Live Chat

May I help you?

Begin Chat

When technology meets insurance

Posted by - Gopal Balachandran, Chief Financial officer, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited
November 14 2018

India is progressing towards being a digital economy and the insurance sector will aim at continuing to invest in technology

Insurance and technology, more popularly known as InsurTech has become a buzz word in the insurance industry on account of the growing influence of technology on various business practices or decisions of the companies forming a part of the sector.

Paper-based transactions and traditional procedures are broadly a thing of the past and technology has stormed the sector in unprecedented ways. Fintech innovations have become the order of the day and the insurance companies which score ahead on technological innovations and initiatives are likely to have a larger market share and would continue to deliver superior customer centric solutions.

A key solution focused on customer centricity has been the rising utilization of chatbots. Chatbots or robo advisors have the potential to accurately service multiple requests from various customers in a lower turnaround time. A customer needs to provide defined accurate data required for underwriting the proposal and within a short time of the data being provided, a quotation is received by the customer. Imagine the sheer convenience and experience delight for the customer, knowing that they can get what they want with a few clicks!

Another delightful experience are the claims getting settled in an expedited manner. Claim settlement requires a survey to be done, which earlier was a fairly time consuming leg of the activity. With real time vehicle damage assessment becoming possible, accurate and quicker surveys are now possible, thereby facilitating prompt settlement of claims – again a pivotal step in ensuring customer service and satisfaction.

In the healthcare space too, certain claim settlements are being automated and claim approval provided – all in a matter of 60 seconds! The industry is truly living up to its reputation of being a friend in need to the customers during their tough times and thereby ensuring that the customers see happy days once again.

The happiest individuals are those who are the healthiest as well. Technology has enabled insurance companies to engage with customers in different ways. The industry is also promoting the Prime Minister’s vision of good health by inviting customers to participate in gaming and fitness challenges within their various social and peer circles.

Through wearables, customers can monitor the cholesterol readings, blood pressure, pulse and other parameters whilst being engaged in different activities e.g. playing a certain sport or a game. This data when available to insurance firms can enable them to work along with customers to manage their health risks better.

Technology also facilitates companies to capture the driving habits of the customer such as number of miles they drive, the speed at which they drive, how quickly they brake and other key facets associated with safe driving. The insurance companies receive this information through a telematics device installed in the car which sends information to the insurance provider over wireless networks. Basis the information received, insurers can offer valuable tips to customers to ensure safe driving thereby avoiding accidents and savings in terms of insurance premium, for practicing safe driving techniques. This will increasingly prove to be a big boon to customers in times to come.

Another boon has been blockchain technology which plays a big role in the complete value chain activity through superior customer authentication, improved fraud prevention and facilitating technology led automatic underwriting for various insurance products.

Blockchain enhances customer experience by ensuring that customer authentication data is accurately verified and available in the secured distributed ledger which is utilized by the insurance players and banks. A customer can reap the benefits of operational convenience through superior use of technology.

Blockchain can also ensure quicker settlement of claims in a safe and secure manner to the customer, when an event giving rise to a claim triggers. Through technological initiatives, the claim can be settled in no time!!

Another technological initiative which leverages the blockchain network is the ‘The Internet of Things’ or more popularly known as IOT. The world of smart contracts awaits all of us! The day is not far where appliances can have their insurance policies registered, with the combination of blockchain and smart contracts being leveraged to discover and assess damages if any, to the appliances, and thereby ensure spontaneous payment of claims basis the terms and conditions of the policy. IOT is also being used in the corporate space in case of fire hydrants to ensure that prompt notifications are given with respect to the hydrant pump pressure levels and thereby avoid the occurrence of the fire peril.

Technological initiatives have played a pivotal role in advising customers on loss prevention exercises. During the insurance renewal process for solar plants and wind mills, drones are utilized to fly above the panels in case of solar plants, get an imagery of the panels and accordingly detect defects, if any, on a proactive basis. In case of wind mills, drones help to detect cracks, if any, in the blades of a wind mill and accordingly help customers and companies in avoiding a total loss scenario.

The industry is increasingly looking at offering seamless insurance services to various sectors of the economy and may extend convenience to their customers while procuring insurance through seamless integration of the technological systems. The sublime use of technology has given a big boost to the sourcing of insurance policies thereby improving overall insurance penetration.

The insurance regulator plays a key role in ensuring protection of customer interests through keeping a close watch on policy terms and conditions and claim settlement mechanisms of insurers. The regulator, in 2016, introduced norms for issuance of electronic policies, including submission of customer proposal forms through the digital mode. This was an important development for the sector. The norms have played a key role in ensuring that the insurance industry further builds upon its initiative of always having been a technology supporter and a front runner in the successful implementation of the “Digital India” movement.

A key step in the Digital India movement involves setting up of digital offices by the insurers, which goes a long way in increasing the distribution of insurance and improve insurance penetration. The use of tabs and mobile applications to sell various insurance policies enhances customer experience through superior services being available to the customers.

One thing is certain – India is progressing towards being a digital economy and keeping in perspective a long term horizon, the insurance sector will aim at continuing to invest in technology. The underlying thought behind the same is that – customer comes first and superior service standards can be ensured only through investments in technology.

Leave a comment