Univer­sal Sompo to fo­cus on health & mo­tor in­sur­ance

Crop busi­ness grows over 100%:

Banking Frontiers - - Insurance - Me­hul@bank­ingfron­tiers.com

Univer­sal Sompo Gen­eral In­sur­ance has regis­tered pre­mium growth of 79.52% with net writ­ten busi­ness of about `23.1 bil­lion in FY 2017-18. It has also su­per­seded gen­eral in­sur­ance in­dus­try growth rate of 17.71%. Re­mark­able pre­mium growth has been achieved from both crop and non-crop busi­ness. With­out con­sid­er­ing the crop pre­mium, the com­pany regis­tered a pre­mium growth of 44.60%.

Says Ra­jiv Ku­mar, MD & CEO: “Our crop busi­ness has soared up to about `12.5 bil­lion in FY2017-18 as against `5.5 bil­lion a year ago, reg­is­ter­ing over 100% growth. Be­sides, we made sub­stan­tial progress in grow­ing mo­tor busi­ness through OEM tie-ups and us­ing on­line chan­nels. Health seg­ment has also regis­tered a ro­bust growth in the last fis­cal.”

This pre­mium growth has sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved mar­ket share of the com­pany in the gen­eral in­sur­ance in­dus­try to 1.53% in 2017-18 as com­pared to 1.01% in the pre­vi­ous year. The com­pany al­ready has cor­po­rate tie-ups with Maruti Suzuki and Honda and is quite keen on in­creas­ing these over next one year. It would now be de­vis­ing unique strate­gies with its part­ner banks - Al­la­habad Bank, In­dian Over­seas Bank and Kar­nataka Bank, which to­gether have a geo­graphic reach for cov­er­ing al­most all the dis­tricts of the coun­try - to stream­line busi­ness and tap ex­ist­ing banca po­ten­tials.

Ra­jiv Ku­mar says for 2018-19, the com­pany is propos­ing to build on its in­ter­nal ef­fi­cien­cies in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate cus­tomer ef­fi­cien­cies for all the dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels. “We have pro­moted real time in­te­gra­tion with our part­ner banks and this will be ex­tended to oth­ers as­so­ci­ates. This ini­tia­tive is ex­pected to pro­vide a big boost in push­ing the co-branded health care prod­ucts on a large scale in 2018-19. We will be strate­giz­ing our agency busi­ness and will be con­duct­ing sev­eral ac­tiv­i­ties to im­prove over­all agency per­for­mance in the cur­rent FY,” he elab­o­rates.

RU­RAL PEN­E­TRA­TION

The com­pany sold 64,846 poli­cies in FY 2017-18 other than crop in­sur­ance. It found that in re­cent times, ru­ral con­sumer re­quire­ments at dif­fer­ent points in the pur­chase cy­cle are evolv­ing and these con­sumers are not very keen on tak­ing tra­di­tional in­sur­ance prod­ucts. “Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion this chang­ing ru­ral de­mand, we have in­tro­duced uni­fied pack­age in­sur­ance scheme, which cov­ers all as­sets of the farmer like the crop, dwelling and its con­tents both against fire and theft and the as­sets which help him in earn­ing his liveli­hood,” says Ra­jiv Ku­mar, adding the scheme also pro­vides pro­tec­tion to the farmer and/or his le­gal heir in case of an ac­ci­den­tal death or per­ma­nent dis­abil­ity. Be­sides, the com­pany has also in­tro­duced sev­eral health, travel and mo­tor re­lated prod­ucts of­fer­ing these through the com­mon ser­vice cen­ters for the ben­e­fit of ru­ral peo­ple. Such in­sur­ance poli­cies are likely to pace up in fu­ture con­sid­er­ing the evolv­ing de­mand from ru­ral ar­eas that are now look­ing for in­sur­ance ben­e­fits for more of their as­sets be­yond crop and cat­tle.

The com­pany aims to en­roll 2500+ PoS agents in com­ing days which will help to in­crease in­sur­ance pen­e­tra­tion in the ru­ral ar­eas.

MAR­KET­ING, PRO­MO­TIONS

Univer­sal Sompo Gen­eral In­sur­ance has launched sev­eral schemes in FY 201718, both ed­u­ca­tional and pro­mo­tional, to ben­e­fit cus­tomers. It holds health camps to ed­u­cate as well as to cre­ate aware­ness among peo­ple. It also makes use of so­cial me­dia as well as the print me­dia to re­solve gen­eral queries of pol­i­cy­hold­ers. In ad­di­tion, there are also on­line cam­paigns and pub­lic­ity pro­grams us­ing dig­i­tal chan­nels.

