Industries across the globe are in the midst of a technological revolution and the pandemic, which otherwise caused major devastation to human lives and economy, has been interestingly acting as a catalyst and fuelling the digital transformation journey for several sectors and insurance is one such industry that has gracefully embraced the tech-challenges and leveraging the best to serve the dynamically changing customer base. To understand the changes in insurance industry and it’s transformation from being a pushed product to demand driven product, Rashi Aditi Ghosh of Elets News Network (ENN) spoke to Manu Lavanya, Director & Chief Operations Officer, Max Life Insurance.
Covid-19 outbreak is now seen as an opportunity to boost digitisation across industries. How is it transforming the insurance sector?
Insurance industry was already on a path of digital transformation even before the pandemic. It has only accelerated digitization. The sellers /agents transitioned to remote selling and now, even after easing of lockdown we are comfortable with remote interactions with the customers. We also saw that agent advisors were able to create trust with their customers remotely leveraging social media presence. Initially the physical footfalls to Bank branches was impacted which supported the growth of alternative channels like D2C. We also saw customers adopting digital service transactions and our share of digital transactions went from 45% to75%.
What is Max Life Innovation Labs 2.0? How are you promoting start-ups through this?
Max Life innovation labs is a Max life start-up accelerator program where Max Life has collaborated with startup eco systems like Startup India, Invest India, AWS etc. to work with Insurtech and starts-up on solving some of our business challenges. We invited start-ups for specific use cases and had over 200 entries. A specific team worked on assigning the potential of these solutions and a mix of internal, external jury selected 5 start-ups in the area of non/minimally invasive medical tests, digital twin for sales staff enablement, account aggregator for financial underwriting & Health & Wellness. We are currently doing a POC with these start-ups which will be completed by November. Post this we will be scaling up successful start-ups for our operations.
What are your views on Insurtech? Do you see it as a collaborative growth opportunity or challenge for insurance industry?
Insurtech is a huge partnership opportunity for traditional insurers. They are an integral part of the ecosystem especially in the areas of customer service, frictionless underwriting, health ecosystems and even platforms for collaboration with new age B2C organizations. We are already collaborating with them through the Max Life Innovation Labs Program.
What’s your take on disruptive technologies like AI? Are they helping you in optimizing your processes?
Leveraging intelligence to drive superior customer experience, sharper risk management and frictionless journey is an important part of our digital strategy. We are leveraging AI across the value chain from running models of existing customer data and data of our partners for sharper prospecting, to integrating risk and persistency models in our onboarding journeys. Also, areas in customer service like intent prediction, speech analytics and photo liveness are also examples of embedding AI in our processes.
What tech-driven lessons would you like to take forward from the Covid-19 times to the non-pandemic era?
First, technology can help create empathy and can be used as a medium to develop trust, secondly customers are far more open to the use of digital means of interaction with brands then they were ever earlier. Third, we need to build resilience in our systems and drive the ability to work from anywhere, any Device. Lastly, technology has enabled more flexibility in workplace and teams can work in distributed-mode efficiently.
What are your technology based growth plans for 2021 and beyond?
At Max Life, we will continue to accelerate our vision of becoming a digital first Insurance Co Ltd. The aim is to invest in digital platforms and digital marketing to retain our leadership business in online term business. We will further harness our capabilities to embed intelligence, leverage eco systems and bank partnerships to reduce friction in our journeys. To offer an Omni channel customer experience, we are creating a cloud customer data platform and cloud-first IT Infrastructure to build a solid foundation. We will also continue to invest in process automation, enterprise workflows, HR Self-service apps and portals to build a world class experience for our associates.