India Goes Digital, So Does its Insurance Industry

Author: Naval Goel, Founder & CEO, PolicyX

The online insurance industry in India is witnessing a phenomenal level of growth for the past few years. Indians were already aware of the online platform to fulfill their educational and banking needs until sometime ago. When it came to investments, fixed deposits and mutual funds were the most preferred purchases. On insurance front, people started relying on internet to research about the kinds of products. However, with each passing year, digital insurance industry gradually expanded its footprints in India. And therefore, online mode is not limited to just research and life insurance comparison.

In today’s scenario, Indians are no more afraid to purchase online protection policies. They buy, renew, make payment of premium online and even avail post-purchase services.

Going back in time, insurance sector started to penetrate the digital platform in the year 2005. Everything began with the concept of online comparison and research of insurance policies and this was made possible due to some web aggregators.

Web aggregators provided extra comfort to buyers by letting them compare policy online. Though, it was never easy to persuade researchers to buy policies through online mode. Nevertheless, transparency and safe payment gateways influenced more than half of the researchers and appealed them to make a purchase. Insurers also recognised the imprint online mode had made on the minds of consumers and therefore they initiated to promote online term insurance quotes and policies. In 2010-11, most of the insurers started selling online. And at present, insurers have made online mode a priority in their distribution strategy. Though, many insurers are still focusing on term plans, but a few of them have moved ahead beyond term and car policies.

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What future holds for digital insurance sector?

Interesting fact explored in reports states quite significantly that previously large amount of sales came through metros and tier 1 cities. However, now people from even the mid-level cities like Indore, Jaipur, Lucknow and Surat and other tier II and tier III cities are interested in buying.

There were around 165 million internet users in India in 2014. This figure has reached around 200 million this year. Online purchase of policies has increased from 2 per cent to 200 per cent in just two years. Looking at this, the growth rate of the online industry in the years coming ahead is expected to be in three digits.

If a report from management consulting firm like BCG is to be believed, digital insurance will skyrocket to Rs 15,000 crore by year 2020.

This research implies that the industry is slated to enjoy a growth of 2000 per cent in the next five years. Wondering how? Well, it has been estimated that online sales contribute around Rs 700 crore to the total turnover of the industry altogether.

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If this number is projected to reach Rs 15,000 crore, then the industry is going to multiply its online sales 20 times. That’s an amazing inference!

India is going digital in a massive way. Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Digital India’ campaign. Insurance industry in India will not be an exception.

More and more people are coming under the ambit of e-commerce and this trend will continue moving northwards. With the government of India itself supporting digitisation, the level of trust will go up. So, there is no looking back for a sunshine industry like insurance, which is already experiencing a phenomenal growth.

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As per the BCG report, life segment garners almost 45 per cent of the total online insurance market. Vehicle protection is the second largest segment contributing Rs 250 crore to the total sales of Rs 700 crore. The other segments such as health and travel secure the remaining piece of the cake.

The digital impact

As per industry research and analyses, it is said that in the 2-3 years, three out of every four insurance purchase decisions will be influenced by digital channels of sales and marketing.

That’s an astounding number. It simply demonstrates the power of digital media and its growing role in the insurance sector in India.

Are digital insurance and online insurance different?

There is a thin line which makes a big difference. Digital is an overarching structure and online insurance sales is a part of it. Digital insurance also encompasses use of digital technology to not just promote the services but also to enhance the overall customer experience. It is also about efficiency and setting up systems and processes.

Online sales, is though a tangible aspect and an insurer can quantify the impact of its online marketing efforts.

What about consumer interests?

When it comes to the Internet, Google is one of the most credible force. Recently, this search engine giant conducted a study to analyse consumer trends over online platforms and found that since 2008, a number of people have been searching for life and health insurance policy comparison and related information online. This trend has grown by 450 per cent. The general insurance industry rather witnessed a cumulative growth rate of 600 per cent in the past five years.

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These numbers reflect the magnitude of digital insurance in India and act as a testimony to the success of online channels.

Disclaimer: This is a guest post. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of iamWire and the editor(s).

