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India's Insurance Industry Gears Up For Emerging Trends: Anand Pejawar, SBI General Insurance
Anand Pejawar, Whole-time Director at SBI General Insurance, shares insights on industry trends, digital transformation and CSR initiatives shaping India's insurance landscape
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In an exclusive interview, Anand Pejawar, the Whole-time Director at SBI General Insurance, talks about the ever-evolving insurance sector of India. From industry trends and digital transformation to the impact of customer feedback and SBI General Insurance's commitment to corporate social responsibility, this interview delves into the key factors shaping the future of insurance in India.
In your opinion, what are the most significant trends and challenges that are shaping the future of the insurance sector, especially in India?
The General Insurance industry registered a growth of 16 per cent during the year, primarily driven by the health segment, which continues to be the largest contributor in India. The insurance landscape in India is currently undergoing a profound transformation, driven by emerging trends and challenges that are redefining its trajectory. The future of the insurance industry in India looks promising owing to several changes in the regulatory framework, technological advancements, government support and increasing awareness.
The regulator has introduced the 3 B’s – Bima Sugam, Bima Vistar, Bima Vahak for general and life insurance firms. We are confident that these revolutionary changes will bring a difference to the insurance sector and will be able achieve IRDAI’s mission of “Insurance for all by 2047”. These regulatory reforms are geared towards enhancing insurance penetration, simplifying processes and reinforcing consumer protection.
This shift is characterised by a robust emphasis on using digital technologies to enhance customer experience, streamline operations, and introduce innovative distribution models. The insurance industry in India is poised to usher in new trends, including product innovation, tailor made products, multi-distribution, improved claims management and regulatory advancements within the Indian market.
Moreover, the significance of health and wellness has been greatly magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting insurers to expand their offerings into health-related domains such as telemedicine and wellness programmes. These changes are shaping the competitive landscape and fostering a culture of innovation.
How does SBI General Insurance stay competitive and innovative in a dynamic and competitive market?
At SBI General Insurance, we underscore our dedication to offering a competitive and innovative contender within the dynamic market. This achievement is realised through a strategy that blends technological advancement, customer-centric approaches and commitment to excellence. By harnessing cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, future of data sharing by consent, data analytics and automation, the company streamlines operations, enhances risk assessment precision and tailors customised solutions.
At SBI General, we prioritise customer satisfaction by actively seeking feedback, analysing preferences and adapting its services to align with customer expectations. Guided by regular market research, the company is adept at anticipating industry trends, enabling it to shape its strategies accordingly. This proactive approach is complemented by agile decision-making practices that allow swift responses to market shifts and emerging opportunities.
How important is customer feedback and engagement in shaping the company's products and services?
Customer feedback and engagement play a pivotal role in shaping Company's products and services. This drives product improvement as feedback highlights areas for enhancement, fostering continuous innovation by addressing customer concerns and refining offerings. Moreover, engaging with customers encourages fresh perspectives, fostering innovation and agility in a rapidly evolving market.
At SBI General, we believe in a customer centric approach, with an aim to transit the customer service to customer delight. We take Net Promoter Score “NPS” seriously, we constantly interact with our customers and action on the feedback received by them. This engagement also enhances customer loyalty as companies valuing feedback boost retention and advocacy. Effective communication through engagement demonstrates transparency and mutual commitment, while market differentiation attracts customers who value a customer-centric approach. Ultimately, incorporating feedback supports long-term growth by satisfying customers who contribute to success, positioning companies to thrive amid competition.
How is SBI General Insurance embracing digital transformation to enhance operational efficiency?
The current landscape demands insurance companies to deliver a seamless and robust digital experience, in response to evolving customer expectations. The Indian insurance sector has undergone transformative technological disruptions, leading in an era characterised by customer-centric offerings and top-tier service quality. This environment proves advantageous for both insurers and customers.
At SBI General Insurance, we have strengthened the digitisation process on cloud and now we have moved many of our Digital applications on cloud with the sole purpose of faster and seamless customer service. By leveraging innovation and technology, we have significantly enhanced risk assessment, pricing, underwriting, claims processing, customer interactions and overall efficiency. This transformative approach is reshaping our business practices.
In response to this evolving market situation, we have also recently introduced ‘Health Edge Insurance’ a fully customisable, digital-only health product. The policy offers a single comprehensive plan with 9 basic indemnity covers and 18 optional covers, allowing customers to design a tailor-made health insurance policy as per their requirements. It offers customers a convenient and hassle-free experience.
Could you elaborate on SBI General Insurance's CSR activities and the impact they have on communities?
At SBI General, we are committed towards our corporate social responsibility aiming to reach maximum beneficiaries through various possible projects. We believe it is critical to invest in vulnerable communities to enable them and the economy to prosper. It is our conviction that such investment must be meaningful, entrenched and premised on long term commitment as that is the only way real and on-ground transformation can be mobilised.
As a responsible entity, we understand the importance of fostering mutual growth and public welfare. Our CSR initiatives are rooted in ethical principles, strong governance and effective management, supported by transparent reporting. Our CSR initiatives are primarily focused on areas like education, healthcare, socio-economic and environmental sustainability, and road safety, to create impact and achieve results.
Are there any exciting initiatives or plans on the horizon that you'd like to share?
As part of our technology-led evolution, we have implemented cutting edge systems using artificial intelligence, business intelligence and machine learning, to provide our customers a seamless experience. A few of the ongoing initiatives includes are usage of AI for fraud detection and risk inspection, usage of business intelligence and machine learning for finance automation and the implementation of a data fabric architecture, launch of Digi Lab - innovation and digital incubator hub, amongst others.