An ‘unprecedented event’ and ‘the new normal’ have been two phrases that are heard the most in meeting rooms. The pandemic has brought about innovation and change effectively. It has made us reflect upon and review each and every process in our day-to-day activities. The lockdown made us redraft the entire operational manual.
In Kotak Life, we started re-designing our way of life with the first lockdown in March. This included how we interacted with our employees, agents and customers. We looked into how we could ease and deliver our promise of ‘Hum Hain Hamesha’ (We are there forever). We took some instant initiatives like setting up a dedicated email id for customers facing financial difficulties and wanting to surrender their policies. We replaced customers’ habits and the need for visiting branches, which were functional since life insurance has been a part of essential services.
Insurance has always been dependant on physical interactions and human touch. We saw how the traditional processes involved a lot of physical meetings with clients and paper documentation for collecting signatures or customer verifications. Going paperless and doing things instantly became our key driver for change. We wanted to offer ease of doing business to our sellers and ease of servicing to our customers.
During the lockdown, we enabled Aadhaar OTP-based proposal signatures instead of wet signatures. Thus, we didn’t have to meet our customers in person. Any mandatory documents required for closing sales, including travel and financial questionnaires, were converted into digital formats filed online. Even upload procedures for PAN and bank details were made instant and paperless. Customers only needed to add PAN and bank information to the sales app, National Securities Depository (NSDL). The customer’s bank would verify them instantly.
Getting a policy has become easy and paperless for customers. Our advisors do not have to leave the comfort of their homes, either for sourcing or concluding a sale.
During the lockdown, some customers wanted to access their funds. Earlier, they had to visit a branch to hand over policy documents. To ensure their safety, we implemented a dedicated email id on our website. Customers can now scan and send policy documents through email and get money into their accounts without stepping out.
We have digitised the registration process to enable automatic premium collection. We have also introduced E-NACH for customers’ benefit to carry out payments online. It gets processed on the same day. Based on feedback, we revamped the existing customer portal. We moved many more transactions on to the Kotak Life Insurance portal. These would have necessitated a branch visit in the past.
We have increased the number of service touchpoints available to customers by adding a virtual assistant on our website along with a WhatsApp bot. We have even started accepting selfies as proof of existence for enabling annuity payouts.
If there is still a mandatory requirement to visit the branch, we ensure all sanitisation and cleanliness guidelines are followed.
These initiatives have delivered great results in customer satisfaction. Each time new initiatives were rolled out, and as months went by, we noticed a rise in business indicators. We have all learnt and imbibed the lesson - we shall win only when we adapt: ‘Badlenge Hum, Toh Jeetenge Hum’.
The author is Joint President & Head - Financial Institutions, Employee Benefits, Marketing & Alliances, Kotak Life Insurance