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4 Key Takeaways from India Insurance Summit & Awards 2020

The India Insurance Summit & Awards 2020, themed around technology and innovations in Insurance concluded on March 13th in Mumbai. The event witnessed enthusiastic participation from corporates like Future Generali India Life Insurance, ICICI Lombard, Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance, Pramerica Life and many more. The stalwarts from the Insurance industry addressed the tech-powered revolution that is soon to happen with Digital 2.0. Here are 4 key takeaways from IISA that highlight the future of Insurance and InsurTech.

1. Digital 2.0 is on rise

Accenture’s research report on the post-digital era reveals that 94% of businesses have accelerated their digital transformation over the past three years. While the era of Digital 1.0 was focused on the mobile, simplified design and a wider range of applications, Digital 2.0 extends the ecosystem into the next-gen interface which relies on anywhere, anytime and any platform mindset.

The traditional insurance distribution channels have already received a digital facelift; with Digital 2.0, they tend to become more consumer-focused and experience-driven. Insurers are empowering distributors to deliver next-gen experiences to customers and deliver products & services for Micro-Moments

[Related: How technology is transforming Insurance distribution channels]

2. Millennials are characterized by Micro-Moments

Micro-Moment is an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need — to know, go, do, or buy” (Google).

An average consumer experiences hundreds of micro-moments throughout the day. More than 91% of smartphone users use mobile phones for inspiration in the middle of a task. People are becoming more research-obsessed and almost every decision made online is informed. For instance, 51% of digital consumers have purchased from a company other than their intended brand, solely based on the information they find online. Moreover, 62% of people are more likely to take an action (like purchase decision) right away even in the middle of some other task.

Earlier, customers used to view the lowest priced product as their best value for money option. Now, the customer’s ability to research is leading to higher-priced products being bought because of the greater perceived value of the product.

As a notion, Insurance is not bought; it’s sold. Thus, micro-moments present immense opportunities to engage with the customer during their buying journey. By leveraging the right points of interaction, Insurers can propose relevant and personalized insights to win customers.

[Related: Millennials and Insurance beyond convenience]

3. Online is best for small-ticket insurance 

Small-ticket insurance (or bite-size cover) focuses on the specific needs of consumers. These are characterized by low premium, low cover and hence lower profit margins. Thus, offline distribution, which involves agents and brokers isn’t feasible. Online channels with emerging API-based distribution and marketplaces are best for distributing small-ticket insurance products. In India, companies like Toffee Insurance, MobiKwik and Digit Insurance provide bite-size insurance. 

Within life insurance, term plans are sold the most online. Insurers have observed that online customers buy more and stay longer with the brand as compared to offline customers. In general, online products are more compelling. The key is — small market, great margins and greater profitability.

Moreover, small-ticket insurance delivers two-fold benefits. Consumers, who haven’t bought an insurance product before, need not pay lengthy premiums (also beneficial to Insurers for customer acquisition); while Insurers find it easier to predict customer behaviour online, allowing them to underwrite risks more accurately.

4. Technology will enhance post-sale moments of truth

Insurers have already started to utilize technologies like NLP to build self-service policy renewal/inquiry portals, AI for zero-touch integrated claims, to name some. The behaviour of the same customer on different channels (like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.) is unique. Carriers have to map and understand these behaviours to create better-individualized journeys. Distributor journeys also play a crucial role in analysing post-sale moments of truth. Insights from distributor journey can help Insurers modify/add products into the chain based on buyers’ experiences.

Technology is also helping Insurers participate in a connected information ecosystem. Data from geo-tagging of accidents can be shared with law enforcement to understand areas prone to accidents, underlying causes and even catching criminals through facial recognition technology. For instance, Staqu Technologies, a Gurugram-based AI startup, is providing facial recognition systems to many state government police departments.

Wrapping up

Although 94% of urban and 24% of the Indian rural populace use the internet, Insurers still rely heavily on offline third-party insurance sold by agents (e.g. third party motor insurance for the rural market).

Even though online is cheaper than offline, customers prefer offline as it has more accountability. What drives offline to online is understanding that every customer is unique with unique needs and unique propositions. The truth of the matter is — when things fail, online becomes harder for customer acquisition. AI and Automation has allowed for significant cost reduction and process efficiency gains across the value chain for carriers. However, AI should be used strategically to augment processes that cannot be entirely automated so as to not fully eliminate the human in the loop, in order to better assist customers (eg: speaking to an actual person for resolving complex issues.)

Mantra Labs was a proud customer experience partner at India Insurance Summit & Awards 2020. During the event, Mantra unveiled the Internet of Intelligent Experiences (IOIX) illustrating the extremes to which technology can create sensory disruption in customer experiences!

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MantraTalks Podcast with Parag Sharma: Delivering Digital-first Health Experiences for Patient Care in the New Normal

6 minutes read

The healthcare industry took the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic from the very beginning. It was, and still is, a humongous task for hospitals to deal with the rising number of COVID patients as well as handling the regular consults. 

To delve deeper into the state of healthcare in the COVID times, we interviewed Parag Sharma, CEO, Mantra Labs Pvt Ltd. Parag shares his insights on how technology can help in delivering digital-first health experiences for patient care in the New Normal.

Parag is a product enthusiast and tinkerer at heart and has been at the forefront of developing innovative products especially in the field of AI. He also holds over ten years of experience working in the services line and has been instrumental in launching several startups in the Internet & Mobile space. His rich domain expertise and innovative leadership have helped Mantra climb to the top 100 innovative InsurTechs in the World – selected by FinTech Global. 

