Leader Speak

There is talent in every Indian city just waiting for a chance: Sarbvir Singh

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Recently, Sarbvir Singh, the CEO of Policybazaar.com, particpiated in a panel discussion organized by Assocham. During the event, Singh spoke on a variety of aspects related to insurance. Here are some of the thoughts he shared at the event:

How Fintechs have helped build customer trust

When a customer purchases insurance, they buy into the insuer’s promise that they will be covered should the need arise. What has made it easier for a customer to trust the insurer is digital insurance processes as they are instant and highly trackable. Talking about the same at the event, Singh said, “Insurance is really a product of trust - people have to pay upfront and then there is a promise that they will be paid later if something wrong were to happen. Trust is the backbone of why insurance is bought and why its not bought.”

Explaining how technology has helped the industry shift focus to customer-centric products, he added, “There are two parts to any financial service - distribution and product. So far, the focus has been on distribution. In distribution, people have brought focus to the top of the funnel which is like how do you compare products, how do you discover products, why should you buy insurance, protection products, focussing on term insurance and health insurance. Then there is a focus on improving the buying process, individual-led buying, you can personalize the insurance products, and finally the moment of truth - claims. Today most claims are settled on the basis of video or declaration so we have come a long way on the trust side”
Buying insurance should be celebrated 

Singh explained that the intertia among Indian customers has more to do with perception than with pricing. He said, “If there are two products that every Indian must have, it is Health Insurance or Term Insurance. Everything else is somewhat optional - you can decide whether you need it or not. Term Insurance is very cheap in India compared to global levels and to our mortality and the experience that we have. Anyone who can afford to buy term insurance - it costs INR 1000 to 1500 a month - but is not buying it, is being hugely irresponsible or frankly speaking, not very intelligent. Affordability is (only) one part of the challenge. It is not so much about the pricing of the product as it is about the form of the product - should we have 30 year Term Insurance or 40 year or should we renew every year. A new phone or a new car is celebrated on instagram. (Similarly), there should be a moment of joy when you buy insurance - this is what we need to change as an industry.”

Tapping customers through raw talent

Talking about the right ways to engage new consumers, Singh said, “There is no shortage of new consumers. Insurance penetration is still very low. The problem with getting new consumers is that it takes hard work. It has taken the industry 20 years since it was privatized and we have reached a certain point. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of investment. As far as talent is concerned - one thing we have no shortage of, is people. The top talent doesnt necessarily reside in the top tier colleges of the country nor in the top tier cities of the country. A lot of people have grown up in different places and have evolved. If these people are given a chance, they can do wonders.  We have to step up this challenge - we have to train people well. We have to give people a chance and we will be surprised at the outcome.”

Singh received a big round of applause from attendees and panelists alike when he explained how just by trusting India’s raw talent, the country can achieve better insurance penetration. 

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