Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Digitisation is making insurance customer-centric

Digital infrastructure transforming insurance sector, says Tapan Singhel

By Tapan Singhel

Let’s reflect on a scenario few years back. In 2001, if you lodged a claim for your car, it would take the insurer three to four months to settle the claim. Subsequently, we introduced cashless claim settlement and the settlement of claim started happening at the dealership. Today we have come to a threshold where motor insurance customers can get their claim on the spot of the accident. The insurance industry has existed in India for over 150 years, yet the penetration has been less than 3 per cent. Today, digitisation has opened opportunities for us and has given us a breakthrough to deal with challenges that we have been battling for over decades.

Solutions at your doorstep
Digital infrastructure and rise in mobile connectivity in the country has enabled insurers to directly sell online to customers and provide all policy or insurance related information through mobile phones or tabs. Employees and business partners armed with smartphones and cashless payment solutions are not only facilitating efficiency but are also taking insurance to customer’s doorstep and into unrepresented geographies. It also ensures that the collection of data is also systematised, enabling insurers to use more analytics in underwriting, claims and curbing frauds.
 Insurers today are not limiting the transformation to just segments such as claim settlement or convenience in making a purchase but they are also innovating and using technology for product modelling, better service and continuous engagement. Considerable progress has been made when it comes to offering motor, health and travel insurance solutions to customers on an online or mobile platform. These products can be easily bought and renewed by the customer either online or via a mobile device within a couple of minutes.
 The future will see influx of flexible and simple products that can be tailored according to the need of an individual and bought conveniently through mobile platforms with minimal documentation. For example if a family is looking at a home insurance cover for protection against burglary only for the specific time period when they are on a holiday, they should easily be able to tailor the product that fits their requirement as well as the budget.
 When it comes to claims, a customer today can instantly lodge a claim using a mobile app and upload details of the loss which ensures that the insurer can access and assess the loss faster. In order to further ease the process, in the near future, we are planning to launch a facility where the customer will not only be able to lodge claims through the mobile app but will also be able to survey and settle their own claims within 30 minutes. Once the customer uploads the required documents and claim details along with the pictures of the damaged parts, we will send the customer the claim estimate and if the customer accepts the estimate, the claim amount will be transferred into the account immediately.
 The future offers an exciting prospect to the Indian insurance sector. Even as technology evolves and new age innovations like telematics catch on, it may fundamentally change the way in the future insurance is sold in the form of generic policies and pave the way for insurers to offer more personalised and simple solutions to customers that also extend beyond insurance. The time is not far when your insurance provider will not just provide you with a cover against a plausible risk but will predict the risk and prevent the loss for you.


Tapan Singhel is MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance