How has COVID-19 impacted the insurance industry in India?
COVID-19 has impacted all industries across the globe, and insurance is no exception. While automobile, travel, and logistics insurance saw a decline, the demand for life and health insurance has grown significantly. The consumer mindset has also changed, with more and more people opting for insurance to safeguard their interests.
The insurance agents, brokers, underwriters, claim adjudicators, and providers, are facing operational challenges due to a disjointed IT infrastructure. With restrictions placed on on-field activities, insurers need to rely on technology to accommodate remote interactions and paperless transactions, streamline channels for policy renewals, and automate underwriting and policy servicing.
Insurance companies that had adopted digital ahead of the pandemic were better prepared to overcome the obstacles. For the rest, COVID-19 has increased the urgency to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives.
What are the top three trends that you see in the insurance industry, the post-pandemic world?
We are experiencing an overhaul in the way insurers operate, with product innovation taking the front seat to enable future-ready enterprises.
- It is high time insurance companies reviewed and revised how their policies are worded. For instance, they must consider disclosures on the impact of the pandemic on the risk profile, macroeconomic and industry factors, and liquidity
- Insurers need to redesign their products to meet the evolving demands of the market, such as use-based insurance products and policies specifically designed to cover the rising number of gig workers across the globe
- We can also see the emergence of simple insurance products, pre-underwritten and with fixed prices, that can be sold and serviced directly through remote channels
What are the top three technologies that would enable the insurance industry during COVID and beyond?
Technology has been a critical asset in enabling the insurance industry during the pandemic. In the current circumstances and beyond, the following technologies will prove to be critical:
- Low code digital automation platform for quicker product rollouts, new riders, and endorsements
- Modern technologies, including cloud, mobility, and artificial intelligence (AI), for touchless operations and anytime, anywhere access
- Advanced analytics and connected devices for real-time data monitoring and remote assessment
Insurance, especially life and health, is largely dependent on human interactions. The restriction in face-to-face interactions is a major issue that has cropped up due to COVID-19, further emphasizing the importance of digital to bridge communication silos. There’s an inherent need to reimagine the distribution model and make the best use of online portals and self-servicing platforms to make life easier for the customers.
Insurers are also overloaded with high volumes of incoming customer requests. Manual handling of such queries might result in an agent missing out on a potential sale or an upsell opportunity.
How are insurance companies managing the customer experience during this pandemic?
Insurers today are leveraging digital capabilities, including mobility and video KYC processes, to provide a paperless and remote onboarding experience to their customers. Technology has enabled insurers to facilitate remote underwriting, claims settlement, and policy servicing. This provides customers with a safe and secure way to interact with insurance providers.
Additionally, insurers are driving personalized customer communication across multiple channels and providing uninterrupted support by automating their customer engagement processes.
Will AI play a role in the insurance industry in India? What are the potential use cases?
COVID-19 has made the insurers realize that they need AI to remotely capture and analyze customer data, such as demographics, medical history, and treatment expenses. The detailed data analytics will help insurers create smarter underwriting, develop more suitable products, and detect fraudulent claims.
AI-based chatbots can be leveraged to respond to customer queries and offer product recommendations based on policy requirements. Furthermore, AI can be used to create bespoke insurance products to cater to the customers requesting for additional coverage in the new normal.