The insurance sector, that relied heavily on outdated software and clunky paperwork until recently, is realizing that ‘digital’ is the way to survive and sustain in the market. Thanks to the emergence of new age startups seeking opportunities to make insurance smarter and faster and in the process offer simple and transparent insurance solutions that matter to consumers. The recent example is Bengaluru-based insurance firm Digit Insurance that is offering a new insurance cover for used and new mobile phones.
With smartphones becoming an essential tool to communicate today, the effort is aimed at making insurance solutions affordable and relevant in India, one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world. There are other companies too offering mobile phone insurance in India, but Digit says, it is offering coverage that is linked to the IMEI number and the device is covered no matter where you are or who uses it. The plan is primarily for those who want to insure their phones against accidental damage. Customers can choose a mobile insurance cover from close to 200 mobile phone models.
Making insurance smarter
Gangadhar S J, Head Technology at Digit Insurance, spoke with CXOToday recently. He says the company has a slew of technology initiatives in the pipeline for 2020. “We are using image analytics to decipher the damages to say, a car, which quickens the claims process. In the coming quarters, we are continuing to work on simplifying insurance and the claim process. And soon, we will be launching ‘Video Call for better customer experience’,” he says.
“Integrating video live interaction technology into your business can ease up your internal workflow, claiming process and create happier customers. Video interactions can happen anywhere your customers are, regardless of what devices they are using,” he says.
Tryst with technology
Started in 2016 and backed by Fairfax Group, technology has always played an integral role in Digit Insurance, enabling its entire ecosystem, across distribution, buying and claims process. “We are a digital-first company, based 100% on cloud. This enables us to scale extremely fast in case of a disaster recovery,” he says.
“At Digit, we work on latest technologies like microservice based architecture, advanced core system, machine learning, infrastructure fully being on cloud. One of the unique differentiators of the company is the overall focus on creating a lean organization, bringing in efficiencies through technology.”
“We have an application programming interface (API) integrations for all our partners, including Policy bazaar, Amazon India, and so on. We also extensively focus on data science to develop customized products for our customers. Machine learning helps us do faster reconciliation, float management, fraud management, and claims settlement,” says Gangadhar, whose last stint was at Bajaj Allianz for a good 13 years where he worked on both general insurance and life insurance and exited as the head of technology.
At Digit, the business model is centered on simplifying insurance for people. This percolates down to its processes, products and distribution. The company has a completely paperless claims process, audio claims, smartphone enabled self-inspection and pre-inspection apps, all which a genuine customer would relish. For distribution, the company has over 1500 strategic partners (agents, brokers and dealers), 12 institutional partners including e-commerce companies like Paytm, Flipkart, Cleartrip and offline partners like Tata Tanishq, besides its direct selling platform.
Customer centricity is the mantra
On the company’s latest achievement, Gangadhar highlights how the company had enabled faster claim settlement across categories. “We have settled 10,000 claims in less than a year. Moreover, 100% of our flight delay claims are automated. The way it works is if a customer’s flight is delayed beyond the given time, starting from 75 minutes, they get an SMS automatically on their phones with a link to upload their boarding pass and bank details,” he says, adding that for the new mobile insurance cover, once the claim is approved online, one can get their phone repaired at any service center within seven days of approval.
Gangadhar informs that 85% of its mobile claims today are done through self-inspection. This shows customers are appreciating our process offering and enjoying its benefits. It takes just 11 minutes to self-inspect one’s car’s damages through the self-inspection app, as against the traditional time taken for inspection of the car that took 5-7 days to happen manually by a third-party inspection person.
“I wanted to work in a space which had tech at its core and also was leading the trends in technology, not just following it and hence the Idea of Digit followed,” says Gangadhar, who completes a year and a half in Digit.
While he knew Kamesh Goyal (the founder of Digit Insurance) from Bajaj Allianz days, when Goyal explained to him how Digit was focused on making insurance simple with technology, Gangadhar was convinced and keen to bring his expertise from the insurance industry to an Insure-Tech.
For CIOs planning to enter this sector, Gangadhar suggests that focus on innovation and customer centricity should form the crux. “While keeping light on is by default, the focus should be on innovation. Customer centricity is one of the most important principles to create a great customer experience, and should be ingrained in the company’s culture. At the same time, tech leaders in this space should ensure that they are interacting with the end consumer while working on any innovation,” he signs off.