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  • R. Venkataramani

    Digital impact creates price war between Insurance Companies which is not a good practice and further support in the claim process is also not reached more effectively as per customer expectation level for the Online buyers. A recent real time case study says that people could not get proper friendly support with regard to Insurance Policies availed through Online platform. Market is still believing on manual systems only to get effective support. My view…

  • d singh

    Is it an article that is usually written for SEO, not for end user? The highlighted terms on this post suggest so.
    Iamwire, please maintain quality in your content.
    Good Content is not easy to get, but not that difficult too!

    • Abhinav Dinesh Garg

      Hi Singh , I appreciate your feedback. The logic behind highlights is a bit wrong on our end on the above article. Our team will surely optimize it further. The article is though not written for any SEO advantage as it does not contain any link back – at least. Highlights are surely misguiding. Thanks for motivation :)

      Best, Abhinav

      • d singh

        Thanks Abhinav, I appreciate your revert.
        In this age of content marketing, you do not require to put a link back, so it still qualifies as a digital marketing effort for PolicyX. I am sure you know better than me about this.

        Anyways, thanks again for your team’s efforts to create good content and listening to feedback.

        • Abhinav Dinesh Garg

          You are welcome D. Best Regards

        • Tushar Singh

          I do not see anything wrong in an article if it has good content. There are companies who operate in the domain and have the expert knowledge. What’s wrong in sharing that?

          • d singh

            Tushar, Post’s intent is not entirely wrong.

            I commented about highlighting certain phrases which is done for digital promotion.
            Anybody looking at it who understands digital promotion, will definitely get to know that it is intended for digital promotion, diluting its importance for human users.

      • nash2925

        Being in the financial domain and working as digital marketing manager for past 6 years, I can definitely tell that this article is written as part of content marketing for PolicyX. Good to see that you are acknowledging but sad to see that you are not acting on it! Disheartening!!

  • Vissionary

    Can TCS, IBM, Accenture, Infosys be set up in AGARTALA which will provide job and ray of hope to many ?

    Is there any ray of hope for TRIPURA ?

    Lakhs of Educated Youths (and their families) of TRIPURA (2nd highest populous state in NORTHEAST) have been languishing in complete frustration for over a decade now (recent news on TRIPURA can be referred for details) due to lack of –> Progressive Economic policies, Meaningful development, Best of the industries and quality professional employment opportunities, Best of the class healthcare, Proactiveness in being nationally and globally competitive.

    Does anyone know why capital AGARTALA is not yet even an inch near to a tier-2 city like PUNE ?

    Does anyone know what TRIPURA have achieved (in terms of giving its educated youth much needed professional career opportunities at par with other progressive states) till date by focusing only on natural resource (rubber, bamboo, plastic) based industry, which in progressive states (e.g. Karnataka, Maharashtra) is considered as intermediary industry, while IT and High Tech industry (in Software Export) are the prime economy drivers !! Does any one know WHEN BRAIN DRAIN would be REVERSED in TRIPURA ?

    Does anyone know WHY poor and lesser educated people are still not able to live a life with self dignity – at par with those in other progressive states (e.g. An Healthcare firm or IT MNC firm not only employs Doctors, Engineers, Managers and other graduates – alongwith them there are many other supporting and maintanance staffs who get due trainigs, well paid and can make their own career as well !!).

    Does any one know HOW LONG (and WHY) people of TRIPURA (Youths especially) have to languish in backwardness when rest of the progressive states are vying for attention from top IT MNCs and High Tech firms to set up their base ??

    If tier 2 cities like PUNE, GURGAON – (with top talents from India making careers in these cities) – can achieve same through right mix of people, policies, push and willingness to embrace technology and competition – why can’t AGARTALA ?? Does anyone know what is (national and global) COMPETITIVE INDEX of AGARTALA CITY ?

    Hope much needed ECONOMIC VIBRANCY (like Bangalore, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad) is created in AGARTALA (to emerge as new SMART CYBER CITY of India!) with best of the policies and setting up of World Class Infrastructures.

