Like most sectors, the insurance industry has also not been left unaffected due to the COVID-19 crisis. The first quarter of 2020-21 is likely to see subdued growth for the insurance industry. In January, Moodyâ€™s had said that the decelerating Indian economy is likely to weigh heavily on insurance premium growth for the next two-three years.
However, technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Analytics are expected to play a big role in transforming the industry going forward. In this context, Goutam Datta, Chief Information & Digital Officer, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, spoke to TNM on various aspects.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
What is the role of Artificial intelligence in shaping the future of insurance industry in the next 10 years?
Ten years is a really long period if you are to consider the way technology is developing and furthermore how life insurance in India is evolving. The type of tech evolutions that have taken place in the industry in the last 2-3 years are much more than what happened in the last (say) 10-12 years. Hence, instead of going a decade ahead, Iâ€™d like to say that as the industry is becoming increasingly data-driven, and we have access to a lot of data due to the design of our products, we will be using AI / data-science in a much more advanced way than what we are doing now. It will enable us to provide far more personalised offerings. Technology will continue to play a key role in shaping the value that companies provide their customers and all key stakeholders.
How is Bajaj Allianz Life adopting technology in the scheme of things?
The axis of our reorientation journey to be life goal enablers of customers is innovation backed by technology. If you were to see our new product offerings or the new-age services we now offer or how we empower our employees and sales force with tech to help them deliver better, it is all in line with how customers have evolved.
Todayâ€™s customers arenâ€™t filtering basis the industry they are engaging with when it comes to technology. They expect seamless, secure and easy service options or value-packed products no matter what they buy. You will see that we have acknowledged these requirements of our customers and have delivered across our parameters, and across our stakeholder groups.
Take for instance our latest service offering on WhatsApp. While other players are present on the platform, we have become the first life insurer to offer the most comprehensive set of services for our customers on WhatsApp, so that they can get resolutions on their policy 24*7, on their fingertips, instead of visiting our branch. Another digital disruption by us is i-SERV, a new-age, video-based customer service initiative that enables customers to get swift resolutions to their queries digitally. The video-calling service is available to customers at our branches, and digital touch points such as Life Assist customer portal and mobile app, enabling customers to avail hassle-free services from the comfort of their home or office.
Apart from our customers, we have also invested in tech enablements for our Insurance Consultants and partners to help them onboard customers seamlessly. We have a tablet-based application INS-tab that helps the sales force complete a business, right from policy issuance to premium payment, and policy servicing to renewal, even in offline mode. To take care of our insurance consultantsâ€™ business needs like information about products, customerâ€™s portfolio, along with information on their performance and payouts, we introduced a comprehensive digital app called i-SMART. We are continuously revolutionising in technology space to have an end-to-end digital environment for creating the right kind of value for every stakeholder.
How has digitisation helped in the making of new products and how has it facilitated growth of the company?
We are making most of these products available online, and helping customers have an involved buying journey. This is not limited to only when they buy from us directly, but also when they buy through our partners or insurance consultants. We are enabling our customers understand the product better, know what they are paying to receive what, and stay updated through the whole process.
This has enabled Bajaj Allianz Life to have a distinct differentiator within the industry. Our product offerings stand apart, and these latest products are now more than 60% of our overall sales. We continue to maintain this focus while building new products and strengthen our brand equity with our customers.
What is the role of big data and analytics in the insurance sector?
The role of new-age digital technologies like Big Data and Analytics will be seen in developing key insights from the huge amount of data available with insurers about customers and their behaviour and can help insurers create need-based insurance products and services that will add value to customersâ€™ life for achieving their life goals.
How critical is cybersecurity in data-driven operations in insurance?
Just like any other industry which is data-driven, cybersecurity takes a primary position in the list of practices that businesses must have, to protect the interest of their stakeholders. It is extremely essential to protect any data companies collect from their customers or other stakeholders and they must have the best-in-practice security control systems.