In an exclusive interview with NewsX,
Addressing the Coronavirus pandemic, Pradeep said, “They always say an adversity will always create an opportunity and truly so, for the insurance sector, there have been a lot of positives that have come out because of the pandemic. I would point three elements, so one is clearly an awareness on health protection amongst the consumers and the bigger population, especially in the developing countries which is still seeing very low penetration specific to these products, there has been a big uptake on the health insurance side. Today, we see, probably every one of us is thinking about whether I’m covered for COVID, what kind of covers do I have, is my family protected, and so on? I think that’s one clear aspect that people are aware of protection needs.”
“Second, according to me is the regulators are very engaged today, when compared to before the pandemic situation, the regulators are working very closely with the insurance companies, they’re ensuring that standard products are coming out, all the insurance companies are giving standard offers. India is a classic example, in a way IRDA promoted Corona Kawach and Corona Rakshak products early on. So I think that’s a big positive, the regulators are heavily involved,” said Mr Satya.
Elaborating the third element that he mentioned, Pradeep said, “Third element is more very internal to the insurance companies where any transformation takes a lot of time and unfortunately, or fortunately due to COVID, that transformation window has drastically reduced. So, the digital ambition has been fast tracked by at least two to three years. I think these are the real clear positives.”
Explaaining the Insurance Digital 3.0 vision, Pradeep said, “This is very interesting, so until now, insurers were always looking at the primary data which used to come from the consumers, the customers, but in 3.0, what we’re talking about is how connected devices and big data is gonna play a key role in not just providing services, but also in creating products and probably assessing the risk at a better scale and probably rollout in a better offers to the customers.”
Sharing how they customize a solution for each client, Pradeep said, “Every insurance company is different, their processes are different, the distribution mandate is different, the partner ecosystem is different and the moment we go to a tier one company, they are quite complex in nature, just given the size. And what we do is, see which element works well for whom and then we try and match those elements well, and, of course, we also need to work at the pace at which an insurance company can absorb the change and we base it differently based on the client. Many times, we’ve seen our customers come back and say, hey, look guys, you guys are really fast, can you slow down a bit? Yes. Why not, we’ll go at your pace. But on the other side we also see the young customers, the young insurance could not have a strong legacy, they come back and say, Look, I need to go digital in the next three months, can you help us in that journey? So, approaches are totally different.”
Sharing his view on how the insurance industry will grow in the coming years, Pradeep said, “So certainly the recent budget is a fantastic one. So I think most of the insurance companies would be happy about what’s come out and especially with the FDI being relaxed to 74%, it’s a big boost I would say for the Indian insurance sector. What we can see from here is, there will be lot more investments especially for covering the risks which are not even thought about. I think that’s the key element, where the risks cover elements in are going to be brought.”
“Second element would be, it’s all about the ecosystem now. So it’s no longer an insurance company working in isolation, they need to work with partners, and the partner ecosystem is evolving. It could be as simple as digital players, technology players who come and offer a new technology, it could be distribution area, where insurers will try to strike deals with the e-commerce players. And, of course on the product side, it will not be the insurance companies who may create a product, it will certainly be the insured tech players who will be playing a bigger role here and overall, given the lower penetration rates that we see in India, which is just about 3%, it’s a long way to go and it’s very promising for the insurance sector certainly,” said Pradeep.