    Really hope leadership in CENTER, TRIPURA Govt and Other Concerned DIGNITARIES takes a FUTURISTIC and PROGRESSIVE approach and goes BIG to put TRIPURA into national & international scheme of things and strives hard in making AGARTALA into an world class city signifying uprising India’s growing prowess!

    We really need to move forward by developing TRIPURA with world class infrastructures and bring it at par with best of the other Indian states in the shortest possible time!

    Yes – we do have logistical issues in terms of connectivity,tough terrains – which slowly but surely being overcomed with multiple links opening up through Bangladesh,Myanmar!

    Appreciating TRIPURA Govt and Center on the development works so far,would request to set higher goals and aim to make TRIPURA the new face of emerging India!

    Some of the very important issues plauging TRIPURA badly:

    1.INDUSTRY – Not a single High Tech corporate, Big MNCs – especially economy driving Service Sector (from IT, High Tech – source of higher disposable income – source of thriving economy) have a presence in TRIPURA – Need of the hour (with major connectivity projects on and due for completion in next 1-2 years) is to have many of these companies (e.g. IBM,Accenture,TCS, Infosys, Wipro,Cognizant, Tech Mahindra,HCL) set up Delivery & Consultancy centers (by facilitating them with setting up of necessary IT zones / parks – in the line of ITPL Bangalore, Electronics City Bangalore, HITEC Hyderabad, Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park Hinjawadi Pune, DLF IT Park Chennai – with due URGENCY) – Which is a must to open up window of professional opportunities (and mass employment) for bright (More than 6 lakhs UNEMPLOYED !!) youths of the state. TRIPURA is also home to massive talent pool with combination of huge number of working professionals (working in other Metros and abroad currently), local educated youths, youths (and working professionals) from other parts of INDIA, neighboring NORTHEAST states and legal working professionals from Bangladesh and Neighboring countries! At the same time geographical proximity of AGARTALA to important BANGLADESH cities (and subsequently to other SE Asian countries) gives ample business opportunities for IT Majors to expand their client base across industrial domains (e.g. Digital Bangladesh project being envisaged by Bangladesh Govt). Does anyone know when a QUICK and DECISIVE step will be taken to make AGARTALA an epitome of IT opportunities where it would solve MOST SEVERE UNEMPLOYMENT ISSUE for lakhs of educated youths from TRIPURA ?

    2.LIFESTYLE – Not a single world class 5 star hotel (Taj, Leela, Oberoi, ITC), World class shopping mall (Phoenix Market city Mumbai, LuLu International Shopping Mall Kochi, Mantri Square mall Bangalore), multiplexes (PVR, Big Cinemas, INOX) , World class Retail chains (Walmart, IKEA, Pantaloons,Shoppers Stop, Croma, Reliance Retail etc) exists in TRIPURA – Need of the hour is to have many and which is a must for a better and modern lifestyle for both people of State as well as thousands of (domestic and international) tourists arriving in the state.

    3.EDUCATION – Not a single higher education institute of national importance (IIM, IIT, IISc, AIIMS, Symbiosis management institutes, Xavier management institutes etc …) exists in TRIPURA – Need of the hour is to have many (given the fact that a huge number of students from TRIPURA migrates to other states for pursuing Engineering, Medical and Management from best of the institutes) which is a must to bring youths at par to the ones in other part of India !! This will also help best of the brains from other parts of INDIA to know NORTHEAST (TRIPURA in particular) better!

    4.HEALTHCARE – Not a single HOSPITAL of national importance (in terms of professionalism , proven quality and trusted brand) exists in TRIPURA which is a must for those helpless people of state who has to run around and rush to Chennai and other cities for treatment even during those critical hours of life! – Need of the hour is to go PROACTIVE and INVITE best of the brands available (e.g AIIMS, FORTIS, APPOLO, MANIPAL Hospitals) to set up their HOSPITAL CHAINS at AGARTALA, at the same time highlighting enormous business opportunities they can derive from Medical Tourism Market comprising of Tourists coming from other Northeast states, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and other Neighboring countries. Does anyone know HOW LONG people would continue to suffer (Latest was Maleria epidemic) due to lack of best of the class healthcare in TRIPURA ?

