Insurance firms looks to bridge online trust deficit amid Covid--19 crisis
17 April 2020
For years now life insurance brands have struggled to bridge the online trust deficit that its buyers have. While many insurance buyers have switched online for research, comparative analyses and such interactions, the final relationship has continued to be an offline commitment. But now with social distancing and chances of a return to normalcy, or the world as we knew it, fading by the day brands are going all out to create trusted, online avatars to keep the flame burning.
“Inadvertently, Covid-19 will do for insurance sector what demonetisation did to the payments industry,” said Anup Seth, chief retail officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance. He believes that more people will go for all-online transactions. To ensure that the opportunity that arises therein is leveraged to its maximum, Edelweiss Tokio ads aim at building a broader relationship with customers, around their health and the present crisis, rather than just pitch a product or service.
“With Covid-19, this process of digitalisation will go into overdrive and we will see the advisory moving digital, wherein advisers build customer interest, undertake need analysis and on-boarding completely online. This will consequently lead to a change in customers’ buying behaviour as physical interaction will go down,” Seth added.
Building trust in these times is of paramount importance. Hence the communication currently is not only about the product, or the ease of conducting their transactions online. Brands are providing entertainment options, sharing information, educating customers and busting fake news through their posts, memes and videos. It helps build a lasting relationship with customers while ensuring wider share-ability, the insurers said.
Max Life Insurance has a Covid-19 section on its website. Aalok Bhan, director and chief marketing officer, Max Life Insurance said, “The key responsibility of the industry must be to continue providing financial guidance to customers and consistently practice empathetic communication.”
The aim is also to call out fake information and news around Covid-19. “We are doing two things: One is those who have a medical cover, we are reaching out and asking them to renew online. People who do not have covers, we are advising them to buy online and assisting them through the entire process,” said Sanjay Datta, chief–Underwriting & Claims, ICICI Lombard.
Seth said his company is using the engagement to quell myths surrounding Covid-19 and insurance. “For instance, there were concerns regarding force majeure being applicable on insurance policies, which is untrue. So, we focused on reiterating to our customers that their protection needs are safeguarded,” he added.
Many brands say they would rather their actions speak louder than words. “We are providing reassurance
by being available 24x7 for all consumer needs, by continuously communicating through all possible means and by ensuring consumers are continuing to stay protected by extending payment dates as per guidelines,” said Rishi Srivastava, MD & CEO, Tata AIA Life.
Many, instead of bringing their persuasive powers to bear, are using the emailers and messages to reassure customers about any misgivings they may have about the insurance products they hold. Puneet Nanda, deputy managing director, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance said, “Our communication is focused on assuring customers of the claims settlement process remaining unaffected, uninterrupted 24X7 services through our digital enablers, existing products covering COVID-19 and encouraging them to remain invested for the policy tenure to achieve their financial goals.”
Given the scale and impact of the virus on regular businesses and customer psyche, many brands are also tying up their promotional efforts with relief measures. Some of these measures are in the form of relaxing the premium payment norms, for instance the largest insurer in the country, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), last week said it will give more time to the policyholders to pay premium falling due between March and April and ensured its policyholders that any death claims arising out of Covid-19 will be dealt with urgently. While all of this will go a long way in assuring customers, the challenge will be to keep the process transparent even after the lock down is lifted and the threat of the virus recedes.