The demand for online transactions increased with the onset of the Covid pandemic in 2020. The insurance industry, among many others, stepped in to cater to this demand and changed some policies which fructified in 2021.
While newer insurers took a lead in selling insurance directly online, others too have started selling directly through their apps and websites. “While 100 per cent of our business is online, 70-80 per cent comes directly from our website,” says Animesh Das, head, product strategy, Acko General Insurance.
Here’s how digitalisation simplified the insurance buying process:
From life to health and other general policies like motor insurance, contactless onboarding has become the norm.
“One of the key aspects that digitalisation has pushed is the do-it-yourself mode of buying insurance. More policies are now available in DIY mode on websites of insurers and web aggregators. Even insurance channels have shifted online,” says Sanjay Datta, chief, underwriting and claims, ICICI Lombard General Insurance.
For example, to buy life insurance, you can go through the Know Your Customer (KYC) process online now. “We have leveraged our existing digital capabilities and integrated our onboarding digital enablers together on a single collaborative platform, bridging the physical and digital divide,” says Ganessan Soundiram, chief technology officer, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance.
Even health covers that need buyers to undergo medical tests in certain cases, don’t need a physical interface anymore. “Medical records of pre-existing diseases or otherwise can be scanned and submitted. Tele underwriting is a reality so bots will reach out to you for routine queries on health,” says Datta.
New-age covers provide specific solutions and are, therefore, simple to understand for the buyers and to issue for the sellers. They usually come bundled with other services such as payment or cab aggregators and e-commerce companies, among others. “Insurance will increasingly become more contextual to a person’s needs and easy to buy, so that customers do not have to spend additional time evaluating them,” says Abhishek Bondia, principal officer and managing director, SecureNow.in, an insurance broking firm.
These covers work for specific situations: covering the everyday taxi trip with an accident insurance or taking a missed flight cover while going to the airport against traffic jams, accidents or other unforeseen events.
Das explains with an example that Acko General Insurance provides Zomato delivery agents. “They need a cover while they are on the road because that’s the risky part; not while they are at home. These small covers won’t charge for the whole time but only while they are working,” says Das. Without a digital tool, this was impossible, he adds.
Faster Turnaround Time
More companies and distributors are using the artificial intelligence (AI) model and bots, which has reduced the overall turnaround time of issuing policies. For instance, for health claims, relevant information is culled out from all the documents shared by a customer and classified under categories such as discharge summary, doctor notes, pharmacy bills and so on. “This acts as a catalyst in expediting processes and communicating with customers should there be any missing or incorrect documents,” says Vishal Shah, head of data science, Digit Insurance.
In auto insurance, video assessment by customers and workshops for own-damage claims has made the process much faster. With physical inspections, insurers would sometimes take up to a week to inform the customer whether their vehicle would be underwritten or not.
The insurance industry is moving away from the traditional insurance branch offices to app-based models, while face-to-face meetings have given way to audio, video and virtual interactions, online chats, and voice assistance. The more the dots are joined, the more seamless the experience will be in future. “Integration with hospitals is being thought through. Things like patients’ health records being completely digital to ease the claims process, or easy accessibility of airline data to make travel insurance automated where you don’t even need to lodge a claim are the way forward,” says Datta.
But there are some chink in the insurance industry’s armour as far as digitalisation goes. To know more, read here