By Mayank Bathwal, CEO, Aditya Birla Health Insurance
Over the last two years, we have seen a wave of changes in the health insurance industry in India. Prior to the pandemic, digitalisation and technology had made strides to accelerate, supplement, and improve the healthcare and health insurance industries. However, COVID-19 has highlighted the need for the health insurance sector in conjunction with the wellness and healthcare sectors to streamline, improve, and digitise their strategy, operating model, data and transactions. More than ever, health insurers have accepted the link between customer experience and digital strategy, transformation approach, and operational improvement.
The launch of the National Digital Health Mission will also enable a digital backbone for integrated healthcare delivery in India. It will further leverage digital technologies that will drive healthcare inclusion and improve health outcomes. There will be a growing use of technology and digital by the insurance sector to create new opportunities, not just to acquire customers, but also to reinforce the customer lifecycle and health/wellness management. Digital data help the customer at all three stages – pre-issuance, post-issuance and claims. From better curated servicing to fraud and risk detection, digitised customer data can go a long way in improving the customer journey.
If health insurers have transitioned to remote sales and service teams, customers too have become quite adept in availing digital services in every step of the typical health insurance process. Customers have now started using their health insurers’ apps and website for accessing information and processing requests. Insurers are also leveraging digital investments for differentiating products, solutions, partnerships and engagement models. It will be imperative to build a digitally led, data-driven organisation that combines customer insights, offerings, capabilities, employees and culture in a way that is distinct and hard to replicate.
Some focus areas will include:
Engage in digital ecosystems – With an increase in customer demands for flexibility and integrated experiences, more insurers are recognising that the future of digital insurance will require leveraging digital ecosystems to reinvent products, distribution channels, value propositions, service delivery etc. Digital ecosystems can drive greater economic value and relevance for insurance companies by providing benefits such as better risk management, better claim adjudication, and new revenue streams. Hence, the need to create a consumer-centric, digitally enabled, and fully integrated digital health ecosystem to adapt to the changing landscape.
Apart from improving customer experience, it also enables customers to access affordable and high-value healthcare. In overall, digital ecosystems provide insurers the opportunity to engage customers, fully automate insurance engines, strengthen partnerships with providers, and focus on better healthcare outcomes.
Build products and services to meet the demands of a digital world – Creating new personalised and byte-sized digital offerings is going to be critical for the industry. Providing contextual offerings to the customer also makes insurance relevant to the larger set of consumers.
Distribution Channels – Insurers will have to go beyond digitising traditional channels to create digitally enabled distribution channels that fully tap into the power of digital tools and analytics for advice, sales engagement and relationship management. Self-servicing through digital mediums is going to be the new essential for customer servicing in the industry.
With the rising need and value of health insurance, such newer channels will definitely aid in a much refined customer experience along with enabling to create a curated offering with personalisation and transparency. It will be data driven and digital that will thereby make the process of buying and reviewing insurance easy.
The pandemic has also brought a big shift in the consumption behaviour of customers. Such newer channels will help broaden the reach of the industry, especially the millennials and the younger population.
Customer Experience – Using data and tech together is the key to offering a personalised and improved customer experience. Insurance companies will benefit from increased speed, accuracy, and efficiency with the help of deep industry expertise and AI-based tools. The use of AI in claims where clients can converse with a voice bot or a conversation assistant can be extremely beneficial. Several companies provide real-time assessment via the Selfie app, and the claim journey can begin with an image analytics engine that assesses the damage and immediately gives consent for the claim’s clearance.
Increasingly, we would recognise that the customers’ wellbeing is a win-win situation for the insurer and the insured. Therefore, using digital tools for managing the health of the insured, enabling a social network of such beneficiaries, providing an ecosystem of products and services, would also become the norm.
We will also see several insure-tech enabled, data-driven and digital solutions such as machine learning and Blockchain help the health insurance sector in process optimisation for underwriting, processing of claims and managing customer queries benefitting both customers and health insurers equally.