An agent sitting next to you, filling up tons of forms with necessary details — buying an insurance policy in India has remained like this for decades.ntil the recent coronavirus outbreak. With a pandemic that demands you to maintain social distancing, people are relying on internet to browse through life and health insurance policies. To cater to the customers amid this challenging time, the insurance companies have implemented a dozen of services. Artificial intelligence, wearable devices, mobile applications, virtual assistance and video conferencing are replacing paperwork.
"We have a fully equipped digital platform for servicing which ensures that customers can get their policies serviced without having to step out of their homes. Over 72% customer service interactions were handled by our digital touch points," mentioned Parvez Mulla, COO, HDFC Life insurance. The private insurer has recently introduced a contactless insurance selling platform Video and Voice Interfacing Sales Enable. Under this new initiative, an agent connects with customers via video calling and take them through the entire process of buying a policy. "Amid lockdown, we went live with ELLE 2.0 on our website with the capability to handle more than 550 FAQs and more than 40 dynamic policy integrations," he added. The life insurer also introduced an Alexa based customer service bot which can handle more than 200 queries at a time.
With the advent of new technologies, claim settlement has also become simpler and quicker than before. HDFC Life offers an option where customers can initiate a claim via a simple 3-step process. For low risk policies, claim settlement can be done in a day, HDFC Life insurance COO mentioned. "99% of all non-investigation claims were settled within one business day, during Q1FY21," he further added. The insurance company has also launched a claim initiation journey via a WhatsApp Bot to ease the burden on customers. "Majority of our non-investigation claims can be completed over the WhatsApp bot in less than five minutes by sharing minimal documentation," Parvez Mulla mentioned.
But introducing new technologies is not enough in a ’customer-first’ business like insurance industry. The companies are also training their employees to adapt recent innovations. "Amid lockdown, we have used the digital platform for activities such as on-boarding, training and skill enhancement. We have an e-learning platform with over 7,500 agents attending training programs daily," Parvez Mulla said. "Technology like cloud telephony also enabled our conventional touch points like call centres to be operational in a work from home environment with minimal disruption," he explained.
Commenting on the future outlook, Parvez Mulla added, "With the shift from digital being an enabler to digital being at the core, more and more Indians will be financially protected by life insurance."
"The future intent to buy life insurance is highest amongst financial products driven primarily by 21-40 year old. Within life insurance, the intent to buy traditional policies is highest, particularly by people in the ages of 41-50. There is a surge in online insurance sales shows the accentuated need for protection. The online mode for premium collection has shown an increasing trend across geographies," he added.
"At HDFC Life, we remain focused to drive business on the back of a balanced product mix, diversified distribution, continuous product innovation and continued investment in and deployment of technology while keeping the customer at the centre," he concluded.