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InsurTalks Podcast with KV Dipu: Protecting the Demand-side in the New Normal

7 minutes, 26 seconds read

The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic has deeply impacted the global economy. Industries such as healthcare, travel and hospitality among others are still reeling from the immediate fallout of the crisis. The Pandemic has exposed the cracks in the Indian healthcare system, and the exposure of India’s masses to a multitude of personal risks who are largely uninsured to stave off financial ruin. At the same time, Insurance has had to adapt their processes to the fast changing climate. Core insurance functions like claims processing and customer support operations have had to accelerate transition to the cloud in order to ensure operational continuity during the crisis and adapt to the new normal. 

In this special podcast, we talk to Mr. KV Dipu about how Insurance is coping with this crisis. Before joining Insurance, he worked at GE Capital for 19 years, where he has built a career in retail finance operations. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a member of the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council. Today he drives digital transformation as the President of Operations, Communities, and Customer Experience at Bajaj Allianz.

During our conversation Mr. Dipu shared valuable insights on the state of insurance, how insurers need to gear up for the challenges in the New Normal and the initiatives undertaken by Bajaj Allianz to meet their customer’s expectations.

You can watch the full podcast here: 

Interview Excerpts from Insurance in the New Normal

Potential Insurance Frauds amidst COVID-19

Insurance, at least in India, is not strange to the experience of dealing with outbreaks even though at a smaller scale – with virus outbreaks like Ebola & Zika in the past. However there aren’t too many reliable historical models to learn from and you’ve stated in the past that fraud triggers can only work if there are strong flags sitting on top of really good data. In the absence of really good data and unreliable historical models, how does this affect dealing with fraud?

KV Dipu: That’s a good question and I think this is exactly what a lot of players today across industries are grappling with because no PCP or model ever envisaged this. And if you do not have passed precedents then you have to learn as you go. So I think that is clearly what we have seen. In terms of COVID-19, you can see a series of potential fraud possibilities. 

I’m using the word ‘potential fraud possibilities’ because we have to see how they play themselves out. One is you could find a lot of people who possibly could get into scams, that they can maybe influence the entire ecosystem, especially in terms of helping customers who are seeking benefits from the insurance company or various entities. And whenever there are losses you typically will find that there are people out there who are going to try to to make a fast buck. So I think that’s one area we need to watch out for. 

The other is you will actually find that as business models emerge there are some people who’ll be quick to jump into the game. For example, today everybody feels that health insurance is one thing we should focus on and that’s typically when you could have both type A and type B errors. You have middlemen who basically promise health insurance saying ‘I can get you this.. I can have my way through various insurance companies’. You may have people trying to forge various checkups through the entire process. 

So these are some areas which we are very off, right, and the good thing is even if a model from the past is not going to help us with the specific input I think our own experience of various scenarios will come into play.I think as long as we are smart on that front it will help us. Now this is where it’s a classic combination of technology and expertise technology can enable the process but you need years of experience to figure out the fraudulent ones from the good ones. Which is where I think established companies like ours which are technically and technologically savvy, as well as years of deep expertise will be really able to figure out who the fraudsters are.

Change in the Nature of Risks & Its Impact on Underwriting

From an underwriting perspective it’s usually said that poor underwriting leads to poor financial performance, so the ‘not knowing what to expect’ will definitely have an impact on underwriting losses. Going forward, how does this change the nature of risk from perhaps the actuaries point of view? 

KV Dipu: If you look at actuarial science, what they do with every event is they learn, right. The learning adds to their kitty, so to speak. So, today you have various players globally trying to figure out what the models are, what are the potential scenarios and we can also learn from the experiences of different countries. You see while it’s still a global pandemic, the scenarios across various countries are different. Some countries for example have had a very sharp recovery, where they’ve shown a v-shaped recovery. Now there are some countries which are in a u-shape recovery pattern, and  there are some where there is a recovery-outbreak-and then a recovery which would be a W pattern. 

