Interview with Mr. Tapan Singhel, MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance

How Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has adopted new technology to provide better underwriting and claims servicing to customers

As a company we strongly believe in digitalization for enhancing the customer experience and taking it to the next level, but our core strength is empathy and sensitivity towards the customers and our people and that we continue doing as we build digitalization for the ease of customers. We have leveraged technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Automation to enhance our services and also to offer diverse and convenient platforms to our customers. This applies to both our underwriting and settlement methods.

To name one such move for underwriting, we have introduced a mobile application ‘I – Inspect’, which makes the motor insurance buying process much simpler for the customers. A customer just needs to take a few pictures of the vehicle and the application automatically processes the proposal reducing the Turnaround Time (TAT) notably.

For claims also, we are moving from the longer procedures to swift digital modes coupled with the essential human touch. For health claims reimbursementsour customers cansubmit digital documents through mobile applications. For Motor Insurance Own Damage (OD) claims, customers just have to click the damage pictures and by entering a few relevant details on the mobile application, claim is settled in 30 minutes. With our Blockchain based initiative for Travel insurance, we are proactively informing customers about their payout eligibility.

Services like these can truly help the insurance companies to establish a relation of care with the customers, which is paramount given the low insurance penetration scenario in the country.

Your views about possible impact of Ayushman Bharat Health Scheme in health insurance sector in India ?

I have always advocated for the need of a universal health scheme like AB -PMJAY that could contribute to the making of a healthy and insured India.  Ayushman Bharat is undoubtedly the world’s largest and one of its kind government funded healthcare program. It has been observed that countries with good health insurance and healthcare infrastructure in place have citizens with higher life expectancy, as much as increasing it by over 10 years. Similarly, Ayushman Bharat will create awareness amongst the people about Health Insurance, which has been lacking to a great extent in our country. With the launch of this scheme, the Government of India has set the agenda for a healthy India. This new beginning, will ensure creation of health infrastructure across the country and will also set the tone for the health insurance industry.

I also feel that at present people are not able to estimate the impact of Ayushman Bharat that it is going to make in 10 years’ time for improving the Healthcare Infrastructure in the country while reaching out to the most remote parts of the country.With more than 40% of the population covered under this one scheme, it will be the biggest welfare initiative. The new scheme will unleash an era where poor, needy are brought under the safety net, which are otherwise uninsured. With this scheme not only the insured will be able to deal with any health crisis in the family, but it will also safeguard them during financial loss arising due to rising medical costs.

Which line of business do you think will rule the market in next five years ?

With the launch of the mammoth insurance scheme -Ayushman Bharat, the investment in healthcare infrastructure is going to grow by manifold. The untapped remote locations are going to come under an effective healthcare purview. Not only this move will insure more people, who were not insured until now, but will also encourage more people to opt for health insurance covers seeing the benefits it can offer.

Motor Insurance is still most sought after segment for most insurers. How do you view growth in this sector ?

Being mandatory by law, Motor Insurance typically has been a major segment for general insurance in India. The primary objective however remains to bring around 70% of uninsured two wheelers under the insurance purview.  Even for four wheelers the number of uninsured vehicle is notable. With the latest changes in the Motor Insurance Regulations, I believe a lot of uninsured vehicles will now be under the insurance ambit and with that this segment will continue to be a focussed segment.

With the rising fuel prices and climate change now the number of hybrid and electronic vehicles is expected to rise and how they impact the Motor Insurance landscape in future will be interesting to see. Also, entry of autonomous vehicles will be another disruptor and will surely bringnew market dynamics altogether.

How has been your performance in current fiscal and what business you are eyeing in the next fiscal ?

In the H1 of Financial Year 18-19, our Gross Written Premium (GWP) excluding crophas grown by 27.8% to Rs. 4,662 crore as compared toRs. 3,649 crore in the same period in H1FY 17-18. We have continued to report a healthy combined ratio at 93.8% for H1 FY 18-19 and our solvency ratio at 286% is much above the minimum regulatory requirement of 150%.

We believe in understanding the needs and worries of customers and addressing them by designing our products & services accordingly. We continue to innovate and engage with our customers regularly, not only at the time of claim but throughout their policy period. Our focus is on sustainable growth by providing high levels of customer service standards and maintaining profitability. We are consistently exploring the new distribution avenues and collaborative ecosystems. Our recent partnership with Flipkart is one such example, where we are offering an innovative product made for our new generation customers.

Any plans for launching any new innovative product. Any other development you would like to share.

Risks are changing rapidly and we have always believed in staying ahead of the curve through our innovative services and products.  Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has always adopted a customer centric approach with an objective to address the new age needs and worries of our customers. We were the first in the Indian insurance industry to come up with a retail cyber insurance cover, first to bring agreed value and new for old in home insurance and also the first to launch a global personal accident insurance that covers adventure sports and recently we have come up with the Title Insurance product. Our recently launched ‘Connected Schools’ initiative for school kids helps the parents to be assured of their children’s safety when they are travelling in school buses.

We have a clear product strategy, we try to make it relevant to today’s time and in future also, we are going to pursue the same.