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Leading the Insurtech Revolution with Conversational Commerce

​The internet user base in India today stands at 500 million plus and is expected to reach 697 million by end of 2019. However, at 3.69%, India ranks at a low 41st in terms of overall insurance penetration. This provides a massive opportunity for the insurance companies to tap internet-enabled platforms such as WhatsApp, chatbots, streaming, etc. that are most commonly used and appreciated by potential consumers.

As India keeps moving towards a cashless economy, the insurance industry finds itself at a cusp of a digital revolution. Innovation is now at the core of the underwriting industry. Already having shifted from a product-based approach to a dynamic consumer-based approach, the industry has also started thinking and delivering beyond long-term annual policies to arrive at tailored and bite-sized short-term plans or ‘sachet’ products. These ‘bite - sized’ policies offer small ticket insurance covers for specific needs of the customer, such as single covers for specific diseases, personal accidents, burglaries, travel insurance etc. The need for such products are also growing exponentially, as the millennial risk perception and appetite keeps evolving.

The need to rethink end-to-end customer journeys

Today’s digital-savvy consumers are making use of digital channels like social media and WhatsApp for almost everything they do. In order to address the needs of a fast evolving consumer space, insurers now feel the need to implement strategies that create chances for more value-driven and positive experience to help build deeper and richer relationships moving forward.

Already, with more than 24 life insurance and 33 non-life insurance companies in India, we have recently witnessed the industry spurred by vibrant distribution channels, product innovations, combined with a slew of targeted publicity and promotional campaigns by the insurers.

In fact, conversational commerce solutions are offering people with entirely new channels that prioritize convenience and personalization because consumers demand tailored recommendations and real-time responses. Indians, even in remote and far-off places are already equipped with LTE subscriptions, affordable smartphones and attractive data plans to ease the on boarding process from anywhere.

With data-assets like e-KYC, Aadhar and online claims processing, early adopters of conversational solutions are observing this customer behaviour shifts, and are offering varied experiences and services through just chats/conversations. These solutions have the potential to be further personalized as per the customers’ needs, and even incentivised with premium discounts/offers in the near future.

The time is thus nigh for insurers to take a hard look at the future and strategize accordingly. To stay competitive over a long time, insurers will need to constantly evolve and redesign entire customer journeys - right from the moment of discovery, through the purchase process and right up till the claims are processed.

Evolution of conversational commerce in insurance

The future is moving to a world where we can do everything with a brand with a simple conversation through conversational commerce platforms. The customer first approach today directs all channels of communication accessible via digital means and smartphones. By 2020, every three in four policy purchases is estimated to be influenced by digital channels

For example: RIVA, an AI and NLP powered chat bot was launched by Reliance General Insurance in 2018 and successfully handled more than 20 independent flows with a volume of more than 25K transactions per month for both Sales and Servicing.

This initiative proved to be a game changer in serving customers digitally and increased digital penetration in handling customer transactions to 78% of total transactions. It has also enhanced customer experience, while reducing overhead manual servicing costs by 60% and average handling time of less than 2 minutes.

Keep it simple, Sally!

The idea is to make things as easy for the consumer as possible. If they are on WhatsApp, enable getting quotes, buying policies or having queries resolved through WhatsApp. If they come to the website, a chatbot are ready to help with at least basic, less complex queries.

The point is simple, if insurers do not put the customer at the center and use his/her language, they risk delivering incomplete and inconsistent experiences to their customers. The right perspective and clearly defined outlines of the customer journey has forced general insurers to think holistically about the customer experience, instead of arriving at point-by-point solutions.