The coronavirus pandemic has pushed insurers to accelerate the digitization of processes, maintain solvency requirements and boost customer engagement, said panellists at the Mint Pivot and Perish webinar on how insurers are pivoting towards a new normal.
While the pandemic did put insurance firms under tremendous pressure, which reflects in the drop in new premium collections, it also forced them to look beyond traditional ways of selling products through agencies and bancassurance channels, which are dependent on personal interactions with clients.
Other than a drop in sales, policy renewals also came under stress because of the lockdown, said Vibha Padalkar, managing director and chief executive officer of HDFC Life Insurance. The firm had to, therefore, choose whether to pay dividends to shareholders or preserve solvency, she added.
Health insurance firms, however, emerged winners as the category quickly moved from a push to a pull product, given the fear around covid-19. Consumer behaviour has gone through a tectonic shift and health insurance is claiming a primary position, said Prasun Sikdar, managing director and CEO of ManipalCigna Health Insurance.
Bhargav Dasgupta, managing director and CEO of ICICI Lombard General Insurance, said distributors have figured out a way to reach out to customers using digital channels.
There is a surge in demand for protection plans and the trend may continue, said Prashant Tripathy, managing director and CEO, Max Life Insurance.