Ashish Rao, Senior Executive Vice President and Head, HR & Customer Service, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance talks about the challenges and opportunities before the companies providing life insurance and the new age technologies helping them in onboarding customers. Rao shares his perspective with Ashish Sinha of BW Businessworld. Excerpts:
As insurance is a non-tangible product, building customer experience can be difficult. What key elements should one consider while designing new customer experiences?
Simplicity is the biggest innovation in the life insurance industry. It is of paramount importance to provide customers with a hassle-free and immersive experience. With the use of technology, we at ICICI Prudential Life Insurance have provided our customers with an anytime, anywhere service platform. The genesis of this is in our service architecture of being Fair, Transparent, Responsive and Empathetic.
Our device-agnostic digital platform has been designed to cater to the instant gratification needs of our customers, be it for making a purchase or initiating a service request. Our digital enablers, such as WhatsApp, Mobile app, Chatbot LiGo and the Company website ensure an on-demand availability of service to our customers. Customers or claimants can leverage any of the digital enablers to lodge and track their claims, besides conducting self-service transactions. For instance, in H1-FY2023, self-help transactions accounted for 92.6 per cent13th-month of all service requests. Our innovative mobile app is like a virtual branch in the palms of our customers.
Our Customer First approach has enabled us to be the preferred life insurance partner for millions of Indian families, as reflected in our industry-leading 13th month persistency ratio, which stood at 85.7 per cent for H1-FY2023.
As people buy life insurance through various routes like online, aggregators or agents, what all factors should be considered to build a multi-channel customer experience?
Insurers must evolve their digital capabilities and focus on creating a seamless journey between physical and digital touch points. There should be multiple touch points for purchasing an insurance policy or placing a service request via the company website, a mobile app, the physical branch or a combination of these.
Our approach has been to provide customers with an omni-channel experience. For instance, customers can start their purchase journey on our website and conclude it by requesting a call back from an expert. Customers requesting a call-back receive a call from an insurance expert within a matter of minutes. We are also working towards developing a 360-degree customer view, which will enable us to identify and merge various interactions the same customer has attempted with us on different platforms and at different intervals. This will help us to continue the conversation from where the customer had last left, and provide them with appropriate solutions, making the process more efficient.
Why should customers consider the claim settlement ratio before buying a policy from any insurer? How does the claim settlement ratio matter?
Life insurance is a promise made by the life insurer on behalf of policyholders to provide financial security to the family in their absence. It is a tool to mitigate the risk in life. The claim settlement ratio showcases the commitment of the life insurer to deliver on its promise.
The higher and more consistent the ratio, the more dependable the life insurance company is. Customers should also evaluate the turnaround time for settling claims. This indicates the eagerness with which the claim is settled. For the last five years, ICICI Prudential Life’s claim settlement ratio for individual death claims has consistently been over 97%, which we believe is one of the best in the industry. Also, for FY2022, the average time taken to settle a genuine death claim was just 1.5 days. Recently, the Company has launched the ‘Claim for Sure’ initiative promising to settle death claims in 1 (one) day for all the eligible policyholders.
While we are eager to receive a cheque towards premium payment from a customer, we are equally enthusiastic to hand–over the claim proceeds to the beneficiaries quickly. Also, approximately 99 per cent of claims are settled electronically, ensuring the beneficiaries have immediate access to the claim proceeds.
In today’s age, creating a website and mobile app is considered a benchmark when it comes to efficient customer service. What evolution do you expect in future?
Over the years, our focus has been to empower our customers by providing them with simple and easy-to-use self-service platforms. Our website offers a simplified purchase and service experience blended with conversational interfaces such as chat, voice, video, and co-browsing for a seamless experience. Our innovative mobile app, with over 1.2 million downloads, enables customers to access their policy information even in the absence of a mobile network. The convenience offered by the mobile app has resulted in one out of four service transactions being executed through it.
What initiatives has ICICI Prudential Life Insurance taken to make purchasing process of life insurance smoother & faster?
We continuously strive to provide our customers with a convenient, fast, seamless onboarding experience. We offer a paperless onboarding experience wherein the Know Your Customer (KYC) verification is done in real-time with automated form filling using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.
Our data-analytics-based Pre-Approved Sum Assured (PASA) offers ensure that customers are onboarded without any medical tests and in a virtually paperless manner. The journey is also faster with customer data pre-population. Besides, policy documents are made available to customers digitally in their Electronic Insurance Accounts (EIA) and in the DigiLocker App.