Embracing a Digital World By Sandeep Patel, CEO & MD, Cigna TTK Health Insurance Company

Embracing a Digital World

Sandeep Patel, CEO & MD, Cigna TTK Health Insurance Company | Thursday, 13 October 2016, 05:03 IST

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The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, conveyed that the number of Internet users in India is expected to reach 402 million by December 2015, making India home to the second largest internet users in the world behind China. This surge in internet users is empowering consumers and changing the way they are beginning to shop and their interaction with service delivery providers.

According to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) titled “From Buzz to Bucks: Capitalizing on India’s “Digitally Influenced” Consumers,” the rise in internet penetration will lead to an increase in digital influence on people's purchase decisions. Forty percent of India's urban Internet users say that online activities such as product research and price comparison influence what they buy. The digital influence, currently affecting 30 billion USD of urban consumers spending is expected to greatly accelerate over the next four years. Furthermore, Ernst Young, in its recent report said, by the year 2020, 80 percent of the global population will have access to mobile technology and more than 60 percent to smartphones or low-cost tablet computers. It is anticipated, there will be more than 50 billion connected devices globally, with mobile being the primary internet device for most individuals.The number of mobile internet users in India is expected to rise to over 314 million by 2017 — the growth story of digital technology in India is on the upsurge.

To develop a sustainable digital strategy an insurance company will need to establish an integrated digital framework to ensure value creation and provide customers with a relevant customer experience. There are four key areas that a digital strategy needs to focus on to drive both business and customer relevance:

•Digital Experience and Engagement: Engage with customers in a relevant way irrespective of geography and business structure, deepening the customer’s relationship with the business across various life and career stages through their channel of preference, while developing monetization strategies at appropriate touch points.

• Digital Sales: Building robust Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) models that monetize appropriate touch points with customers supported by structured campaigns for prospecting, acquisition and retention.

• Digital Servicing: Build compelling digital end-to-end self-servicing experiences.

• Digital Innovation: Continue to redefine and revisit the businesses digital strategy for relevance looking for ways to positively disrupt the customer experience, “disrupt or be disrupted!”

Insurance companies will need to amalgamate the “old” and the “new” to create a holistic strategy for the new age customer. Although technology will change the way customers engage with insurers personal interaction will continue to be highly regarded in the near to mid-term. Companies will need to establish a strategy that not only balances but creates a complimentary environment between the two.

The complex nature of insurance products require need-based selling where technology can play an integral role in identifying relevant solutions for customers based on their life stage and risk exposure, regardless of the medium the customer may use to procure products.

Health insurance providers in India are beginning to align their products and services using this new medium. Utilizing both digital and non-digital modes allows customers to interact in their preferred medium at the time that suits their schedules.The digital medium can include wearable devices such as fitness bands that help people, especially the elderly, to track their health details constantly. This information can further help doctors in treating patients. These services not only improve the engagement between insurers and customers on a relevant basis, but helps insurance companies manage medical costs by investing in their customer’s health. Most insurers are focusing their digital innovations on using responsive design, leveraging e-signatures, improving claims view, and building tablet and smartphone capabilities.

Insurance companies should view achieving customer-centricity through digitization as a journey that puts the customer at the centre of their business and operating model. Insurers need to:
• Listen to and understand their customers’ needs, which mean organizing their data by segment rather than product.
• Devise tailor-made value propositions to meet each customer needs, and
• Define the mode of interaction that best suits delivering solutions by segment.

Inevitably for insurers to grow and become more efficient in India they will need to embrace and leverage digital enablers such as analytics, digital marketing and mobile services with easy-to-use apps. With mobile and tablet use growing exponentially, neglecting mobile is turning one’s back on the future. Similarly, insurers should embrace social media, recognizing its marketing value as a relatively inexpensive tool to engage with and influence sceptical, digitally-savvy consumers.

Digital innovations will have a significant impact on driving positive business and financial outcomes. A robust digital strategy begins with a plan and a sound understanding of the practical realities of implementation. Each of the elements – corporate strategies, customer expectations, target operating models and enabling frameworks – will shape each other as digital capabilities develop.

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