrol, which equates to forever in today's generation. He joined Castro as a senior sales executive and left it as sales manager. And there are quite some things he learned in his time at Castro, but one vivid memory that lies with him is in relation to punctuality. And we definitely think you wouldn't want to be in that position at that point in time. 


Kapil: For example, I once reached late for a meeting because I got stuck in the traffic, and so I had to go for a distributor conference. And my superboss, who was the general manager of the region happened to be there dot at 03:00. And I walked in at three, five or three or whatever, and he was already there. 


And he looked at me and he said he looked at his watch, and he started tapping his watch. And he didn't say anything to me, he just tapped at his watch. And I got the message and that person, and we are still in touch after 20 odd years. And I said his name, whatever his name was, I said, I've learnt a new lesson today of punctuality. 


Both of them encountered a similar traffic, but he used to reach 15 minutes. If you had a 05:00 meeting, he would plan for being there at 445. 


Aamer: Well, punctuality does play an important role in your life, and so does commitment, dedication, perseverance, all the big words. But if there is something that you should look for before you do all of that, it's something that's far greater and far more important than all the words above, and that is your specific meaning to life. 


Kapil left Castro and went on to join ICICI Prudential in search for the same. 


Kapil: Those are the days that India was opening up to the insurance space. And ICICI and lot of these multinational companies were not hiring from LIC, which was the only company they were looking at people who had a retail, who had experience with so they were hiring people from Castro, from other places, people who came with an FMCG background. Now, I happen to be there at that point in time and in the training program that they put me through. We were made to watch a video called The Widow Story. 


You can even google it and watch the whole thing. But I watched the entire thing and I realized this is the story of every home. Somebody has passed away with a cardiac arrest or had cancer or whatever. How the family is grappling emotionally. They're devastated enough. 


God can help over there. Nobody else can do anything. But the financial devastation that gets unleashed, there is a way to not protect it to a large extent. My father used to tell me how his family went through a situation. My grandfather passed away very young, stuff like that, and it touched me. 


Something that touches you inside has a very deep influence on the way you start thinking. Something that touches you inside has a very deep influence on the way you start thinking. 


Aamer: Kapil's thinking had changed. He had suddenly stumbled upon his meaning of life, but he didn't know it completely then. He wanted to do this. He was good at it. It gave him the fulfillment he needed. But the realization struck him elsewhere. 


The deeper meaning in life actually struck him in the by. But before that, we have to listen to why he moved there entirely. 


Kapil: And at that point in time, when I was about 30, 31, I did finish my cash flow, worked at Ici for two years. Then I thought, why not explore a career abroad and look at Dubai? And as luck would have it, because of my background in insurance and financial services, I joined Standard Charter Bank here on the way. 


I think that for about a good six years as well. And I saw the quality of life here. No taxation in India. I would pay a massive tax on my salary. Number one. And what really got me out of Bombay was the traffic leaving my house in the morning at 630, going to reach at 830, starting off again at 536 from my office, coming home by 732 hours on this thing and day in, day out. 


And I still even work sometimes on weekends because massive sales pressures, massive sales targets. So with all that, I reached a point, I said, financially, I can do better. Outside from quality of life, I can do much better. 


Then I moved to Dubai. 


Aamer: And for the dream come true, the amount of high net worth individuals coming out of India to the UAE is appalling. And Kapil was always ahead of his time, be it robotics or migration. He moved to Dubai way before anyone did. But he didn't anticipate the opportunities that would open up for him here. 


In his pursuit of sharing his passion of business protection, he joined something called the Million Dollar Round Table. That's where he realized his deeper meaning in life. 


Kapil: So I was involved with something called the Million Dollar Round Table, which is the top 2% financial advisors worldwide. There's a body called the billion dollar round table. And at the MDRT there is a case, there is a sharing of best practices. 


And one of those things over there which I felt had a huge scope and it wasn't being addressed, was the concept of keynote insurance, because it's a massive market, a virgin market, and nobody's talking to them because it needs a certain skill set and expertise. I worked on that and it worked for me beautifully. As you can see, I finally found my place within shopify. So all my life I was searching for something where my work had a far deeper meaning than just a nine to five or something. 


And when I got into this business and the work that we do, we are the only guys who actually take a check to a family that has going through their worst nightmare of losing the breadwinner. We are the only professionals who actually go with a check when everybody else comes with condolences. 


Aamer: And to know that, to feel that is a very empowering feeling. And once you have that feeling, what do you do? You continue doing the same thing every single day of your life. Why? Because that feeling is almost immortalized. That's why you're able to do it every day. Yes, some days are tougher than usual, but the purpose is untouched. The drive is still the same. 


Just because you have found what you're looking for doesn't give you unlimited willpower, but it sure gives you the ability to bounce back after a difficult day, week or even month. And sometimes, just sometimes, the feeling is deeply embedded into you. 


Kapil does what he does so passionately because of something he did not do. And there are some incidents in life that hit you, that change you, that impact your journey. These incidents are unforeseen, there's no way to predict them, but they're almost inevitable for Kapil.


The reason why he's so driven in his pursuit to spread the word about key person insurance is that he lost an important person in his life without having done what he so dearly preached about. 


Kapil: You know, in the life insurance business we are very reluctant to talk to our family members for sounding salesie or pushy or whatever, and one of my family members happened to pass away. He was again an SME business owner. I never spoke to him while I would talk to my clients and I would talk to people outside, but I never spoke to my own brother about financial protection for his family or whatever. 


And when he passed away, I felt that I had in some way not measured up in my own eyes. I should have spoken to him, I should have got those contracts in place for him because we don't know when it is going to happen to us and by the way, we had spoken but it was always like let's do it sometime, so it stayed in, let's do it sometime, let's meet up, let's discuss. 


But we didn't put a date to it, we didn't close it, because I also felt that let's initiate it and do it. So that was one time when I felt very sad that I had not done what I was supposed to do. And from that point on, he never failed to pull out any stops to do what he was supposed to. 


Aamer: But the feeling of turning back time and going through the process of getting him the insurance, that feeling remains somewhere. The feeling of what you could have done and you didn't. The opportunity was right there in front of him but he never thought about it twice because why would you think about something bad happening to one of your own? It's a question you never ask yourself. But the hard-hitting reality is you're not invincible. 


And Kapil learnt a lot from this incident. What can be done tomorrow can also be done now. This is why he never delays what he's supposed to do. Just to mention he was one of the few guests that immediately agreed to come onto the podcast and we scheduled and closed it all within two days. That's the kind of life Kapil lives. The kind where not even a second is wasted. 


And that's how he intends to live life, even in the future. He looks forward to helping more and more families. And he does it with the same amount of zeal, passion, energy that he had when he started. And that, for you, was Kapil Mathur finding his deeper meaning in life.


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Next up, we have Ajeeth Kumar, someone in the health care industry who does not have a background in biology. 


Somebody else was working for healthcare company and he said, why don't you give this a try? I was not exactly the right candidate for anything to do with healthcare. I hated biology. When I was in school, I took it up and told myself about six months is what I'm going to spend on this. It's been about 27 years and I'm stuck with the portfolio, but not managed to find an escape. 


But that's all. Find out more about him in the next one. Stay tuned and goodbye for now. Bye.