Life insurers must create customised content which can be delivered at the point of need
The year 2019 has been a significant year for the Indian life insurance industry where despite it being a dynamic election year, facing moderate GDP growth, diminishing interest rates (repo rates) that went down by 135 bps and volatile stock markets, the industry has been able to continue its high growth. The dynamism of the industry has been buoyed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India’s (Irdai) focus on bringing in new product regulations aimed at providing superior product selection for protection and long-term needs of the consumer.
New product regulations
New product regulations such as increase in revival period, enhanced guaranteed surrender value, minimum death benefit of seven times for regular premium products and 1.25 times for single premium products, amongst others, have brought in substantial benefits for the customer, who now has greater flexibility of managing his corpuses per changing needs. Also, a significant step towards pension and retirement products where because of commutation parity with the National Pension Scheme (NPS), retirement products are expected to pick up and offer customers enhanced benefits.
The first of its kind Life Insurance Council’s mass media campaign “Sabse Pehle Life Insurance” was path-breaking. Also, Irdai (Regulatory Sandbox) Regulations, 2019 will empower the industry towards creating new pro-customer products and service solutions.
Year of insuretech
The year of insuretech—2019—has seen life insurance providers joining hands with insuretech startups to help nurture an environment of solution-based innovation. This focus on insuretech is expected to amplify into the coming year as well where 24×7 digital access to service and solutions, larger implementation of chat-bots, self-help web modules and innovative digital service desks will help provide a superior customer experience and ease of interacting with life insurers.
Digitalisation and better understanding of consumer needs will help in connecting with consumers and start a trend of protecting micro-moments of the vast Indian population. Here, synchronisation of human-digital interaction in terms of more digitally enabled agency and bancassurance networks will power insurance selling. By integrating Artificial Intelligence powered automation and Big Data into product selling, an intuitive product aligned seller network can be developed.
2020: The road ahead
Realigned product designs, growing focus on digital as an enabler, innovative insuretech solutions, and greater awareness of the true purpose of life insurance in consumers’ lives is expected to ensure a continual growth in the sector. In pursuit of the same, innovations in terms of product design, delivery and customer service have to be aligned to make the end-user experience seamless. Enabling a larger outreach to the millennials, the year 2020 will be a year of renewed focus for the industry. Hence, the need would be to create customised content, which offer greater efficiency and productivity enabling superior returns to the consumers, to be delivered at the point of need to help these consumers make an informed choice.
Also, the focus will have to be on building life insurance as a lucrative career option for sellers, who will also need to be digitally equipped to seamlessly move from being distributors to becoming trustworthy financial advisors to the customers. Standing at a cusp of greater potential, the Indian life insurance industry needs to take these conscious step to ensure incisive last mile reach to potential customers and help realise the vision of ‘life insurance for all’.
The writer is MD & CEO, Max Life Insurance