Subir Mukherjee: How Internet is changing the Insurance scenario in India

According to market research firm IMRB and International and Internet and Mobile Association of India, total Internet users in India has reached 402 million as of January 2016 putting India in the 2nd position after China as country with maximum number of Internet users. This phenomenal rate of internet penetration took the growth of most industries in India by storm including the insurance sector.

The concept of buying and selling of insurance plans saw revolutionary changes as the internet has come to the forefront of India's Insurance industry.

Instant Comparison Of Multiple Policy Quotes

Another blessing of Internet is consumers can compare quotes from several different companies' websites. More conveniently, top online insurance marketplace like GIBL.IN facilitate comparison of multiple insurance covers offered by various providers for free within a few minutes. 

Ease & Quickness In Issuance Of Insurance Plans

Unlike yesteryears when insurance companies used to take days to complete the lengthy paper-works and issue the policy, consumers nowadays don't have to spend hours in visiting insurance firms in person and sign the form to avail insurance covers. Once they agree with the terms and conditions and make the payment they can get the soft copy of their policy delivered via email instantly.

Absence Of Overhead Cost Make Way For Lower-Priced Insurance Plans

Online insurance companies don't have overhead costs like sales personnel, rent, showrooms. Online advertising costs are also less compared to the traditional ways of advertising. These savings are rendered into low-priced insurance plans. Furthermore, the recent flourish in the niche of online insurance resulted in the profusion of an array of insurance providers online. The rivalry among these online insurance companies also have resulted in inexpensive insurance plans.

Availability Of  Reviews & Comments

Genuine and first-hand information from existing customers about services provided by the insurance firms is a crucial feedback and this feedback is only available on online insurance forums. Online reviews of insurance products by consumers, on the other hand, help insurers understand the ever-changing needs of consumers. In essence, Insurance companies are leveraging on the power of internet to come up with new products with better acceptability.

New Distribution Channel

The Internet has made room for new distribution channels to the Insurance providers. Aside from the conventional channel of agents, insurers nowadays deliver their products through the portals online brokerage firms and  their own websites. Apart from the provision of instant purchase and issuance of insurance plans, websites further endow policyholders with facilities like eligibility review and online enrollment, billing and transferring of electronic funds and a claim id to keep a tab on their insurance claims online.

Opportunity For Last Minute Policy Purchase

Indian travelers that are looking for overseas trips now can buy travel insurance plans at the last moment, even right from the airport; owing to the provision of online travel plans. In early days it was not possible as insurers used to take days to issue a travel policy.

Additional Value-Added Service

Even though cost-effectiveness is the biggest reason to go online while buying insurance, there are many other advantages not limited to sale. Consumers can download product literature like brochures and policy wordings, timely reminder of policy renewal, pay premiums online, track their claim status  online  In essence, consumers can manage their online insurance plan efficiently without having to depend on others.

Availability Of Assistance 24 X 7

In India, everyone is not equally adept at accessing internet and many prospective policy buyers are wary of  making financial transactions online. To resolve this issue, portals of insurance company have come up with live chat facility so that customers can clarify their doubt. Also, most online insurance portals have toll-free numbers where consumers can make queries.

Internet Is All Set To Bring Ground-Breaking Changes

With the advent of car GPS, the driving style of car-owners will be tracked by insurance firms in near future and car insurance premium will be determined accordingly. GPS tracking will also be used to trace out stolen luggage as well. This will help travel insurers assess the genuineness of policyholders' claims and cover the losses in case of a valid claim. India's health Insurance domain will also be benefited by the incorporation of wearable gadgets. Individual policyholders will enjoy personalized premium for their health insurance plans as these gadgets will measure their physiological traits such as heart rate, breathing, calorie intake and measure premium accordingly.

According to the survey, India's online insurance market has been witnessing a stupendous growth for past 5 years. The industry increased by 88% every year for the the last 5 years. According to a survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group, three out of four insurance plans will be influenced by digital channels by the year 2020. Furthermore, Google's Consumer Barometer 2013 showed search queries for car insurance has increased six times from 2008 and queries for life insurance and health insurance have grown by 4.5 times. Most importantly, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India very recently made a draft proposal to mandate online insurance if the sum insured for general insurance and term life insurance policy is over Rs 10 lakh and for health Rs 5 lakh or above.

These numbers reflect the thriving growth of online insurance in India and confirms the fact that the online insurance industry is poised for even stronger growth in coming years.

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