Touching Every Aspect of Life Insurance Through Technology - Emerging Trends in Contactless Channels

Excerpts from an interaction with Ms. Anjana Rao, Chief Strategy Officer, IndiaFirst Life Insurance Ltd | Monday, 23 November 2020, 08:51 IST

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In a recent interaction with Emmanuel Christi Das, Editor, CIOReviewIndia, Ms. Anjana Rao, Chief Strategy Officer at IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited, gave us some valuable insights into the emerging trends about contactless payment channels in the life insurance sector, driven by the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic:

Brief us about the significant technological trends brought in by the Covid-19 Pandemic in the Life Insurance sector.

Before the pandemic, most insurance companies were charting a digital transformation strategy or were halfway through their transformational journey. But post-pandemic, the pace in the digital transformation journey has shifted gears due to a major shift in consumer behavior. Customers have been quick in adapting digital enablers / digital mediums to transact on a daily basis to minimize their contact with people. Using contactless payment has become a phenomenon in the pandemic to stay safe. This inclination of customers towards contactless transactions has forced most enterprises to redesign their processes to make them contactless.

Please walk us through the major shifts in the processes involved in dealing with customers pertaining to the Life Insurance domain.

A major shift has taken place in the industry in the process areas - be it engaging with prospects to pitch an insurance plan, customer onboarding, customer consent, premium collection process for new policy or renewals, the payout processes, customer service processes, and customer engagement process. These processes are being digitized, and emerging technologies are increasingly being used to make the processes more efficient and relevant for the customers besides making them contactless. These include:

Engaging with Prospects - Sales Pitches – From F2F interactions to Video Calls:

Field sales has been quick to adopt video-based calling to pitch insurance solutions to prospective clients. This shift alone has enabled insurance companies to access conversations between sales agents and customers. Deploying AI to monitor the pitches being made and suggest corrections to the field sales wherever required can become an inherent part of coaching the field agent. The queries of the prospects again can be analyzed while designing new products.

Co-browsing solutions in assisted sales models have gained popularity. They have become an integral part of the customer onboarding process. As a result, the customer can instantly validate the form's content and highlight discrepancies, if any.

Customer Onboarding Process – 100% shift to digital application forms

The entire onboarding process has seen a major transformation. A few technology-based enablers which have brought in the transformation are –

  • OTP-based digital consent from customers is another big shift in the onboarding process

The regulator is playing an instrumental role in making digital consent on applications accepted norm. Customers, too, are more aware and are willing to digitally consent as compared to the pre-COVID-19 period. Third-Party integrations to validate the customer's details (eKYC, score validation) or integration with Fintech's for alternate risk writing scores have become a part of the mainstream onboarding process. Increased use of AI and OCR to read supporting documents and compare the information with the application data to pre-empt discrepancies have become permanent features of the onboarding process. Use of AI to predict the propensity to convert of a prospect. Use of WhatsApp and SMS for delivery of policy documents. The interventions embedded in the on-boarding process will enable the insurance provider to enhance their FTR ratio and add to the instant issuance numbers.

  • Digital Collections / Digital Payouts –Embedding of payments in the transactions

All the collection communications have the payment links embedded for convenience. Collections through wallets / UPI Handles /net banking/cards are being encouraged to enable the customer to make contactless payments towards policies and renewals.

  • Customer Servicing – Self Service Options on Chatbots / IVR

Most customer service processes have been redesigned to allow customers to initiate requests via WhatsApp / chatbot in a conversational mode. Care has been taken to minimize customer visits to branches, and processes have been redefined to accept a soft copy of supporting documents digitally.Self-service functionalities have been extended to customers via IVR or chatbot / WhatsApp to service policies. Claims notification and registration processes have been transformed to support contactless transactions.

Tell us about the new-age technologies that help customers achieve a smooth web-based interface with enhanced customer experiences.

Many insurance companies are also experimenting with voice technology to be integrated with their bots to enable a conversational user interface (CUI). This will further help customers access their information or undertake transactions on their conversational mode policies from his / her device. These experiments intend to enhance the overall customer experience and may lead to more and more service offerings being taken over by conversational user interface instead of the traditional web-based interface.


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