Catch the interview:  

Connect with Parag- LinkedIn

COVID-19 and Its impact on Healthcare Organizations

Considering the COVID situation, according to you how has COVID-19 impacted the IT & service operations among healthcare organizations?

Parag:  Since the onset of COVID-19, the healthcare sector has been deeply impacted. Institutions are facing a serious crunch in manpower. IT support systems which were usually manned and managed by a large team of IT professionals are not available in the same strength. Resource allocation’ is one of the biggest concerns due to physical and mental exhaustion of the healthcare workforce. 

Hospitals are facing issues such as operational disruption due to staff quarantine, supply-chain delays and sudden decline in patient footfalls, difficulty in sustaining fixed costs, etc. People are not comfortable getting out of the safety confinements of their homes due to the rising risk of getting infected with the virus. Hospitals will have to reassess their future strategy and budgets in light of the uncertain economic situation.

Preparing for the Future

What can hospitals do to ensure the continuity of their customer-facing operations in the wake of a second Pandemic wave?

Parag: There are many things that hospitals can do to manage themselves in this hour of crisis. Being more digital than what they are would be one step forward for all of them. They can bring their IT systems to the cloud so that the person can access data and manage their work remotely. They can enable their patients to book appointments and enquire about services through apps and chatbots which won’t require them to call the reception or come to the hospital. These are some of the services which hospitals can provide to their customers with minimum physical contact. 

Related: Manipal Hospital’s move to a self-service healthcare mobile application

Hospitals can extend Telehealth services to their patients. Recently, telehealth has proved to be useful especially when there is asymmetry between the number of patients and healthcare providers. I think it will be very useful for healthcare institutions to deploy telehealth solutions to provide medical facilities to people who have so far been outside the benefits of healthcare.

New Expectations in Health Experiences

Is consumer behavior defined by the ‘new normal’ going to change the way we access healthcare from this point on?

Parag: Yes, people will expect a completely different way to access healthcare services from now on. Hospitals should gear-up and rise to this occasion. The pandemic has also provided a new opportunity to adopt a completely different approach in the way healthcare is delivered. They always felt that medical care cannot be provided remotely but now this is happening and people are appreciating remote healthcare services. Hospitals and healthcare institutions are convinced that telehealth and remote care will be more successful soon.

Technology in Healthcare can Bridge Operational Gaps

What are the operational challenges, as far as digital capabilities go, that hospitals are facing currently? And, what steps must they take to bridge these gaps?

Parag: Operational challenges are not just digital challenges. But a lot of these challenges can be addressed with technology. For example, Electronic Health Records which hospitals manage within the premises can be moved to the cloud so that the person can access these records on the cloud itself and need not come to the hospital. 

Related: Medical Image Management: DICOM Images Sharing Process

Secondly, if you deploy telehealth and telemedicine solutions, irrespective of where your patients are or doctors are, hospitals can deliver the required care to its patients. You can even extend your diagnostics services to your patients by giving them an application through which they can seamlessly book appointments for consults, diagnostics, or pathological services and resolve their queries, etc. Simply by giving a seamless interface either through bots or applications can go a long way in providing better health experiences to the customers.

Role of Chatbots in Superior Customer Experiences

According to you, what role does chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence have in the Healthcare CX landscape?

Parag: Chatbots are the simplest example of the implementation of AI-based technology in healthcare. There are a lot of things which bots can do simplistically. For example, if a patient wants to book an appointment with the doctors, instead of going through a complex web applications and interfaces, what if I can simply write “I want to book an appointment with the doctor Dr. XYZ at 4 pm” and the bot can figure out in case the time slot is available with that particular doctor, it will confirm the appointment followed by a payment process if the payment has to be made upfront. 

Apart from this, you can extend your bots to provide e-consultations where doctors can do remote consultations via audio and video features of a chatbot. So there is a huge scope for bots beyond answering routine queries by customers or booking appointments. It does not stop just there. You can extend chatbot functionalities to support functions such as admin, HR, finance, and business process efficiency so that they can provide better services to their customers.

Related: Healthcare Chatbots: Innovative, Efficient, and Low-cost Care

Chatbot Use Cases in Healthcare

Could you tell us some possible bot use cases for delivering better customer experiences to digital health users?

Parag: Apart from booking appointments and resolving customer queries, these bots can conduct remote consultations, internal processes, health symptom checker, out-patient video consultation, second opinion consultation, ordering medicines, psychological counseling & mental wellness, scenario-based risk advice, Heroism Recognition for employees, etc. Also, it can be further extended to help patients enquire about health insurance related queries, and all the interactions between insurance companies and hospitals can be provided to the patient. 

Related: Healthcare & Hospitals Use Cases | Digital Health

The Road Ahead

COVID-19 has forced hospitals to revise patient support strategy with limited operational staff that is bringing every day a new challenge. A way out is to heavily rely on digital innovation.

In India we have a disparity between the no. of healthcare providers and care seekers. Without technology, I don’t think there is any way healthcare institutions will be able to scale to a level where they can provide meaningful services to such a large number of people. Hospitals can invest in setting up an information exchange; making the process as seamless as possible; and removing all possible inefficiencies from the supply chain through technology.

Future growth for hospitals will come from digital technology because patients will opt more for digital platforms. And it is up to hospitals to catch up with the pace at which modern technology is developing. We, at Mantra Labs, have achieved several use cases including hospitals/diagnostic centers that are able to deliver superior health experiences.

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