Also, us­ing so­cial me­dia, the com­pany is con­duct­ing pub­lic­ity ac­tiv­i­ties like pan In­dia out­door cam­paign ‘USGI con­nect’ for cor­po­rate brand­ing and pro­mo­tion, reg­u­lar so­cial me­dia en­gage­ment in Face­book, LinkedIn and Twit­ter, ‘Be Zinda’ cam­paign, road safety cam­paigns, health cam­paigns etc.

Ra­jiv Ku­mar re­veals that health camps and other cam­paigns would be con­tin­ued in FY 2018-19 as these have grad­u­ally helped the com­pany to ac­quire more busi­ness. Also the on­line dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nel has helped the com­pany to im­prove mar­ket share. The idea now is to fo­cus on pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties for agents to im­prove mar­ket share.

DIG­I­TAL INI­TIA­TIVES

Since in­cep­tion, the com­pany has nur­tured and de­vel­oped an ef­fi­cient IT sys­tem, griev­ance man­age­ment sys­tem, claim man­age­ment sys­tem and a cen­tral­ized pol­icy pro­cess­ing process. It has up­dated tech­nol­ogy in the PoS chan­nel and de­vel­oped a mo­bile-based ap­pli­ca­tion for PoS agents to so­licit new busi­ness us­ing

their mo­bile hand­set. “With in­creased dig­i­ti­za­tion in In­dian econ­omy, we are lever­ag­ing new dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels like Com­mon Ser­vice Cen­ters and ex­tend­ing our tie-ups with web ag­gre­ga­tors to gen­er­ate more on­line busi­ness,” says Ra­jeev Ku­mar.

The com­pany has also ex­tended tech­no­log­i­cal ben­e­fits to ru­ral In­dia by in­te­grat­ing with the CSC plat­form, which is ben­e­fit­ting mil­lions of In­dian ru­ral house­holds, who now re­ceive in­sur­ance ben­e­fits via their nearby cen­ter. As­so­ci­a­tion with on­line pay­ment gate­ways like Paytm and PayU has been ini­ti­ated for new and re­newal pre­mium col­lec­tions. It has also de­vel­oped an on­line por­tal for pol­icy is­suance and fast un­der­writ­ing.

SMART CLAIM SYS­TEM

One of the key cus­tomer ser­vice ini­tia­tives in the smart claim sys­tem, which helps lodge claims for mo­tor (OD & TP). The sys­tem will in­ter­act with its in­ter­nal op­er­a­tional sys­tem us­ing the web ser­vices and will en­sure faster claim set­tle­ment. It also man­ages claim cal­cu­la­tion and au­toap­point a claims sur­veyor.

The com­pany has ap­plied in­ter­nally de­vel­oped mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem for banca and as­sis­tant banca as­so­ci­ates in 201819 to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity and in­crease trans­parency.

Elab­o­rates Ra­jiv Ku­mar: “We have in­tro­duced chat­bots for res­o­lu­tion of on­line cus­tomer queries cov­er­ing all our prod­ucts. This will help the cus­tomers in a sig­nif­i­cant man­ner. We have also launched Aar­o­gyam to pro­vide easy ac­cess to health­care ser­vices in the form of dis­counts and spe­cial of­fers to the cus­tomers. These ser­vices are of­fered by in­de­pen­dent ser­vice providers like di­ag­nos­tic cen­ters, phar­ma­cies and den­tal clin­ics.”

The com­pany has de­vel­oped sys­tems us­ing IT to im­prove pol­icy is­suance and to main­tain KYC stan­dards. These in­clude CKYC in­te­gra­tion, UIDAI de­mo­graphic au­then­ti­ca­tion, bulk pol­icy book­ing sys­tem, sys­tem for dig­i­tal is­suance, etc. There are other sev­eral IT ini­tia­tives to im­prove in­ter­nal ef­fi­cien­cies like in­te­gra­tion with GIC, un­der­writ­ing for group health poli­cies, HRMS sys­tem (for em­ployee man­age­ment) to drive pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­ciency.

Says Ra­jiv Ku­mar: “With these tech­no­log­i­cal en­hance­ments, ef­fi­cien­cies as well over­all pro­ce­dural turn-around time have sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved be­cause of which we now have one of the best claim set­tle­ment ra­tios for our cat­e­gory. With the help of sev­eral new ini­tia­tives we ex­pect to keep this mo­men­tum in FY 2018-19 as well.”

