The life insurance sector has huge potential to grow as it is one of the important pillars for financial protection of life stage goals. The only need is to raise awareness levels, knowledge on the products and better understanding to differentiate each financial tool according to individual goals. Here are my predictions for the insurance sector in 2017.
Digital a new buzz
Digital transformation has played the role of a game-changer for the insurance industry, leading to product innovation and better pricing. The digital era that started nearly a decade back has made insurance products simpler and easier to understand. The disruption has been transforming customer behaviour and leading to more informed choices as consumers make their decisions after thoughtful research, keeping in mind specific financials goals. With the thrust on Digital India and recent announcements of discounts for online purchase, insurance as a category is likely to turn completely cashless in 2017.
A key driver in business performance is customer satisfaction and loyalty. A small rise in customer retention ratio can change customer life time value, especially in an era where customer has more power to compare, choose and buy insurance plans. The digital era has changed the consumer mindset, making them active consumers rather than passive ones. The cost of attracting new customers is four times more than retaining existing ones; therefore, customer retention strategy will be a key business agenda in 2017.
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Insurance for financial safety
Minimising tax liability is often desirable for investors. Life insurance is one such tool that has been sold as a savings product in the past. However, the primarily objective of insurance is to secure the future of your loved ones and ensure financial stability.
Digital is gradually changing customer perception. An increase in the number of daily visitors to insurance comparison portals, and their interaction with customer care executives, asking them about the features and benefits of pure life insurance plans indicate that life insurance is today seen as a pure protection product rather than just a tax-saving or investment instrument. This attitudinal shift will only grow and become a norm in 2017, as people are expected to embrace life insurance for protection.
ULIPs to emerge
Unit-linked insurance plans (Ulips) are now considered to be much better product than earlier. Before 2010, Ulips were expensive due to high premium allocation and fund management charges but after the regulatory changes made by Irdai in 2010, the industry witnessed complete overhaul of the product which has been beneficial for the end-users.
The writer is co-founder & CEO, PolicyBazaar.com