Money & Banking

'Covid-19 has augmented need for insurance, particularly, health insurance'

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on August 12, 2020 Published on August 12, 2020

PC Kandpal, Managing Director and CEO, SBI General Insurance

SBI General Insurance will focus on rural markets and bite-sized products, says MD and CEO, PC Kandpal

It’s business as usual for SBI General Insurance, which believes that the first quarter was quite positive and is rolling out new products despite the Covid-19 pandemic and slowdown. In an interview with BusinessLine, its new Managing Director and CEO PC Kandpal, said the insurer will focus on rural markets, bite-sized products and distribution network. excerpts:

What is your strategy and priority for the company?

We have a clear vision to focus on market share as there is huge potential in the general insurance sector. We have a three-point strategy — build on the SBI brand, (build on the) distribution strength (which) enables us to reach every nook and corner of India, and build capabilities in digitisation and process optimisation.

We have recently revamped our new brand identity with our new brand promise of ‘Suraksha aur Bharosa Dono’. Also, we want to leverage our distribution network since India has low (insurance) penetration.

Do you think there is sufficient demand in rural markets for insurance?

Yes, we have narrowed our focus areas on majorly three priorities. We want deeper penetration in health, home and contents of the home, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) against business interruption uncertainty. We would also like to focus on product innovation by keeping products simple and thinking digital such as bite-sized products. We would like to reach rural markets, from where we currently get 25 per cent of our business. We are providing personal insurance cover, insurance for farming equipment and shelters and also crop insurance.

Are there any plans for listing?

We have plans but we are waiting for the right time and the right valuation

Insurance sales have been impacted by the pandemic. How is SBI General faring?

So far, conditions are not so bad for the industry, as most of the lines of businesses are returning to normalcy. Renewals are encouraging too. Segments of health, property and SME have done fairly well

Motor business was not doing well even pre-Covid-19, but from June it is showing signs of revival. SBI General embraced digitisation two years ago, which has helped. We have seen an uptick in renewals in the first quarter and overall the quarter was positive for us. It is business as usual for us despite Covid-19. The pandemic has only augmented the need for insurance, particularly, health insurance.

Are you looking at any new products?

We are shortly going to launch a couple of products that are simple and apt for the need of the hour. Keeping the focus on rural markets, one of the products is on tele medicine consultation that can help customers a lot. We are also working on a product that benefits farmers, in particular, by covering their equipment. Three of our ideas have been approved for regulatory sandbox.

How are your Covid Kavach and Rakshak products doing? Can you share numbers on Covid-19-related claims?

. We are waiting for these products to be made available on group platforms, to make it available for a larger audience. The standard health insurance — Arogya Sanjeevani — is also doing well. We have sold almost 11,000 policies and have got a special approval to provide the same on group platform.

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Published on August 12, 2020
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