Insurance brands bring their ‘A’ game during COVID-19 times

Given the 30% spike in insurance amid the coronavirus pandemic, India’s top firms are staying well-connected with their consumers through offers and campaigns

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Updated: Apr 13, 2020 8:28 AM
Coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak is causing widespread concern among consumers and increasing economic hardship for them, businesses, and communities. The insurance sector is also impacted during this pandemic.  Companies including Acko general insurance, Max Life Insurance, Liberty general insurance have taken necessary steps to market themselves and stay well connected with the consumers by crafting campaigns.

According to media reports, the coronavirus scare has triggered panic in India and there has been an increase in medical insurance as well as general insurance.  According to experts, the industry has seen a spike of about 30% during COVID-19.

“The demand initially took a hit with search volumes declining in COVID times. It is only after 2 weeks into the lockdown that the search numbers are looking positive.” Said Vishwajeet Parashar, Group Marketing Head, Bajaj Capital.

This spike, he believes, is primarily due to the looming fear of uncertainty and the insurers upping their games with enhanced campaigns.

He said, “The industry has witnessed approximately a 30% upside on-base numbers only on e-commerce demand for term life insurance. However, TROP (Term with Return of premium) still remains the most searched product. Yes, we can add that the overall industry is looking at a 30-40% business only on M-o-M basis.”

He also asserted that the industry is bound to witness the first de-growth in the last 10 years after the 2008 sub-prime crises. “This may shrink the overall pie itself and while the policy numbers might increase, the case-size reduction might still actually pull down the growth later this year,” he shared.

Recently, Acko decided to supports its customers during the lockdown by offering a one-month free policy extension on auto insurance. Customers who renew or buy an auto insurance policy will pay for 12 months and get a one-month extension on tenure at no cost. 

“In the wake of the current lockdown, we appreciate that people have been acting responsibly by staying indoors, practising social distancing and not using their cars/bikes. Since most vehicles are parked and not in use during this period, we want to support our customers and do the right thing in a transparent manner by extending their insurance policy by a month for no additional cost. Given these challenging times, we all need to support each other and ease the burden in whatever small way possible,” Nitin Khanna, AVP Marketing, Acko General Insurance told us.

 

 Max Life Insurance is also doing its bit to stay connected with their customers at this time. Aalok Bhan, Director & Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance shared that they are doing their best to assure customers that the brand is with them during these tough times.

“Our key responsibility is to continue providing financial guidance to customers across the board and therefore we are consistently practising empathetic communication,” he said.

The brand has been accomplishing this by staying in constant touch with its consumers through all non-physical touchpoints and scaling up its digital capabilities to assist consumers with on-boarding and other service-related queries.

“Max Life Insurance initiated work from home for many functions even before the lockdown was announced and hence we were better prepared to meet all the service needs of our customers digitally. Within four days of lockdown, our customer-facing operations were functioning at 75-80% efficiency, which helped in winning customers' trust and confidence,” he pointed out.

The brand is also in touch with its policyholders through emails and SMS to share relevant information during these times. Max Life has also launched a social media campaign -- #The21DayDifference challenge – to reinforce the stay-at-home message by encouraging families to pursue fun activities with their loved ones.

When asked if the brand has a spike or dip in demand for insurance policies after the outbreak of COVID-19, he added that the lockdown is expected to have a significant impact on the life insurance industry in March 2020.

“As face-to-face sales are not possible, we have digitised our entire sales process as much as possible to reach customers efficiently. We continue to meet their protection and life-stage goals related needs. The demand for protection products, both term plans, and critical illness plans have kept pace but we have witnessed that people tend to defer their decision on the traditional endowment and unit-linked plans due to non-availability of face to face discussion.

“Stock market volatility has also kept consumers away from ULIPs which are market-linked products. However, our agent advisors and bank sellers have adopted digital methods of selling quickly and consumers will also adapt to this new reality of going digital soon,” he added.

Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited has also announced the launch of its digital campaign #CoverTheDistance to encourage people to spend quality time with their loved ones.

Insurance brands are being mindful of their tone and messaging given the current situation.

Parashar stated that they are being flexible and adapting to changes. “All of us have heard a saying ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ and what insurance companies are doing in these times is a sheer display of flexibility and adaptability to changing business environment. Insurers have been flexing their market muscles for long on the ground but this time they have taken digital adoption to the next level,” he said.

Stating a few examples, Parashan told us that insurers are one of the big contributors to it. Large players like MaxLife, HDFC, Kotak have mobilized the entire sales force on digital tools, adopted new selling techniques and are truly working on mobile-first environments. The maximum ad spends nowadays is online and TVCs. “Insurance companies have launched extremely low-cost group and retail Health Products covering only COVID-19 to acquire new customers,” he concluded.

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