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The Phygital Future: How Insurance is Reimagined for a New Generation?

Zopper Team Industry Talk April 16th, 2024

The insurance sector is undergoing a dynamic transformation. Factors like evolving customer preferences (especially millennials and Gen Z), technological advancements, and regulatory shifts are driving this change. The demand for personalised, convenient experiences has surged with the rise of online transactions and digital payments. This digital shift is further accelerated by India's unique infrastructure and IRDAI initiatives promoting paperless and remote interactions.

Opportunities Abound

Here are some key areas:

  • Under-Penetration: India has a vast underinsured population. This opens doors for growth in protection, savings, and retirement products as financial needs evolve

  • Demographics: Rising life expectancy and a growing elderly population by 2060 highlight the need for protection and retirement solutions

  • Product Innovation: Product innovation, influenced by evolving customer needs and eased regulations, is driving the industry forward

Addressing Misconceptions

Perceptions surrounding insurance need addressing, particularly the notion of term premiums being seen merely as a 'cost'. Term plans aren't just expenses; they offer vital protection. Also, long-term plans provide stability, and it's essential to dispel misunderstandings about annuity taxation. Annuity plans can be tax-efficient and offer guaranteed income.

Additionally, the following product categories can cater to the evolving needs:

  • Savings with Easy Access: Highlighting the flexibility of accessing your money

  • Life & Health Protection Bundles: Emphasising the combined benefits of these products

  • Flexible Retirement Income Solutions: Clarifying the benefit of choosing your income stream in retirement

  • Healthcare Coverage with Added Protection: Emphasises the healthcare focus while mentioning the additional safeguards

The Phygital Future

The future lies in a blended approach - "Phygital." This seamlessly combines physical and digital elements to enhance distribution and operations:

  • Phygital Distribution: Leveraging "Bionic Agents" and digital Point-of-Sale Persons (POSPs) alongside online marketplaces like BIMA SUGAM

  • Digital Operations: Providing a seamless digital experience for customers. This includes AI-powered 24/7 support, remote-first operations, and automated medical underwriting and claims processing

  • Hyper Personalisation: Utilising AI to understand customer needs and personalise offerings, leading to increased sales and customer retention

By embracing these changes, insurance companies can unlock a future of growth and relevance for the new generation.

Conclusion 

The pandemic accelerated a digital shift across all industries; insurance is no exception. Insurers are now grappling with a crucial question: how to retain customers who have embraced digital channels while still catering to those who prefer a traditional, in-person experience.

  • McKinsey's research highlights the diverse preferences – 45% driven to digital and 48% favouring physical channels. Phygital bridges this gap, offering convenience and a human touch for insurance customers, with 24% still preferring face-to-face interaction

  • Phygital goes beyond simply offering online services. It allows for interactive experiences that leverage technology to enrich the customer journey. Think AI-powered chatbots providing personalised advice alongside experienced agents offering in-person support

Phygital isn't just a trend; it's the future of insurance. By embracing a customer-centric approach that leverages technology without neglecting the human element, insurers can unlock a world of possibilities, fostering trust, loyalty, and sustainable growth in a post-pandemic world.

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