92.6% Service Requests Processed Online, Driving Digital Advancement: Deepak Kinger – LSB

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In an interview with Deepak Kingar, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company, we discuss the transformative impact of recent Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) regulations on India’s insurance landscape. Highlighting the company’s vision to achieve ‘Insurance for All by 2047’, Kinger elaborated on ICICI Prudential’s recent initiatives, digital transformation and strategic moves aimed at enhancing customer experience, ensuring compliance and contributing to the industry’s larger goals. Excerpt:

How have the recent IRDAI regulations affected the insurance landscape in India?

IRDAI is working to enhance the protection of policy holders and to increase ease of doing business by moving towards a primarily policy-based regulatory system. This placed higher liability on the insurance company as well as provided greater operational flexibility in certain key areas.

The regulator has allowed insurers to introduce products that comply with the regulations after conducting internal risk assessments and ensuring suitability. This has effectively improved speed to market enabling insurers to offer products to meet the evolving needs of consumers. This has enabled us to offer guaranteed products at competitive interest rates to our customers.

Significantly, changes in administrative costs have provided greater cost allowances for renewal premiums and reduced allowable costs for new policy premiums, thereby encouraging long-term behaviour. The regulation now covers all expenses under the aggregate limit, giving insurers increased flexibility in managing expenses.

IRDAI has also taken steps towards risk-based capital (RBC) regime. This will serve as an important mechanism for maintaining capital commensurate with inherent risk and can go a long way in enabling companies to manage risks appropriately, such as appropriate hedging of guarantees, asset liability management, etc.

The dream of achieving ‘Insurance for All by 2047’ is ambitious. How does ICICI Prudential Life plan to contribute to this goal?

It is imperative for the industry to ensure that life insurance meets the basic needs of society, such as protection and savings, and that life insurance touchpoints are easily accessible to all. The survey estimates that only 12 percent of the addressable population in India is covered by life insurance. India has a mortality protection gap of USD 16.5 trillion and a retirement fund gap of USD 3 trillion.

We have developed ‘ICICI Pro Stack’, an industry-first initiative that incorporates digital tools and analytical capabilities that ensure the right product to the right customer through the right channel and at the right price. The stack is enabling our distribution network with customer segmentation to unlock opportunities.

We are also focusing on micro-insurance products by tying up with micro-finance institutions to make the products more accessible in the country. IRDAI, too, has taken some initiatives to achieve its vision of ‘Insurance for All’.

What initiatives has ICICI Prudential Life taken to enhance customer experience and ensure compliance?

The company has made significant investments in the development of its digital platform. In the first half of fiscal 2024, self-service transactions accounted for 92.6 percent of all our service requests. With over 1.9 million downloads, our mobile app acts as a virtual branch for our customers and the convenience it provides has led to one in three service transactions being done through it till October 2023.

Digital tools such as WhatsApp, bots, mobile apps, chatbot LIGO and our company website enable the availability of services as per the needs of our customers. We recognize that in addition to buying life insurance, investing for continuity of benefits is crucial. Therefore, we have implemented advanced machine learning models, which ensure timely intervention for policy consistency.

With a retail claim settlement ratio of 97.9 percent and 98.14 percent in the first and second quarters of fiscal 2024, respectively, we have consistently maintained the top position among individual life insurance companies. Claim settlement ratio is an important factor to consider while buying life insurance.

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