    5.RAIL – Really hope TRIPURA gets connected to Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) Network with individual lines to MYANMAR and BANGLADESH – in the earliest possible time. Given the huge prospect of being a important Rail hub (catering to domestic and international traffic) connecting NORTHEAST to SE Asia and further to Europe, Hope AGARTALA rail station gets transformed into a world class Rail station (with best of the technologies, equipments, infrastructure and amenities) in the line of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Maharashtra) and Chennai Central station (Tamil Nadu). Also, need of the hour is to have a seamless Rail connectivity between all the NE capitals (Mumbai-Chennai like network need to be put in place for people to move across NORTHEAST easily without any hassles/security issues). Does anyone know when first Bullet Train will arrive in TRIPURA ?

    6.CITY TRANSPORT – Not the best of the Road Infrastructure and City Transport System is in place in AGARTALA! Need of the hour is to have world class technology (e.g. GPRS enabled systems) and equipments embedded in ROADS (e.g. Digital Sign boards, CCTV cameras, Automatic Traffic Signal Control System etc.) and PUBLIC TRANSPORT VEHICLES (e.g. High Tech VOLVO AC and Non-AC Buses, Double-decker Buses) ; and install a organized process (e.g. Daily, Monthly and Yearly Passes, Dress code for Bus operators) in place – with something like Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transit system, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System! Even Lucknow, Meerut have set their eyes on Metro rail rolling shortly. Does anyone know when AGARTALA METRO will be flagged off ?

    7.AIRPORT – Really hope AAI comes up with an world class international terminal (in the line of Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore , Mumbai Airports) in AGARTALA with modern technology, infrastructure, equipments and best of the amenities! With growing economic linkage between INDIA and other ASEAN countries (latest being PM’s visit to Japan and Thailand) as part of INDIA’s ACT-EAST POLICY,it hardly leaves any room for imagination – the role AGARTALA going to play in near future being the hub of international trade. And SMOOTH and AROMATIC flow of INTERNATIONAL and DOMESTIC travelers (includes businessman, tourists, patients, students) will hold key to fully realize potential of ACT-EAST policy envisioned by INDIA’s leadership. Does anyone know WHEN International Airport would actually come up at AGARTALA ?

    8.WATER Ways – TRIPURA Rivers are connected to Rivers in Bangladesh. Need of the hour is to transform TRIPURA rivers into national waterways, set up World Class Inland ports (in the line of Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project) and connect them to Bangladesh River and Sea ports, which would ease TRIPURA’s landlockedness to a significant extent and improve Supply Chain and Logistical delivery of goods and services!

    9.HIGHWAY – Hope AGARTALA gets incorporated to have seamless access to SE Asia connectivity points (India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Kaladan Multi-modal Transit). Also Need of the hour is to have Multi-lane express highway (in the line of Mumbai-Pune expressway, Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway) connectivity among all NE capitals. Can there be a Express Highway (via DHAKA) connecting AGARTALA and KOLKATA ?

    10.BUSINESS MEET – Not a single Global Investor Meet organised yet in AGARTALA (whereas in Karnataka, Gujarat and even Chattisgarh these are almost frequent affairs – Recent one being PUNJAB getting thousands of crores of investment out of a Investor Summit !!). Need of the hour is organize such event which would surely put TRIPURA in global map and radar of world class corporates!

    11.SPORTS – Not a single International stadium exists in AGARTALA to hold national and international level football and cricket tournaments (ODI, T20, Test matches, IPL, ISL, Challengers League etc) !!! Need of the hour is to set up an World Class International stadium with latest technology, infrastructure, equipments and best of the amenities (to the level of Eden Gardens Stadium, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, M. A. Chidambaram Stadium) to facilitate football and cricket crazy fans of TRIPURA (2nd Populous NE state!!), fans from neighboring NE states and neighboring countries of Bangladesh & Myanmar, budding cricketers and footballers from NORTHEAST to watch their favorite STARS in action !! This would also be a huge boost to Tourism, Relationship build up with neighboring countries, Opening up of many other avenues in industry starved NORTHEAST TRIPURA! For an instance, even though INDIA will be hosting 2017 U-17 FIFA world cup, there seems to be no chance of having few matches played in TRIPURA – though that would be the nicest thing to bring WORLD much closer to NORTHEAST TRIPURA !! Does anyone know when first international cricket match will be played in AGARTALA ?

