Money & Banking

Insurance advisory to go digital in a big way

K.R. Srivats New Delhi | Updated on April 10, 2020

Insurers are responding to Covid-19 with speed and imagination. Under the new conditions in a Covid-19-affected world, insurers are bracing for changes in both consumer behaviour as well as in the adoption of distribution channels.

One expected fallout is the trend of insurance advisory going digital from the current physical mode, especially when advisors can no longer meet face-to-face with customers on account of social distancing norms, say industry players.

The way demonetisation brought good tidings to the digital payments industry, the pandemic is bound to bring structural shift in the insurance advisory business, Anup Seth, Chief Retail Officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance (ETLI), told BusinessLine. With digital advisory taking off, consumption of insurance will move to a different level, he said. “I see two to three structural changes happening. With social distancing norms in place, I see an irreversible behaviour of new category of online insurance advisory getting built. Every time a big event happens, it creates a category or kills a category.

Consumers who were trusting online as category to buy other products such as travel, e-commerce and classifieds, will, in some manner, start adapting to digital purchase of insurance. Second, offline advisors who were only using digital on-boarding tools, will now start using digital tools to advice,” said Seth.

Dial to success

The company, which has 121 branches and caters to 600 cities, has now defined seven to eight different profiles of customers; through analytics for different profiles, it has put in place different pre-engagement, engagement and post-engagement onboarding process for customers in the ‘Dial to Success’ App. There is both personalisation on seller type (who will mostly work from home) and personalisation of customers and ease of entire utility.

“We are very hopeful we will be able to create a first mover advantage (in digital advisory) through this Dial to Success tool,” said Seth.

Seth also sees changes in the cost model in in the wake of the lockdown. People will now go for more smaller offices and digital medium of selling because ‘work from home’ is likely to be a permanent one for the life insurance industry, he said.

“In March, 100 per cent of our customer onboarding was digital. It was 90 per cent in February. From now on, no looking back, and we will only be 100 per cent digital riding the digital wave,” he said.

Girish Nayak, Chief, Customer Service, Technology and Operations, ICICI Lombard GIC, said: “With the current pandemic across the world, primarily, we had to enable IT infrastructure that will help most employees work remotely.

“For us, this is a great opportunity to test the work-from-home concept, and we are hoping that these new ways of working will highlight the benefits of working from home and may also lead to increased flexibility for both organisations and individuals.”

Published on April 10, 2020

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