In India, growth for insurers should remain robust as the macro economy continues to develop and prosper, opines Vishal Subharwal of HDFC Life

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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In India, growth for insurers should remain robust as the macro economy continues to develop and prosper, opines Vishal Subharwal of HDFC Life

Vishal Subharwal, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Ecommerce and Digital Business at HDFC Life, discusses with ET Edge Insights how technology can be utilised to enhance customer service and efficiency, the growth drivers for the Indian insurance sector, and the obstacles of digital transformation. Excerpts from the interview

Which digital tools have been important in shaping and organising the insurance industry?

Broadly, the digital tools can be classified into two groups. The first group of tools help improve customer experience using digital solutions that integrate technology with the wider ecosystem of payments, KYC, bureaus and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for personalisation of offerings, etc. The second group of tools is that which helps the insurers and partners become efficient internally via use of technology for risk management and underwriting, workforce engagement and training, productivity, etc.

Will digital insurance threaten the existence of insurance brokers?

Insurance brokers are adopting digital tools just the way insurers and other participants are. So, digital insurance will continue to co-exist with broking and help in building a better customer experience and long lasting relationships.

What are the challenges that insurance companies encounter while implementing digital transformations?

Challenges in implementing digital transformation are at multiple-levels. Transitioning from legacy systems to new generation architecture is both time-consuming and resource-intensive. It needs management sponsorship and commitment across levels. Change management is an integral part of a successful digital transformation. Also, it is important to apply the 80:20 Pareto principle and focus adequately on those aspects of transformation that would yield maximum business benefits. Greater involvement in the minutiae of individual projects could lead losing track of the core reason as to why the transformation was initiated. Also, aligning to a dynamic regulatory and distribution environment is an ongoing challenge that needs to be addressed.

Vishal Subharwal
Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Ecommerce and Digital Business at HDFC Life

Has the Indian insurance industry been impacted by inflation and the global recession? What are the growth projections?

The runway for growth in Indian life insurance is significantly long given the levels of penetration in the country on various metrics i.e. protection gap, penetration as a percentage of the GDP, per capital life cover, share of out-of-pocket expenses in healthcare, etc. A macro-economic scenario with inflation and growth slowdown reinforces the need to build resilience in one’s life and financial plans via life insurance products which help transfer risks of mortality, morbidity, longevity, interest rates, etc. from your personal balance sheet to an entity more adept at handling these risks. In summary, growth for insurers should stay robust as the macro economy continues to develop and prosper.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members