The Indian life insurance industry is expected to see better growth this year than last year because economic activities are picking up on the ground, said MrTarun Chugh, CEO and MD of Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance.
In an interview with Money Today, he said, “The entire insurance industry grew in 2018 and the same pace is likely to continue in 2019 too, with some segments such as digital-only products seeing a spurt.”
In 2018, the life market saw robust growth of 10-11%.
In addition, product innovation is taking place across categories and more critically, more and more companies are adopting digitisation and looking at selling through digital channels.
Mr Chugh said, “The industry has seen good regulatory support with the new product regulation draft, which is already out and should help open the pension space, as well as VIP (Variable Insurance Plans) products. Those products should also come in handy and should help fuel growth. Our regulators have offered clarity around sandboxing and we will see some innovation there as well.”
Asked about the status of wearable technologies being introduced in life insurance and their role in underwriting, he said, “That is going to come in. If you ask me, 'Is there anything substantive yet?' Then it is a 'no'.”
He added, however, “Now that guidelines are clearer, we can expect experiments with wearable technologies.”
Questioned about portability in life insurance, he said, “In life insurance, it (portability) hasn't happened yet. That's also because when people buy life insurance, they really look at a brand before deciding what to do. With the kind of transparency now, a lot is shared. At the time of on-boarding and at the time of buying a policy, too, a lot is shared and mentioned. Everybody has been able to make informed decisions.”
He said that developments in online claim processing are moving very quickly. “Online submission of claims is there, and payments are based on NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer), so that's not much of an issue. The only problem sometimes is that with an early claim, you want to get an investigator because many instances of fraud still take place. Other than investigation, the claim process will soon become digital,” said Mr Chugh.