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Claim is the moment of truth for customers buying insurance. Even their purchase decision is influenced by settlement of claims by the insurers. Claims have always been a key pain point for the consumers and there is an urgent need to make the process hassle-free for their convenience.
A webinar on the theme ‘Rebooting the insurance digitization map’ was organized under Insuretech Connect Asia's Digital Distribution & Ecosystems Virtual Summit recently in which Yashish Dahiya, Co-Founder and CEO, Policybazaar, and Krishnan Ramachandran, CEO & MD, Max Bupa Health Insurance had participated. It was moderated by Shwetank Verma, General Partner & Co-Founder, Leo Capital. Insuretech Connect is the world’s largest insurtech community offering access to the most comprehensive gathering of tech entrepreneurs, investors, and insurance industry executives from across the globe. Founded in 2016, ITC has established itself as the biggest insurtech event in its US location in Vegas and has launched a new venture in APAC with ITC Asia in Singapore.
“Right now, it's the time to sort out claims experience where a consumer gets auto adjudicated, automated, sharp, and quick claims. Equally, important for the health provider industry is to come together and allow a quick discharge of the patient. Today, I have no pain in checking out of a hotel but it takes 5 hours to check out of a hospital. It's very painful. This needs to be automated. In insurance, you are basically giving a promise that when a claim happens, we will settle it immediately. The moment we start doing it in the industry, it will become a painless experience for the consumer,” said Yashish Dahiya, Group CEO and Co-Founder, Policybazaar.com.
Improvement in claims processes will instill confidence and trust among the customers for the need for protection products and encourage buying behaviour. “That's the only way to get to the consumer to buy insurance. For 3-4 years, we have to focus on that. At least, we are totally focussed on that because our growth is limited to the consumer experience. If the consumer experience is better, more consumers will buy. Today, the customer is basically asking the question of how painful it will be despite all the efforts of everybody,” added Dahiya.
Krishnan Ramachandran, CEO, and MD, Max Bupa Health Insurance believes that Covid-19 has translated awareness of health insurance into urgency. “As I look ahead, there will be a permanent lift to the demand for health insurance. From a regulations perspective, Covid has heightened the need for standardization and simplification. That's fundamentally good for consumer and industry's evolution standpoint and this will play out in the future,” he said.
“An equally important is the delivery of health care chain. We have seen a remarkable increase in the adoption of digital health led by telemedicine. This shift is going to stay,” added Ramachandran. Talking about the government’s National Digital Health Mission that aims to bridge the existing gap amongst different stakeholders of the healthcare ecosystem through digital highways, Dahiya said that there has been a shift towards digital mediums and this will enable better claims automation.
“More importantly, the government has started to develop a lot of focus towards retail health insurance and the focus has been laid on the middle class which isn’t covered by health insurance. The government's involvement thus, in terms of claims automation, getting support from the provider industry, a lot of initiatives will lead to changes in the industry. There was a lot that was needed to change as far as the industry is concerned, least from the insurer's perspective and more from the healthcare industry perspective,” said Dahiya.
Buy insurance early
The urgency of the demand for insurance was created among consumers during the outbreak of Coronavirus because of the fear of contracting the virus. However, according to Dahiya, there are far more severe diseases for which health insurance should have ideally been bought by the consumers. Moreover, the ideal time to buy insurance should be before the catastrophe and not when the catastrophe happens.
“An urgency has been created by Covid and the awareness is allowing people to act more. Along with that, there is a financial strain on people. However, I think at no stage was the health impact of Covid so severe that it actually overtook everything else. The impact of other diseases is far higher. However, the media attention and people's focus on it was such that it was creating that sort of awareness,” added Dahiya.
Explaining the demand for insurance in the last year, he said that there was heightened demand in the first four months but there was a lack of purchase because people couldn't get their medicals done in life insurance. At least half of the customers had to get their physical medicals done.
“In the second half, there was normal growth as any other year. In January, there was again immense growth when people started coming back to the office. Now that Covid-19 cases have spiked up again, there is a pick-up in health insurance and life insurance,” said Dahiya.
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