Technology acting as catalyst for India's InsurTech revolution

16 January 2020 5 min. read

The growing interaction between technology and big data is transforming India’s InsurTech sector at a rapid pace, writes Madhur Singhal, Managing Director at Praxis Global Alliance, a management consulting and business research firm.

The insurance sector in India is expected to grow to $150 billion by 2023. One of the factors boosting this growth is the increasing customer reach and growing customer sophistication on service levels which is creating a new wave of InsurTech companies changing how insurance is sold and serviced. The internet-first insurance platforms are receiving positive customer feedback because of the quick service they provide, coupled with mobile-first convenience, as compared to interaction with the agents.

The insurance sector in India is now witnessing a rise in the number of players innovating with technology through differentiated offerings and business models. New distribution platforms and aggregators touching multiple products in insurance have emerged. Incumbent insurers are also not behind and are making rapid strides in adopting technology in customer acquisition, policy issuance, claim submission and processing and other areas of customer support.

Technology acting as catalyst for India's InsurTech revolution

So how is technology transforming the insurance industry in India? Initially, InsurTech started with online platforms for discovery. Now, most digital population goes online to discover, compare and purchase insurance products. This trend is more pronounced in relatively simpler products like motor insurance, but even relatively complex ones like health insurance also have a strong digital influence making it more convenient for the customers.

For consumers

Gradual shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’: Consumers in the metros and tier 1 cities are becoming habitual buyers of insurance and are getting comfortable in buying insurance without much assistance. Consumers are actively learning how to compare and buy insurance products on e-platforms and tightening compliance about buying motor insurance is bringing more consumers under the insurance umbrella.

Growing consumer expectations: Customers now expect on-tap service and a seamless experience from purchase to claims to renewal. Boston Consulting Group estimates that the number of internet users in India will be 850 million by 2025 and most of them will be connected via their smartphones. As insurers are becoming more digital and getting closer to the point of sales in the offline world, penetration of insurance is set to increase.

Growing ‘preservation mindset’: Consumers are increasingly getting more conscious of preserving and extending the life of their assets, be it their home, expensive phones, automobiles, and consumer appliances.

For insurance providers

Lower cost of distribution and servicing: Insurers are leveraging technology to assess the condition of the underlying asset, enable the raising of claims, do a remote inspection for minor injuries or damages and deliver a seamless customer experience. Most of these services were dependent on agents, field team or third party agencies earlier and needed extensive coordination at the insurer’s end driving costs up.

InsurTech startups are processing millions of customer conversations to create artificial intelligence and natural language processing powered chatbots that are fast being deployed on front lines of support. These chatbots can auto-respond to claim related queries, FAQs, can help in product discovery and are designed to be easily integrated on the website via APIs. Even offline agents and brokers are being enabled digitally.

“India’s InsurTech revolution is underway, and technology is acting as a catalyst.”
– Madhur Singhal, Praxis Global Alliance

Capital backing internet first insurers: Internet-first insurance platforms have raised $2.2 billion globally in 2018. Like in the USA and Europe, internet-first insurance platforms have received $734 million in funding to date, as per PGA Labs research.

New innovative products: Seamless connectivity and micro-payments are enabling new insurance use cases. For example, InsurTech players have started to give the option to commuters to insure their rides on a cab to cover loss of property and damage aligned to changing commuting trends in India.

Also, the sachet approach followed by health insurers to offer insurance cover for specific instances such as seasonal diseases like Dengue has allowed some tech-players to sell insurance through tie-ups with traditional insurance firms. Even incumbent insurers are offering bite-sized per-day and per-week insurance for domestic travel trips.

Superior underwriting: From leveraging telematics to social score in underwriting, new age InsurTech companies are preparing to provide customised and economical insurance products. Other countries have started tracking driver performance, are tracking wellness through fitness trackers, coming up with pay-as-you-drive insurance based on an individual’s driving habits to name a few.

These companies collect various data points from driver behaviour, health, performance, geo-location for motor insurance or a person’s social media behaviour, connections, affiliates to underwrite the risk more accurately for the insured individual.

In conclusion

The insurance sector is undergoing speedy transformation with digital and data analytics advancements. As the population in the country become more digitally savvy, multiple players are preparing to ride the emerging opportunity. At Praxis Global Alliance, we believe that in the next five years, there would be significant uptake in full-stack digital insurance models, as insurers utilise big data to its complete capacity and leverage the internet to distribute and service cheaply.