Insurance industry takes a stride towards digitization, writes Anjali Malhotra, Aviva India

Anjali Malhotra

Anjali Malhotra, Chief Customer, Marketing and Digital Officer, Aviva India pens down her thought on how the current situation has inspired the BFSI industry to quickly adapt to digital means for sales, service, and redressal at a large scale.

India is a country that remains grossly under-insured, but since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, people are realizing the significance of insurance and how it keeps one prepared for any uncertainties in life. During the lockdown, people have also become accustomed to digital means of interacting and there has been a surge of 72 percent in the time spent on browsing the net. As internet penetration is increasing in India so is the digital penetration of insurance.

A PwC survey on technology adoption stated 67 percent of consumers leveraged the online platform to do their research before buying an insurance policy. This trend shows that online platforms have already become an influencer in the consumer’s decision making journey.

Consumers’ expectations for digital insurance have increased significantly since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and a digital transformation of the industry is the need of the hour. With the emphasis being on contactless dealings, companies are redefining their strategies for digital engagement and digitized delivery of the insurance product. Digital transformation is also impacting everything from customers, employees, and partners to products, services, and processes.

The challenges are real, and the industry is focusing on Problem Solving Digitally Across Multiple Disciplines.

It is indispensable to address issues like managing customer trust, escalating demands of privacy, monitoring customer perceptions, understanding where, when, and how to engage each customer in real-time to meet their evolving needs, leveraging data-driven insights to differentiate brand offerings. Companies must identify these problems and put technology to work in order to focus on them.

Developing a roadmap for seamlessly transitioning to new solutions with minimal disruptions to customers, partners, and employees is a key step here.

Over the next few months, insurers will need to take a closer look at their two key stakeholders — digital employees and digital customers.Insurers need to enhance the use of their websites, self- service portals with simpler, user-friendly, and easy-to-navigate interfaces. There is a need to make interactions even more personalized through one-on-one interactions through telephonic-advice, use of video & bots, conferencing solutions – informing customers, imparting product knowledge, answering customer queries, and so on.

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Processes such as fraud detection, risk assessment, claims collection, and policy renewals may drive the next level of digitization. New-age solutions such as Cloud Telephony, AI-Powered Chat & Audio bots, Interactive Voice Response, etc. are being adopted to offer digital experiences to the customers. Insurers will also need to ramp up their call center operations to keep pace with the rising volumes of customer requests. By all means, the investment is worth making, since it takes the customer experience to a new level and helps in cost optimization. 

In line with this, Aviva Mobile Sales Tool is an enhanced informative interface for the sales personnel to interact with customers and transparently share information. Important activities that are critical in the decision making for the customers, such as needs analysis of the customer, the right fitness plan for them, key benefits of a plan, illustrations of premium and the payment process are all available on this tool. It also offers our customers a hassle-free buying experience, without any physical documentation. Digitization is also crucial for greater collaboration for internal operations. Technology provides employees with ways to connect over video calls, share and collaborate documents, and much more. This also enables them to be more effective in a world where customers expect to interact and conduct business online.

Omnichannel is set to usher in a new era

It has become increasingly important for brands to understand each customer and create experiences that are relevant to them, irrespective of the medium. This new approach is important because, in the post-COVID-19 world, consumers will remember bands for their empathy, how they created happy memories and were ‘there’ to support them. Brands are using social media to engage with customers to build trust and brand awareness.

There is an increase in the frequency of messaging and social media posts by marketers. Social media campaigns to raise awareness, live Insta Sessions, engagement posts, Q&A, Twitter live chats, video bytes, and customer testimonials is the new playbook. Many have launched activities or campaigns to help the needy. Brands are using social media for training sessions, interaction with various celebrities to connect with the customers. This has actually led to an increase in engagement rate for the brands and has also strengthened their social media presence among consumers.

The massive shift to digital interactions and transactions will also come with its own challenges in terms of cyber-risk. Hence, the requirement for greater adherence to security protocols and the stringent use of cybersecurity technologies.

Predictive risk management technologies will be extremely critical to nip such threats in the bud.

Covid-19 is a tipping point that is resulting in more aggressive digital transformation plans for the insurance industry. They will need to be more transparent in their coverage and communication and reinforce trust in the idea of truly hassle-free financial protection.

This article piece is authored by Anjali Malhotra, Chief Customer, Marketing and Digital Officer, Aviva India