Leader Speak

Let your customers guide you: Sarbvir Singh

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Recently, Sarbvir Singh, CEO of Policybazaar.com was invited to speak at the D2C conference held by Exchange For Media. Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, E4M, urged Singh to talk about various aspects of Policybazaar’s role in the D2C space in India. Here are some tidbits from the conversation between the two:

In tandem with Indian customers 
Speaking about Policybazaar’s journey in the Indian insurance market, Singh said, “We have always been a consumer-first organization. So well before, you know, the whole D2C was in fashion, we took an approach that we have to represent the consumer in an industry, which was really agent-first. So that was a big change that happened. I think we have been guided by the consumer. We started with creating awareness around why you need insurance – why you need health insurance, term insurance to protect yourself and your family.Then, there was very little knowledge about insurance. So we said, how do you choose what is a good policy? What are the features of a policy? Then we didn’t just sell the policy to you, we also helped you with the claim. So I think the evolution of Policybazaar has happened by following the consumer.”

Addressing ground-level challenges 

The role of Policybazaar goes all the way from reforming the understanding of insurance in India to ensuring that it is truly empathetic to the consumer. Elaborating on this, Singh said, “The challenge with insurance is twofold. One is awareness – you need to be aware that you need health insurance and term insurance. The second is the fact that India is a very cautious country, right? If I ask you to give me money today and I tell you that you'll get something later, your first instinct is to do that later only. So that’s the trust challenge – creating that trust is a very important factor.” 

Making insurance accessible
“Har Family Hogi Insured,” Policybazaar’s tagline, represents the brand’s mission to make financial security accessible across India. Singh offered a glimpse into the brand’s strategy on the same as he said, “So the challenge is that you have to be present. Digital is the only medium which can make this possible. In larger cities, there can be branches. But in smaller cities, it is never going to be economical to do this at a personal level. So if you see what the rise of policy and the rise of digital is actually has mirrored each other.” 

The changing role of Tier-II and Tier-III cities 

In the past two years, the widespread sense of uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic, decidedly changed the insurance buying patterns in the country. Singh explained, “If I give you an example – during COVID, when we all suddenly learned that we all work from home and, you know, life will go on, many people for the first time bought insurance from Policybazaar. So just to give you a statistic, five years ago, about 30% of our business, less than 30% came from tier-II or Tier-III cities. Today in 2022, over 60% of our business comes from there. And in those five years, we've also almost, you know, grown two and a half times. The magnitude of what is happening in tier-II, tier-III cities (is telling). The digital medium and insurance are made for each other. In a sense, you know, we are a virtual product, right? There is no product when you buy insurance, you don't get anything. So I think in that sense, the digital revolution, the fact that we were there to provide the tools, the services, et cetera, have come together. And I think without digital, there would be no Policybazaar. I don't think the penetration of insurance would also have been as high. It is a long way to go, but still we have made some progress.”

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