So I think as we see the scenarios play themselves out in various countries, we draw learnings very quickly and then basically recalibrate our models accordingly, that’s point number one. Point number two – I think once the lockdown is lifted and then when you start to see people back on the roads, when you start to see cars back on the roads, and when you start to see hospitals functioning again – that is when I think the rubber will start hitting the road and that is when our extreme vigilance will help. I think as long as we’re prepared with data it will really help us get through this.

[Related: New Product Development in Insurance: The Actuary]

Product Innovations in the New Normal

Today a lot of companies are ‘investing in digital’. They’re making sure they have digital assets, capabilities and tools not just for employees internally in the business but for outward facing agents as well. And that has been  the trend even before the Pandemic had broken out. Most sales teams and channel partners are equipped digitally with mobile apps to generate quotes, issues policies even remotely. 

Given that the physical act of selling itself has been severely affected due to lockdown restrictions and social distancing norms, How can insurance build and protect the demand side?

KV Dipu: Okay, so there is one famous whatsapp forward doing the rounds nowadays. it basically says “Guess who’s responsible for digital transformation in a company? Answer number one: CEO. Answer number two: the relevant CXO. Answer number three: COVID-19.” No prizes for guessing, right? Now what COVID-19 has done is to the point that you made everybody believe that in a push product like insurance in-person meetings, relationship building  is all important and rightly so. And that is the reason this business is intermediated and it’s been that way for a while now. New normal is where people will have to learn how to do contactless selling. That is where COVID-19 helps because if let’s say COVID-19 had been restricted to let’s say one particular city or one particular sector you would not have had a change in universal behavior. 

But the fact of the matter right now is globally right I think there are more people under lockdown than at any previous point of time in history. We have so many people on lockdown and everybody realizes the need for social distancing and the need to go digital. That is when people are also more amenable to being sold to digitally. Which is why now the smarter companies who figure out that in the new normal we have to build relationships while being physically away, and manage to sell from remote or contactless sales as i call it – are the ones who will be able to make a difference going forward. 

The good thing is from a process perspective we have enabled them like you rightly said they have the tools to generate quotes, they have the tools to issue policies, they have the tools to even raise claims. It’s about willingness and that willingness has been accelerated and fast tracked by COVID-19. So what could have potentially taken a long time has now been fast-tracked now in the last 60 days – which is why once the lockdown is lifted and we go back into the world you’ll realize that some parts of this contactless selling or even large parts of it are here to stay.

Click on the below link to watch the full episode of InsurTalks with KV Dipu –

Mantra Labs is an InsurTech100 firm building products and solutions for fast evolving enterprises. To connect with us for interviews, drop us a line at hello@mantralabsglobal.com 


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8 Best Ways to Reduce Android App Size

5 minutes, 29 seconds read

With the increase in mobile storage spaces that have gone up to 256 GB, app size is also growing. App size is sure to grow as developers are adding new features, trying to meet customer needs, and also trying to support their apps on various screen sizes. Around 74% of the world uses Android, and 70% of users consider app size before installing them. Moreover, as humans are getting accustomed to instant gratification, they ponder on ways to download apps as they take up storage spaces. Despite the cloud support for photos, videos, and files, android users face issues, such as mobile hanging due to app size. As customer expectations are increasing, android app developers are considering other ways to reduce app size while still incorporating significant additional features and keeping in mind the customer experience.

Below are the 8 best ways to reduce android app size:

1. Use Android App Bundle to Reduce App Size

When generating the release version of your app, you can choose between APK and Android App Bundle.  The second option will make Google play to generate the APK with only those features a specific user need. 

Use Android App Bundle

App Bundle Vs APK

Android App Bundle

  • It is a publishing format that includes compiled code and resources of your app, and delays APK generation and signing to Google Play.
  • With Android App Bundles, the compressed download size restriction is 150 MB. The app bundle cannot be used with APK expansion files.
Android App Bundle
Important: In the second half of 2021, new apps will be required to publish with the Android App Bundle on Google Play. New apps larger than 150 MB must use either Play Feature Delivery or Play Asset Delivery.

