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Kotak Life: New products yield new biz – GWP up 25%

New products from Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance offer combine innovation and methodical processes from concept to marketable solution:

Kotak Life: New products yield new biz – GWP up 25%

Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Company, a 100% owned subsidiary of Kotak Mahindra Bank, is one of the fastest-growing insurance companies in India with 289 branches across 148 cities. Sunil Sharma, President is the Chief Actuary & Chief Risk Officer. He has 30+ years of globally diversified experience across life, health insurance, and reinsurance business. He currently handles product development, value management, ERM, and balancing topline and bottom line.

Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance has recorded new business growth of around 25% in its gross written premium (GWP) for FY23. During the last quarter, the gross new business premium grew close to 21%. The company also opened 59 new branches during the last 2 years. It added close to 57,000 agents to its distribution network in FY23. Sunil Sharma informs: “A good proportion of the new business came from the new products launched during FY23. The new branches also helped us penetrate newer markets and in providing solutions to customers with closer access. We have also done a lot of work on strengthening distribution network further in 2022-23.”

Kotak Life has a significantly large portfolio of lives spread across the length and breadth of the country. The insurance needs of existing customers keep increasing as their income and liabilities grow. Its efforts to cross-sell to existing customers have contributed to the growth in new business during 2022-23. As of 31st March 2023, Kotak Life has 460 million lives in its portfolio, of whom, about one-third are females. The number of lives in the portfolio grew by close to 25% over the last year and by a CAGR of 13% over the last 3 years.

Innovative Products

Sharma attributes the growth to the products with innovative features meeting the critical needs of the customers that are suitable for all ages. The customer needs are ever-changing and therefore it continues to work on new product designs to fulfil the needs of varied customer segments.

Sharma believes that the best innovation is to design products that cater to the evolving needs of the customers. He explains: “The new products are aligned to varied customer needs and offer flexibility as well as follow a solution pattern with innovation being a more methodical process from concept to marketable solution. This approach also applies to optimizing and modifying our existing product bouquet.”

Some of the new products launched by Kotak Life in the last FY helped it to achieve its growth for FY’22-23. It launched Kotak Guaranteed Fortune Builder, a non-participating plan, providing guaranteed benefits. The product offers unique flexibility to take a 1-year premium break for childbirth or for women specific critical illnesses which differentiates from similar products in the competition. It also launched Kotak Assured Pension Plan, a lifelong income plan, to help customers plan for their retirement with a guaranteed regular income. This was targeted at retirees and persons close to retirement with the flexibility to pay single or limited/regular premiums.

Kotak Protect India is another innovative product targeting millennials. It offers the younger generation a short-duration sachet life insurance at an affordable price and a simplified digital on-boarding and fulfilment journey. Further, it offers health & wellbeing management services such as telemedicine consultation, personal medical care & lifestyle management programs, and emergency response services. Sharma adds: “All these initiatives encourage our customers to adopt a healthy living.”

Driving Growth

Kotak Life’s timely investment into the direct and digital platform has also contributed to its success. Sharma reveals: “We intend to continue to strengthen our distribution by enhancing our footprint across newer markets places to enhance the insurance penetration along with strengthening our online and digital presence further for more digital-savvy customers. We continue to work on how to further improve the on-boarding experience of customers making it a more seamless experience for our customers. Use of technology to better the experience of our customers and distributors will continue.”

Kotak Life will continue to push all the above growth levers to achieve growth aspirations. Sharma reveals: “We intend to continue to expand our geographical footprints and frontline capacities in the selected markets with growth potential. We will further continue to improve frontline productivity across distribution channels through innovative products and process improvement initiatives.”

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