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InsureNext: Claims & Technology – the Ultimate Experience

In 2023, in terms of the expectations from the insurance providers have changed, people crave more simplicity and prefer digital interaction without leaving their homes, they also expect personalized support in terms of processing. All this is going to be based on how you use technology to come up with their expectation as insurers. Edited excerpts from the panel discussion at InsureNext 2023:

InsureNext: Claims & Technology - the Ultimate Experience


Kirti Patil, Joint President – IT & CTO, Kotak Life Insurance

RKT Krishnan, Country Head, Claims & Assessment, Royal Sundaram General Insurance

Ankit Goenka, Customer Experience, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance

Anjana Rao, Chief Strategy Officer, IndiaFirst Life Insurance

Priya Gilbile, Chief Operating Officer, ManipalCigna Health Insurance

Navin Sahni, Senior Vice President, Bharti AXA Life Insurance

K.V. Kartik, Partner, Deloitte India (Moderator)

K.V. Kartik: What is the big picture when we talk about technology and how it is being used by the insurance industry? What the success looks like for an insurer in this new digital world?

Kirti Patil: The uncertainty and loss of lives, is that customers have become aware of insurance. During the first wave, we saw customers reaching out to us if the nominee is there and if the address was correct, etc. Digital adoption has accelerated. Next, we all got used to self-service and all that was seen as normal all across. Also, customers are expecting an Omni channel experience. Earlier the processes were physical. Finally, CX has to be very personalized. No one wants a message that begins with “Dear Customer”. Video usage has increased.

Navin Sahni: Insurance penetration started increasing. There was a fundamental shift in what customers wanted. They demand a simple product which they could understand. They were not interested in face-to-face interactions. As a result, products had to be simplified. So customer engagement and serving have changed fundamentally. Because of uncertainty, people were unsure whether they will be able to continue paying a premium, wondering whether they should invest in insurance or savings.

Priya Gilbile: We along with the healthcare sector, were in the face of the void. For customers, it was lives vs livelihood challenge. We were compared with tech giants and have a 24×7 support system. We had to move to BCP in 24-48 hours. So, we had to move to the call center. Insurance continues to be sold as a matter of trust. The selling journey went through a change. Making the consumer feel confident was very important. The entire back-end operations went through a change. Chatbots and IVR calls and AI/ML engines to process the needs. A lot of innovation in tele-medicine has happened.

Now as claims come, they get scanned and send to the depository. Then, the rest of the procedure is followed.

K.V. Kartik: How was technology helped in this area, especially the customer experience and how do you meet your customer expectations?

Ankit Goenka: BAGIC is in the business for the last 21 years. We have data on all claims. We make use of technology to put that data on the cloud and apply the AI power along with photogrammetry. We ask customers to upload photos and settle claims in 15 minutes. In all this technology is playing a very vital role, especially in the field of claims. The key is to explore the data which is available for all the companies. It’s up to you how to utilize it.

K.V. Kartik: What are the top technologies which are disrupting the insurance industry and how are you leveraging that to differentiate yourself?

Anjana Rao: The digital native population is mandating the insurance companies on how they would like to transact and get serviced. They want to get smaller coverage at a smaller price. Customers want a connected experience across devices. Bundling insurance with an e-commerce ecosystem, without coming to an insurance website or chatbot. They want to go through the 3-dimensional metaverse and have an immersive experience. They want that there should be a proactive claim intimation. They ask if is there any possibility through which an insurance company can come to know about death itself, as most of the time nominees are not aware of all the policies taken by that person.

RKT Krishnan: Earlier also we were aware of technology but in the industry, there was hesitation about the customer acceptance of digitalization and the pandemic showed that customers are more digital than we thought. Now talking about disruption, disruption happens when there is an opportunity waiting to be exploited. The time of transaction and quality of a transaction can be improved. And most importantly, the cost of the transaction can come down. Insurance is all about cost leadership, ie, least cost to the insurance company and providing the same level to the customers. From the general insurers’ perspective, it helps us to validate the customer proposals and reduces the acceptance time of the proposal. Analytics helped hugely. Claims assessment became more digital as video usage is going up. Even in the health sector, some organizations are trying to consolidate the hospitals and provide single-point data. In this way, TP and the insurance industry are well-equipped to work together.

K.V. Kartik: How do you think that technology has helped you in that?

Priya Gilbile: As we spoke about the connected devices experience, even if someone hires a cab to go to a hospital, how can an insurer get an alert that your customer is taking a cab to the hospital and is going to get admitted or maybe he is facing an emergency. How could we alert them proactively to get intimation? Penetration is a result of the trust challenge. Unlike the insurance industry which has a CIBIL score, we don’t have any such thing in the healthcare sector. Then we have to tackle the challenge of fraud. No scoring model exists in insurance to detect fraud. So we came up with AI and ML models to look for patterns in terms of geography, customer profiles, etc.

K.V. Kartik: How do you manage the claims while processing and at the time of customer on boarding as you have an industry-level data base?

Ankit Goenka: We looked at the unstated needs of the customer. We had Care Rangers, who would handle various administrative processes at the hospital. He is equipped with technology. He also takes care of the unstated needs at the hospital. He also catches the fraud happening from the customer’s end and the hospital. Because of this facility, the customer wants to renew his policy with the same company.

K.V. Kartik: So when you look at the claims processing process, other than that, what do you think you might see from a technology perspective?

RKT Krishnan: Sometimes, I think that why don’t we have a customer black-listing process to handle frauds. Fraud is cost inflation. Today. unless the court declares. We can informally collaborate with other insurance companies where garages or hospitals etc. are suspected of fraud. Unlike other countries, we don’t have citizen IDs. We struggle with soft frauds. We don’t reach that perfection in fraud prevention. We need to work on its reduction.

K.V. Kartik: What would be your advice for the security measures and the technology that can help in managing that as a customer? I would be very keen to know that.

Kirti Patil: As insurers, we carry a lot of personal information such as financial, health, etc. So there has to be trust in how the customer data is handled. Lots of incidents of ransomware….so we need awareness.

Audience 1: As insurers, what steps we can take to ensure that not many queries are being asked from the clients and claims are paid on time?

Ankit Goenka: To make the process smooth later you need to make it clear right from the beginning. As regards claims from business customers, we say that if it is black and white, that is what it is, but if it is grey, then the customer wins.

RKT Krishnan: If there is no issue with the contract then there will be no issues in handling the claims.

Audience 2: Do you think the insurance companies are heading in the direction of proactively managing the health risks of your customers?

Priya Gilbile: We have specialized products for customers having lifestyle diseases and we provide health coaching as well.

K.V. Kartik: What do you think the insurer of the future will look like?

Navin Sahni: Hyper-personalization is going to happen. Servicing is going to be completely digital.

K.V. Kartik: Thank you so much everyone!


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