How to build android app bundles?

To build app bundles, follow these steps:

  1. Download Android Studio 3.2 or higher—it’s the easiest way to add feature modules and build app bundles.
  2. Add support for Play Feature Delivery by including a base module, organizing code and resources for configuration APKs, and, optionally, adding feature modules.
  3. Build an Android App Bundle using Android Studio. You can also deploy your app to a connected device from an app bundle by modifying your run/debug configuration and selecting the option to deploy APK from app bundle. Keep in mind, using this option results in longer build times when compared to building and deploying only an APK.
  4. If you’re not using the IDE, you can instead build an app bundle from the command line.
  5. Test your Android App Bundle by using it to generate APKs that you deploy to a device.
  6. Enroll into app Play App Signing. Otherwise, you can’t upload your app bundle to the Play Console.
  7. Publish your app bundle to Google Play.

Please note: Android Package Kit – As per developer console, by the mid of 2021, developers won’t be able to upload apk on play store)

  • Android operating system uses APK which is the package file format for distribution and installation of mobile apps, games and middleware. APK is similar to other software packages such as APPX in Microsoft Windows or a Debian package in Debian -based operating systems.
  • Google Play requires that the compressed APK downloaded by the users should not exceed 100 MB.
  • The expansion files for your app are hosted by Google Play which serves them to the device at no cost to you. The expansion files are saved to the device’s shared storage location (the SD card or USB-mountable partition).

2. Use Proguard

Proguard is probably one of the most useful tools to reduce your APK size. It reduces the source code files to a minimum and can reduce the APK file size upto 90%.

  • Use it in all variants whenever using “Proguard”
  • Helps to avoid conflict at the of generate apk or bundle if will use in all the variants.
  • We cannot let ProGuard rename or remove any fields on these data classes, as they have to match the serialized format. It’s a safe bet to add a @Keep annotation on the whole class or a wildcard rule on all your models.

3. Use Android Size Analyzer Plugin

This Android Studio plugin will provide you recommendations to reduce the size of your application.

With the APK Analyzer, you can accomplish the following:

  • View the absolute and relative size of files in the APK, such as the DEX and Android resource files.
  • Understand the composition of DEX files.
  • Quickly view the final versions of files in the APK, such as the AndroidManifest.xml file.
  • Perform a side-by-side comparison of two APKs.

There are three ways to access the APK Analyzer when a project is open:

  • Drag an APK into the Editor window of Android Studio.
  • Switch to the Project perspective in the Project window and then double-click the APK in the default build/output/apks/ directory.
  • Select Build > Analyze APK in the menu bar and then select your APK.

More details at: Jetbrains

4. Optimize Your App’s Resources

Whether used or not, every resource takes up memory. It is therefore necessary to have only those resources that you need, and to use those in a memory efficient way. In other words, you should consider the resolution of the image before finalizing on it.

5. Optimize Libraries

As large libraries consume huge amounts of space, it is advisable to remove parts of it in case you do not need them and if it is permitted by the license of the library. Proguard can aid you in this process but it is not always able to remove large internal dependencies.

6. Use Vector Graphics Wherever Possible

They are sharp and do not consume much space as they rely on mathematical calculations and not on pixels that need to be saved. However, they cannot be used for photography.

7. Compress Your Images

By using tools such as pngcrush, you can reduce the file size of PNG images. It is advisable to do this images as they still look the same. 

8. Only Support Specific Densities

If only a small portion of users use a specific density, it might be better to let Android scale your other densities for them as it would reduce your APK size.


As mobile storage space is growing, people are installing a large number of apps to meet a wide range of needs. But as app size is increasing, people are continuing to struggle with storage issues. With provisions such as Proguard, one can compress the APK file size and optimize libraries easily. Compressing images and using vector graphs are also useful in reducing app size.

About the author: Anand Singh is Tech Lead at Mantra Labs. He is integral to the company’s Android-based projects and enterprise application development.

Further Reading:

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