CEO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, shares industry insights, health insurance initiatives & tech milestones:
Ravi Lalwani: According to a recent industry report, the non-life insurance sector experienced a growth rate of 16.4% in FY23, which is higher than the previous year’s growth rate of 11.1%. The major contributing factors to this growth were health and motor insurance. How do you see the growth, transformation, and innovation in other general insurance products such as travel insurance, property insurance, commercial insurance, asset insurance, pet insurance, and bite-sized insurance?
Tapan Singhel: The general insurance sector has immense scope to grow as its penetration is only 1% of the GDP. During the covid-19 pandemic, the demand for motor insurance decreased, but now that the economy is recovering, the need for vehicles is increasing, leading to a rise in demand for motor insurance. The pandemic also highlighted the importance of health insurance, resulting in growth in this sector.
Property and home insurance are expected to be the most prominent lines of business due to the increasing occurrences of natural calamities. Home insurance is particularly important, as it can help people bounce back and resume their lives after a calamity. The gap between economic loss and insured loss is wide and needs to be bridged by the insurers and the government.
Cyber and pet insurance are two products that are expected to continue to grow. There is a high demand for cyber insurance due to the looming cyber threats, while pet insurance now covers cats in addition to dogs. Travel insurance is also expected to grow as the travel industry is opening, and more and more Indians are traveling worldwide. Overall, the general insurance industry is poised for robust double-digit growth, and it is the right sector to invest in.
An industry survey highlights the top 5 issues that policyholders face with health insurance in India – delays in claim settlement, miscommunication regarding coverage, unfair terms and conditions, unsatisfactory service, and non-disclosure of important information. To address these problems, what strategies would you suggest for general insurance companies?
The insurance regulator has implemented various measures to ensure that insurers are consistent in their disclosures and marketing materials. However, the responsibility ultimately lies with both the insurer and the customer. Customers should carefully assess their insurance requirements by going through product brochures and asking questions of the person selling them health insurance. This will help them avoid any surprises later. It’s important that the buying decision is not influenced solely by the premium, but also by other factors like the insurer’s claim paying capability and reputation. Most importantly, the customer should be honest and declare any ailments or previous illnesses on the proposal form. If there is complete clarity regarding the policy terms, there will be very little friction during the time of claims. Customers need to understand the product as it’s an important financial decision. Being fully aware of the policy will eliminate many issues. Insurers are raising awareness, enhancing training, and ensuring consistent and simplified language for customers. As these improvements progress, trust in the system will grow.
Which were the top 3 technology milestones achieved at BAGIC in 2022-2023?
I believe that technology is a means to an end. It should simplify the lives of our customers, partners, and employees. At Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, we have implemented three key technologies: Hybrid Cloud, API Vault, and Anveshek Investigation Platform.
We pride ourselves on being the first insurer to move our core policy admin system to the clouds. This move has enhanced the system’s availability, scalability, security, and performance. Our API Vault has made the entire integration process more democratic and autonomous. We started by improving our teams’ API design, deployment, and maintenance. The API Vault offers a range of features, including documentation tools, security measures, sandbox environments, high availability, analytics, and monitoring capabilities. It reduces partner integration time and resource requirements, providing enhanced reliability and security.
Anveshek is our all-in-one investigation platform, which provides users with a seamless experience by bringing together all the concerned users and functionalities under one umbrella. The platform employs various digitization methods, enabling faster implementation and scaling up, while boosting multi-department collaboration. It empowers us to track 100% of the requests and queries and implement automation tools.
We will continue to invest in technology and innovation to ensure that we provide the best-in-class services to our partners and customers.