India with about 200 million middle class household shows a huge untapped potential for players in the insurance industry. Saturation of markets in many developed economies has made the Indian market even more attractive for global insurance majors. The insurance sector in India has come to a position of very high potential and competitiveness in the market. Indians, have always seen life insurance as a tax saving device, are now suddenly turning to the private sector that are providing them new products and variety for their choice.
Consumers remain the most important centre of the insurance sector. After the entry of the foreign players the industry is seeing a lot of competition and thus improvement of the customer service in the industry. Computerization of operations and updating of technology has become imperative in the current scenario. Foreign players are bringing in international best practices in service through use of latest technologies. The insurance agents still remain the main source through which insurance products are sold. The concept is very well established in the country like India but still the increasing use of other sources is imperative. At present the distribution channels that are available in the market are listed below.
Direct selling ·
Corporate agents ·
Group selling ·
Brokers and cooperative societies ·
Banc assurance ·
Customers have tremendous choice from a large variety of products from pure term (risk) insurance to unit-linked investment products. Customers are offered unbundled products with a variety of benefits as riders from which they can choose. More customers are buying products and services based on their true needs and not just traditional money back policies, which is not considered very appropriate for long-term protection and savings. There is lots of saving and investment plans in the market. However, there are still some key new products yet to be introduced – e.g. health products.
The rural consumer is now exhibiting an increasing propensity for insurance products. A research conducted exhibited that the rural consumers are willing to dole out anything between Rs 3,500 and Rs 2,900 as premium each year. In the insurance the awareness level for life insurance is the highest in rural India, but the consumers are also aware about motor, accidents and cattle insurance. In a study conducted by MART the results showed that nearly one third said that they had purchased some kind of insurance with the maximum penetration skewed in favor of life insurance. The study also pointed out the private companies have huge task to play in creating awareness and credibility among the rural populace. The perceived benefits of buying a life policy range from security of income bulk return in future, daughter’s marriage, children’s education and good return on savings, in that order, the study adds.
There is an evolutionary change in the technology that has revolutionized the entire insurance sector. Insurance industry is a data-rich industry, and thus, there is a need to use the data for trend analysis and personalization.
With increased competition among insurers, service has become a key issue. Moreover, customers are getting increasingly sophisticated and tech-savvy. People today don’t want to accept the current value propositions, they want personalized interactions and they look for more and more features and add ones and better service.
The insurance companies today undergo for more and more personalized approach in handling the customer. Today managing the customer intelligently is very critical for the insurer especially in the very competitive environment. Companies need to apply different set of rules and treatment strategies to different customer segments. However, to personalize interactions, insurers are required to capture customer information in an integrated system.
With the explosion of Website and greater access to direct product or policy information, there is a need to developing better techniques to give customers a truly personalized experience. Personalization helps organizations to reach their customers with more impact and to generate new revenue through cross selling and up selling activities. To ensure that the customers are receiving personalized information, many organizations are incorporating knowledge database-repositories of content that typically include a search engine and let the customers locate the all document and information related to their queries of request for services. Customers can hereby use the knowledge database to mange their products or the company information and invoices, claim records, and histories of the service inquiry. These products also may be able to learn from the customer’s previous knowledge database and to use their information when determining the relevance to the customers search request
There is a probability of a spurt in employment opportunities. A number of web-sites are coming up on insurance, a few financial magazines exclusively devoted to insurance and also a few training institutes being set up hurriedly. Life insurance has today become a mainstay of any market economy since it offers plenty of scope for garnering large sums of money for long periods of time.
A well-regulated life insurance industry which moves with the times by offering its customers tailor-made products to satisfy their financial needs is, therefore, essential if we desire to progress towards a worry-free future. Efficient customer services by the insurance sector will enhance the performance of its business.
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