Ritesh Kumar also talks about the recent changes in the motor and health insurance space. Edited excerpts:
What are the takeaways for the insured from the recent regulatory changes?
The changes are aimed at standardising the base health insurance cover to make purchases by first-time buyers easier, simplifying processes related to existing products and widening the coverage by encouraging insurers to innovate. We can expect insurers to launch improved variants of their approved products more quickly than before.
The IRDAI is working on "sandbox" regulations. Do you think these will be a game changer? How helpful will they be for consumers?
Sandbox rings in a welcome change where the IRDAI will allow process and product innovation on an experimental basis for six months. At the end of the period, if the new product/process is successful, the IRDAI may regularise the product/process for commercial sale. This is likely to encourage insurers to set up incubation centres with or without the help of insuretech and other digital partners to create products and processes that meet the needs of different segments of society. I think this will play a big role in increasing insurance penetration and awareness.
By when do you think the claim processes will be fully digitalised?
Our claim processes are digitally enabled. The customers upload scanned documents through the mobile application, e-mail or our website. These are then processed by our claim managers. Our aim is to revolutionise the claim processes through our 'Jaldi Claim' services. With customer expectations ever evolving, we are relooking at the claim process and working towards enhancing it by digitising the customer's data and using artificial intelligence. The scans uploaded by customers will be digitally read, processed, stored, and customer claim approved on the basis of rules set in the system. This will reduce the claim settlement time.
Do you think portability, as a process, has matured and is now smooth enough for people to exercise it? Under what circumstances will you advise people to go for it?
The process of portability has become mature over the last eight years. It seamlessly allows customers to switch from one insurer to another with the benefits of the earlier policy such as waiting period for pre-existing diseases, time-bound exclusions and cumulative bonus. Customers may opt for portability under any of the following circumstances - dissatisfaction with services of the existing insurer and launch of upgraded health products. But they must keep in mind the following: The policy can be ported only at the time of renewal; customers must approach the new insurer at least 45 days prior to the date of renewal; also, portability guidelines allow the new insurer to underwrite the policy as per its own guidelines, which means it can accept the risk with loading or even reject the proposal if it does not meet its underwriting guidelines; the customer may also have to undergo medical check-up as per the underwriting guidelines of the new insurer
What do you think will be the impact of the new Motor Vehicle Act on your business? Do you think it will reduce premiums?
The fine for driving an uninsured vehicle has been doubled to Rs 2,000 with/or six-month imprisonment. This has led to more number of uninsured people buying motor policies, mainly for two-wheelers. In September, our two-wheeler policy sales, both as renewal and rollover, almost tripled compared to previous months. With likelihood of reduction in the number of uninsured vehicles on Indian roads due to strict implementation of the new MV Act across the country, we expect that the third-party premium rates may start stabilising in a few years from now.
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