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AI can help bridge customer gaps for microinsurers

Microinsurance targets low-income households and individuals with little savings. Low premium, low caps, and low coverage limits are the characteristics of microinsurance plans. These are designed for risk-proofing the assets otherwise not served by traditional insurance schemes.

Because microinsurance comprises of low-premium models, it demands lower operational cost. This article covers insights on how AI can help bridge customer gaps for microinsurers.

Challenges in Distributing Microinsurance Policies

Globally, microinsurance penetration is just around 2-3% of the potential market size. Following are the challenges that companies providing microinsurance policies face-

  1. Being a forerunner in a competitive landscape.
  2. Making policies accessible through online channels.
  3. Developing user-friendly interfaces understandable to a layman.
  4. Improving the organization’s operational efficiencies by automating repetitive processes.
  5. Responsive support system for both agent and customer queries.
  6. Quick and easy reimbursements and claim settlements.

Fortunately, technology is capable of solving customer support, repetitive workflow, and scalability challenges to a great extent. The subsequent section measures the benefits of AI-based technology in the microinsurance sector. 

Benefits of Technology Penetrating the Microinsurance Space

#1 Speeds up the Process 

Paperwork, handling numerous documents, data entry, etc. are current tedious tasks. AI-driven technologies like intelligent document processing systems can help simplify the insurance documentation and retrieval process. 

For example, Gramcover, an Indian startup in the microinsurance sector uses direct-document uploading and processing for faster insurance distribution in the rural sector.

Gramcover - automated document processing for faster microinsurance distribution

#2 Scalable and Cost-effective 

Because of scalability, technology has also enabled non-insurance companies to distribute insurance schemes on a disruptive scale.

Within a year of launching the in-trip insurance initiative, cab-hailing service — Ola, is able to issue 2 crore in-trip policies per month. The policy offers risk coverage against baggage loss, financial emergencies, medical expenses, and missed flights due to driver cancellations/ uncontrollable delays.

Ola Cabs in-trip insurance

AI-based systems are also cost-effective in the long run because the same system is adaptable across different platforms and is easily integrated across the enterprise.

The microinsurance space is in need of better customer-first policies that are both convenient and flexible to use. ‘On & Off’ microinsurance policies for farmers, especially when they need it, can bring about a change in their buying behavior. The freedom to turn your insurance protection off, when you are not likely to use or benefit from it can give customers the freedom to use a product that maximizes their utility.

At the same time, insurers will be able to diffuse their products with greater spread across the rural landscape because the customer is able to derive greater value from it.

#3 Easy and Customer-friendly Claims

Consumers want faster reimbursements against their plans. Going with the traditional process, claim settlement may take several months to approve. Through distributed ledgers and guided access, documents or information can be made available in a fraction of seconds. 

MaxBupa, in association with Mobikwik, has introduced HospiCash, a microinsurance policy in the health domain. It has identified the low-income segment’s needs and accordingly takes cares of out of pocket expenses (@ ₹500/day) of the customers.

Mobikwik wallet ensures hassle-free everyday money credit to the user.

MaxBupa X MobiKwik Hospicash policy covering out-of-pocket expenses during hospitalization

Another example of easy claim settlement is that of ICICI Lombard motor insurance e-claim service. InstaSpect, a live video inspection feature on the Lombard’s Insure app allows registering claim instantly and helps in getting immediate approvals. It also connects the user to the claim settlement manager for inspecting the damaged vehicle over a video call.

Real-time inspection and claims can benefit farmers. In the event of machine or tractor breakdown, they need not wait for days for the claim inspector to come in-person and assess the vehicle. Instead, using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models, the inspection can be carried out within seconds via an app, following which the algorithm can determine (based on trained models) to approve or reject the claim. 

#4 Automating Repetitive Tasks

Entering data manually is subject to human error, whereas, data entered through scanners, document parsers, etc. are up to 99.94% accurate.

Microinsurance sector is also a victim of self-centered human behavior, where agents consider personal profit before the benefit of the user. Automating the customer/agent onboarding journey can improve the distributed sales network model too. 

MaxBupa uses FlowMagic for processing inbound documents, for enterprise-wide flexibility and fit. With AI, they are able to halve the manned human effort for gains in operational accuracy. 

Automation can bring down the challenges of mis-selling, moral hazard, and distribution costs to level zero with agnostic digital systems.  

#5 Operational Efficiency

Where human employment calls for dedicated working hours, with chatbots, a large number of queries can be handled anytime during the day, weekends, and holidays. It is even convenient for customers also.

Religare, India’s leading insurance provider has introduced AI-based chatbots that can handle customer queries without needing human intervention. It is capable of helping a customer to buy or renew a policy, schedule appointments, updating contact details, and more. This technology has helped Religare to increase sales by 5X and increase customer interaction by 10X. 

The microinsurance sector can also take advantage of chatbot technology to improve response time.

Religare Chatbot

Final Thoughts

As more microinsurance products continue to surface in the market, insurers need to place the rural customer upfront and center of their strategic efforts. By understanding and fulfilling the rural insuree’s needs, cutting down operational costs through process automation such as adding AI-powered chatbots to handle general queries or quickly settling claims without the need for unnecessary human intervention —  microinsurers can realize better market penetration and adoption for these policies.


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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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