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No slowdown in spends in health insurance: Sevantika Bhandari

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No slowdown in spends in health insurance: Sevantika Bhandari

Max Bupa has a base of over 1.3 million customers (including urban and rural) and is now one of the fast growing companies in the health insurance segment, witnessing growth of 109 per cent year-on-year.

Sevantika Bhandari, ‎Director – Marketing, Max Bupa talks about the brand’s media strategy, challenges, uniqueness of the Indian consumers and more…

What is unique about the Indian consumer in the health insurance category?
In the Indian context, the consumer has a very strong linkage to the family. We have a product called ‘Family First’, which covers up to 13 relationships. The Indian consumer is about joint families and about taking responsibility of his own and extended family. The idea is to become more relevant and contextual to the consumers. 

How would you define your current brand positioning?
To help customers live healthier, more successful lives. We will be with you when you need insurance, but be healthy. We promote a healthy lifestyle. Our property called ‘Walk for Health’ has enough data to show how walking brings down diseases incidence. In the first year, Max Bupa Walk for Health witnessed participation by over 18,000 people across cities.

Is Max Bupa affected by the economic scenario?
We continue to grow. Insurance is seasonal advertising. We have not seen a slowdown in spends in health insurance. It is an under penetrated category, so we are growing. Generically, the insurance industry is on a growth path.

What is your media strategy?
We are a significant spender on television in terms of share of voice. I agree with Sir Martin Sorrell that Facebook is a branding medium, Twitter is a PR medium and Google is an advertising medium. While I may choose to receive information, I come to interact with ‘my people’ on Facebook as a consumer, and brands can’t be aggressive on this medium.

We have seen that whenever there is a health incident in the family, a lot of conversation about insurance starts because the actual reality of medical inflation hits you then. If you want to buy our products, you can also do it via Facebook; we have a ‘Get Help’ section. You don’t need to come to our website; the idea is to be where the customer is without overtly intruding and not wait for the customer to come to us. We have also created unique characters called ‘Satya’ and ‘Mitya’ – fact and fiction. This is a category where people have multiple misconceptions. The idea was to bust the myths.

What are the challenges faced by the brand?
It is a category challenge. Either people are unaware or there are aware non-users. They do not find the relevance of the products in their lives. ‘We are healthy, so we don’t need insurance’ is a popular misconception.

What is the marketing tip you would give upcoming marketers?
Associate with the brand yourself and believe your brand promise first.

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