    12.ECONOMIC ZONE – Really hope AGARTALA gets incorporated in the proposed BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) corridor project and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) project. Having close geographical proximity with important cities like DHAKA and CHITTAGONG will surely help TRIPURA leverage it’s strategic location of being India’s Gateway to SOUTHEAST ASIA! Also there is a urgent need to build economic and industrial corridors connecting all NE capitals to leverage economic potential between Northeast India and Southeast Asia. Does anyone know when a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will come up in AGARTALA? Can there be a ECONOMIC CORRIDOR set up between AGARTALA and DHAKA ?

    13.TOURISM – There seems to be no concerted approach in Branding and Marketing TRIPURA TOURISM with a wider internet reach through Social Media network, Top travel and hospitality web sites (in the line of Maharashta Tourism, Tamilnadu Tourism, Uttar Pradesh Tourism, Kerala Tourism, Goa Tourism) even though there is a huge scope for TRIPURA in both National and International Tourism Market. Also hilly terrains can be transformed into a major hub for Adventure Tourism (in the line of Ladakh) in addition to existing eco, cultural and religious Tourism.

    14.TECHNOLOGY – There seems to be no approach in promoting and using modern technologies e.g. Internet Of Things (Combination of Physical things, Sensors, Internet, Cloud, Big Data and Real time Analytics) – which allows to overcome day to day challenges and enhance quality of public life (e.g. Wireless sensors on Bridges and Buildings for precaution against earthquake and natural disaster; Smart farms to improve Agriculture productivity; Effective Monitoring of Healthcare for patients; Managing Rivers, lakes and flood situations; Managing Traffic Congestion; Managing Air Polution; Managing Forest Degradation; Maintaining Roads and Highways; Monitoring Goods Transportation; Monitoring vehicle speed and preventing Road Accidents).

    15.SMART CITY – Hope AGARTALA gets incorporated in the SMART CITY (with a Global imprint) project envisaged by NDA Govt. Can AGARTALA lead in implementing every aspect of Global SMART CITY and set an example ?

    16.ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Does anyone know why there is no notable start up (like RedBus, Snapdeal, Flipkart) yet from TRIPURA ?

    17.NRI – There seems to be no approach to involve NRIs from TRIPURA to come up with ideas, investment for rapid economic growth of TRIPURA – whereas Karnataka, Tamilnadu have seen major contributions from NRIs.

    18. TELECOM – Internet and Telecom services are still WAY BELOW PAR in AGARTALA (compared to cities like AHMEDABAD or BANGALORE)- while country have moved on with latest technologies like 4G !! Does anyone know HOW LONG people of TRIPURA have to be deprived from – seamless HIGH SPEED Internet and Best of the class Telecom services ? Does anyone know when AGARTALA would become a WIFI enabled city ?

    Also urgent need of the hour is to complete all the existing infrastructure projects as soon as possible and identification and sanctioning of all other infrastructure projects fulfilling above infrastructure gaps without any further delay!!

    Anything less than ‘WORLD CLASS’ would only defeat the very purpose behind infrastructure development of TRIPURA under ACT-EAST Policy!!

    IMPOSSIBLE – just means I AM POSSIBLE! If India need to catch up with developed part of the world,the most strategically placed Northeast (especially TRIPURA) need to be made into a developed region in the shortest possible time!

    I strongly believe TRIPURA govt (in close co-ordination with Center, other concerned dignitaries & all corporate vissionaries) can certainly achieve this sooner rather than late, which would definitely give its people a better employment opportunities, a better healthcare, a better access to quality education, a quality lifestyle, and last but not the least a confident and connected TRIPURA leading India’s charge towards contributing to a more stable and stronger global economy!!

    • realistic

      Why only tripura? Progress should in all parts of country. Everyone wants their place to be the best.