PRIC­ING, DE­MAND

The com­pany has adopted a pric­ing strat­egy based on var­ied mar­ket seg­ments as per re­quire­ment. For re­tail prod­ucts it has adopted a pen­e­tra­tion pric­ing strat­egy in which it has kept prod­uct prices com­pet­i­tive over other in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to ac­quire cus­tomers for ba­sic in­sur­ance prod­ucts with an ex­pec­ta­tion to bring con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment in prod­uct and ser­vice qual­ity in forth­com­ing years.

“This kind of pric­ing strat­egy has helped us to bring cost ef­fi­ciency and en­sured prof­itabil­ity to run the busi­ness and has helped to build up brand value. How­ever, we keep a reg­u­lar eye on the qual­ity of our prod­ucts and ser­vices which are to be ser­viced to our cus­tomers at ef­fi­cient cost over other in­surer,” says Ra­jiv Ku­mar.

The over­all size of the In­dian in­sur­ance mar­ket is re­stricted by a gen­eral lack of aware­ness of the ben­e­fits of in­sur­ance amongst the low-in­come seg­ments of the pop­u­la­tion. Even though the re­cently in­tro­duced Prad­han Mantri Su­rak­sha Bima Yo­jana and Prad­han Mantri Fasal Bima Yo­jana have in­creased the in­sur­ance cover­age in In­dia, fur­ther ad­vance­ment to­ward aware­ness cre­ation is re­quired from the reg­u­la­tor.

Ra­jiv Ku­mar feels that in the present sce­nario, though the reg­u­la­tor has gen­er­ated sup­ply-side in­ter­est in in­sur­ance via reg­u­la­tions, sig­nif­i­cant ef­fort in cre­at­ing sim­i­lar de­mand side in­ter­est for in­sur­ance prod­ucts is also needed.

BAN­CAS­SUR­ANCE SUC­CESS

Univer­sal Sompo Gen­eral In­sur­ance pro­vides a bou­quet of prod­ucts, es­pe­cially health prod­ucts, to bank cus­tomers. At the same time it re­tains a strong pres­ence in the ru­ral in­sur­ance sec­tor. Says Ra­jiv Ku­mar: “Our ru­ral based prod­ucts like Loan Se­cure and Saral Su­rak­sha have regis­tered pre­mium growth of 11.7% and 20.4% re­spec­tively. The banca chan­nel has main­tained low­est loss ra­tio among all other chan­nels and hence has been a key con­trib­u­tor to boost over­all prof­itabil­ity. On an av­er­age, banca part­ners have con­trib­uted about 35-45% of to­tal busi­ness of USGI in the for­ma­tive years, which had fa­cil­i­tated the com­pany to main­tain a bet­ter growth rate in fu­ture years. We have de­vel­oped IT in­fras­truc­tural base to cater to more than 6000 bank branches at pan In­dia.”

TAR­GETS, FU­TURE PLANS

The com­pany in­tends to re­tain the mar­ket share of 1.70% of the gen­eral in­sur­ance in­dus­try in FY 2018-19. It will be fo­cus­ing on mod­ern­iz­ing and trans­form­ing its in­ter­nal sys­tems in terms of in­ter­ac­tion with counter-par­ties, cus­tomers and reg­u­la­tors. Ra­jiv Ku­mar says from a busi­ness per­spec­tive, con­sid­er­ing the grow­ing de­mand, the com­pany will keep its fo­cus on lu­cra­tive seg­ments like in­di­vid­ual health as well as mo­tor as it is quite keen to in­crease its pres­ence pan In­dia via all the chan­nels/mode of busi­ness ac­qui­si­tion.

The com­pany pro­poses to un­der­take var­i­ous tech­no­log­i­cal up­grades and in­tro­duce new sys­tems to sup­port ex­ist­ing dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels. It is keen on rec­og­niz­ing tech­nol­ogy trends, eval­u­at­ing the busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and ac­tively in­cor­po­rat­ing rel­e­vant pro­cesses and pro­grams into its busi­ness model, for out­pac­ing and out­per­form­ing com­pe­ti­tion. “For im­prov­ing ef­fi­ciency and mon­i­tor­ing our ex­ist­ing tra­di­tional dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels, we are in the process of de­vel­op­ing a por­tal for agency and ban­cas­sur­ance chan­nel so that we can mon­i­tor agents and bank as­so­ci­ates for their life­cy­cle across re­cruit­ment, train­ing and per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing.”

Ra­jiv Ku­mar talks about the plan to en­roll 2500+ PoS agents which will help the com­pany to in­crease in­sur­ance pen­e­tra­tion in ru­ral ar­eas

Cus­tomer out­reach ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude health camps, con­sumer aware­ness road­shows

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