SBI General Insurance .....................
Company will continue focus on personal lines and SMEs:
SBI General Insurance has grown at a rate of 24% in 2017-18 over the previous year, as against industry growth of about 17%. Its principal growth drivers have been: 18% in motor insurance, 22% in health, and 19% in crop. Motor insurance constituted 39% of its portfolio and health 25%. According to the company’s MD and CEO Pushan Mahapatra, the growth on these two major lines has been better than the industry rate. Crop insurance has also played a significant role and was about 17% of the portfolio size. “Motor insurance growth has been largely possible because of our good acceptability in the OEM tie-ups. In FY19, we will continue to work on the same strategy of maintaining growth in these 3 lines. In addition, we will have renewed focus on property lines through SME and retail products like ‘Long Term Home/Simple Home’,” says he.
5 MN RURAL POLICIES
The company has been a major player in the tier 2 & 3 and in rural areas with its simple products. It issued over 5 million policies in these regions in 2017-18. Mahapatra says the company’s Simple Health Policy and Individual Personal Accident Insurance Policy are the highest selling products. “We will always endeavor to leverage our far-reaching distribution potential to offer simple insurance solutions best suited to such profile of customers,” he adds.
SBI General Insurance is now engaged in mass media campaign aimed at educating the uninsured and providing them the option of visiting their nearest SBI or SBI General Insurance branch or the company’s website for getting themselves covered. The media plan includes campaigns using TV, digital & outdoor mediums. The outdoor campaign was launched in 15 non-metro locations and adequate point-of-sale collaterals including posters, leaflets, and flyers were supplied to the SBI branch locations through the mapped SBI General Insurance branches.
LEADING TECH INITIATIVES
SBI General Insurance is now in the process of implanting several transformative technologies “We aim to use blockchain technology, integrating it with the existing infrastructure to reduce turnaround time as well as optimize the resources,” says Mahapatra. He adds: “Having implemented cloud technology, we are aiming to see a change in various claims processes such as net promoter score and in-house investigations. The cloud offers inherent benefits such as state-of-the-art security features, ease of application and reduced processing and infrastructure cost. We are working closely with OEM partners to automate claims processes and provide seamless services to our customers. Several of our employees do not work out of an office and with the help of cloud, we are able to create a shared infrastructure that can be accessed anywhere, which helps reduce turnaround time, thereby enhancing customer experience.”
The company is also using cognitive services, which has a wide range of applications. Mahapatra says the company will use the technology in the form of chatbots and points out that a number of companies have adopted chatbots to offer better service to their clients. SBI General Insurance would bring the product to the market with an ecosystem to manage and handle cyber risks as a differentiator with vast product features, says he.
The bancassurance channel has greatly helped the company in tapping the underserved markets. “Bancassurance,” says Mahapatra, “comprises 55% of our distribution network. Penetrating into these markets has and will always be a challenge for the insurance industry. With the help of this channel, we have been able to reach out to some of these areas.”
SBI GI has some 111 standalone branches to reach out to the underinsured segment. It also has a vast footprint through 20,000 Specified Persons, or SPs, 8944 agents and 305 brokers. “We shall continue to leverage the far-reaching distribution potential to offer simple insurance solutions best suited to such profile of customers. We are one of the few brands to have a substantial presence in the North East,” says Mahapatra.
SBI General Insurance has recorded its first annual underwriting profit of `320 million in FY 2017-18 vis-à-vis an underwriting loss of `1.97 billion in FY 2016-17. “We are one of the first players to achieve profits in early stages of operations. We have always maintained that the true performance of an insurance player lies not just in their GWP, but also in securing an underwriting profit,” says Mahapatra.
Semi-urban and rural areas are very important for SBI General Insurance as people in these areas generally lack awareness about insurance. Mahapatra sees an upward swing in health insurance in these areas even as motor insurance will grow in line with sales of new vehicles. “We will focus on personal lines and the SME segment, as that is where our strength is,” he concludes.
Pushan Mahapatra believes underwriting profit is also as important as GWP