In an exclusive interview, Subhrajit Mukhopadhyay of Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance shares his views on the latest trends in the life insurance industry, as also how customer needs and behaviour have changed over the past few years.
There has been a major shift in customer needs, behaviour and more importantly — the customer mindset – over the last few years, prompted by rapid increase in digital adaption. While a few financial needs are intrinsic and mapped to various life stages, these are now perceived differently and customers want immediate gratification, attractive prices and convenience in services, says Subhrajit Mukhopadhyay, Chief & Appointed Actuary, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance. In an exclusive interview with Sanjeev Sinha, Mukhopadhyay shares his views on the latest trends in the life insurance industry, as also how customer needs and behaviour have changed over the past few years. Excerpts:
What are the major changes you have seen in the term plan category? Has customer awareness increased?
The changes in the term space are a reflection of the customer behaviour and perception of term plans. Over the years, price has been the major criteria for customers to consider a term plan. With more people embracing the digital ecosystem, we have observed an increased awareness about insurance, particularly term plans. With online space opening up a whole new world, though price still continues to remain an important element of consideration, it is not the only criteria considered for buying a term life. Earlier, term plans were offered until a certain age, but now there are plans that offer coverage beyond working years, reflecting the increase in life expectancy.
What change have you seen in terms of customer needs and behaviour over the past few years? How has that contributed to change in product designing across industry?
There has been a major shift in customer needs, behaviour and more importantly, the customer mindset over the last few years prompted by rapid increase in digital adaption. While a few financial needs are intrinsic and mapped to various life stages, these are now perceived differently and customers want immediate gratification, attractive prices and convenience in services. With more awareness among individuals, particularly in metros, it provides an opportunity to move from the traditional way of designing products and be more cognizant of these changes.
Given the change, we continuously attempt to offer product solutions that are dynamic, future-ready and abreast with the newer world. In line with our way of working, we engage with customers to identify their concerns, observe their behavioural patterns which help us gain deep insights about their mindset. This gradually helps us identify the right set of problems and enables us to develop differentiated products.
Many life insurers are laying a greater emphasis on protection policies. What are your plans?
Protection is the core of insurance business. Hence there was always an emphasis on these plans from our side. We are observing a shift in customer mindset and the way protection plans are now perceived and accepted. This also helped us in gaining fresh perspective towards term plans and this in turn facilitated us in designing a product with unique features which we recently launched, named Zindagi Plus.
For Zindagi Plus, we gathered many insights during the designing process which helped us create a comprehensive, all-inclusive solution that remains relevant in the absence of the breadwinner. With this product, we have enabled our customers to provide a financial protection for their dependents and go a step forward and covers their spouse as well.
We are keen on this segment and it will continue to be our focus. We will continue to closely monitor the evolving needs and customer behaviour providing us a clue to design products in this space.
What advice would you give our readers on both protection and investment?
When it comes to presenting solutions to our customers, we follow a need-based approach wherein as per the need of the customer, the suitable product is offered.
I would hence advice the readers to be conscious about their finances and plan for various life-stage financial needs from an early stage. I would suggest to prudently assess your current as well as future financial needs before you select a solution – whether protection or savings. This should be done after taking into consideration your current annual income, your expenses, and your standard of living, analyse all these along with your plans for the future, and select a plan that best suits your needs.
In addition, it is very important to know your risk-taking ability and that will help you in choosing an appropriate savings/ investment product.
Have Ulips truly become better? How are the new-age Ulips different from the predecessors?
The real change has come in the way the new age ULIPs address varying and evolving needs of the customers by offering attractive solutions. These solutions enable the customers to stay invested for a longer period, thereby fulfilling their objectives of long-term wealth creation for various purposes coupled with the protection cover.
How is Edelweiss Tokio Life’s need-based customer approach unique?
When it comes to presenting solutions to our customers, we follow a need-based approach wherein as per the need of the customer, the suitable solution is offered. At the very beginning of our journey, we recognised that we must take the onus of equipping people with the right tools to understand insurance better and provide the right advice to them. With this aim, we created an analytical tool, called Vijaypath, to help our customers understand their needs and offer the best-possible solution to them