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Using social media to uncomplicate products & processes

Anthony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance, outlines the company’s strategy to design the right products, price them right, and most importantly provide right servicing:

Antony Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Munich Health Insurance.

Antony Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Munich Health Insurance.

Mehul Dani: How do you evaluate the performance of Apollo Munich Health Insurance in 2015-16? How do you propose to up the volume in rural India?
Anthony Jacob: We have had a successful 2015-16. Our performance has given us the boost that will drive us for the future. The goals that we had set for ourselves in terms of customers, people, business model, value proposition and brand have all progressed well. We are confident of a positive, increasing year on year growth and we have been clocking around 20-25% growth every year for the past 9 years. Our product portfolio is quite comprehensive at the moment. However, we would look at launching special products catering to specific needs in the near future. We are well on our way of reaching out to people in the rural areas through various technological innovations that will cut down on application processes and turnaround times.

Have you launched any new products in 2015-16? What have been the responses? How do you propose to bring in product innovations in 2016-17?

Innovation has been in our DNA since our inception. We launched 2 products for special diseases in 2015-16. The response for both the products has been phenomenal. The Critical Advantage rider covers treatment for 8 illnesses abroad and also covers the travel and accommodation of one family member, in addition to the insured on a cashless basis. The policy allows for multiple trips abroad, in cases where the sum insured has not been used up in the first instance. Dengue Care policy is a value for money health insurance policy that is focused on dengue treatment and covers both hospitalization and outpatient treatment. As the incidence of dengue cases during the monsoon season is growing annually across the country, this policy is poised to help people avail best in class medical facilities to overcome dengue, and not worry about the medical expenses. Moreover, customers need not burn a hole in their existing health covers. Dengue Care is also an ideal product for those who seek a basic health insurance policy, but hesitate to purchase a full-fledged policy.

How is Apollo Munich different from other insurers in terms of pricing?

Our strategy is to design the right products, price them right and most importantly provide right servicing. We know healthcare and health insurance because of our parentage of Munich Health, the largest composite health insurer globally, and Apollo Hospitals, one of Asia’s largest healthcare providers, and this gives us the competitive edge. We believe in risk based pricing and by leveraging the knowhow of Munich Re, we have developed an age band basis pricing for multi variant options of the product for our customers to choose from. Also, our approach to health insurance lies in our positioning – ‘Let’s Uncomplicate’. It is our belief and our journey. We have positioned Apollo Munich as a straightforward, user-friendly and hassle-free health insurance company that will consistently tackle the general concerns faced by people when it comes to healthcare and health insurance. We focus on the easy uncomplicated process we have for people seeking comprehensive health insurance for themselves and their loved ones. This positioning has enabled us to create a unique brand identity for Apollo Munich raise our market share to 1.12% in the general insurance category.

What changes have you introduced in your IT infrastructure in the last one year to drive productivity and efficiency?

Today, a customer looks for complete information at one place without any intermediary. Hence providing real time information about his policy and claims give more power to the customer. Taking a cue from the prime minister’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, we have launched a unique, disruptive and technology-driven distribution model and a self-service customer portal last year.
The idea was to offer a seamless and uncomplicated service to our customers. We created the portal to let the customers obtain answers to all their health insurance queries, without the insurer reach-out process. The portal allows customers to view, change/edit, renew their policies and their claims status. It also allows for downloading the 80D tax saving certificate, claim forms, and helps to track policy issuance status. It is also capable of handling high traffic, and simultaneously providing seamless experience to all the customers at the same time. More than 23,000 customers have visited the portal since its inception and more than 50% of customers registered with the portal have conducted transactions through it.
Approximately 2% of our policyholders bought health insurance policies online in the last financial year. We have been using social media tools to help educate and engage with people on a regular basis. Social media engagement is also a very important tool to gain better insights into how successful we are on social media and how people connect better with our brand. We use social media to uncomplicate health insurance products and claims processes.

What marketing, branding and promotional activities have you undertaken lately?

Apollo Munich Life Insurance works towards increasing the awareness level through mass media messaging and innovative below the line activities involving decision leaders, network providers and members of local administrations. These activities are poised to show positive results. The company leverages the internet reaching out to more and more people to dispel myths of health insurance. It will soon embark on a mobile strategy to reach out to even more people across the country.
Digital marketing as a tool allows us to track customer preferences, understand their needs and also track the market for insights and developments. Hence the digital space is essential to reach out to a larger number of people as compared to the reach on ground sales people would have. Consumers are able to clear their doubts, compare policies, not just in terms of premium, but are also able to consider variations in exclusions, waiting periods, inclusions, etc online with the help of insurance aggregators.
Alongside, Apollo Munich will also continue its below the line activities across major cities in order to touch more lives and explain health insurance and its essential place in financial planning.

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