We have been on our digital transformation journey since the last couple of years – COVID-19 only augmented this journey further. Our constant focus has been on providing smart digital services that are relevant for the evolving business environment and customer needs. With the COVID environment, our top priority was to ensure smooth and seamless WFH (work-from-home) setup for our employees. We created and disbursed customized WFH configuration kit for our employees including call-center teams enabling them to support our customers with meeting their life goals, even remotely.
For our customers, as stepping out became difficult or not advisable, we ensured that our customers continued to stay connected with us through our digital touchpoints to service their policy.
At the beginning of the lockdown, we introduced WhatsApp for Business services, enabled by an AI self-service bot, which provides customers a comprehensive set of policy services options. Basis customers’ usage and needs, we further strengthened our WhatsApp services by introducing video calls through a first-of-its-kind in the industry, i-SERV video calling service. These services kept the customer journey frictionless. As a result, transactions on our self-servicing portal increased by 82 percent YTD January FY21 over last year.
We also launched a first-of-its-kind co-browsing service in the industry – Smart Assist to enable smooth delivery of contactless services and interactions with customers. This revolutionary service helps our sales force and customer connect virtually for real-time assistance to continue their life goals journey, while following social distancing protocol. Within a month of its launch, we received overwhelming responses with thousands of users transacting on Smart Assist. Furthermore, to save our customers from the ordeal of doing physical medical tests for buying an insurance policy, we have moved to tele and video medical examination reports. These tech-led strategies have enabled us to stay committed to our customers’ life goals in a safe and smart manner.
Innovation through COVID-19 times
We cannot consider COVID-19 a blessing, disguised or otherwise. The steps taken by the Indian life insurance industry during COVID-19 times were designed to enable all stakeholders. The rapid adoption of digital platforms, not just for organizations, but also, for our customers, insurance consultants, employees, and partners – has been a major transformation for the industry. And this has been seen across several processes, such as contactless servicing platforms, tele/video underwriting, cashless payments, etc. Further, technology has played a major role in ensuring overall business continuity in the pandemic environment, be it smooth transition to work-from-home set-up for employees, ensuring data security for organization, cloud integration for partners and safe digital touch-points for customers. I believe this trend is here to stay.
Building new products and strengthening our brand equity
While building new products, our focus is on enabling customers achieve their specific life goals with us. We are making most of these new-age products available online and helping customers have an involved buy journey. This is not limited to only when they buy from us directly, but also when they buy through our partners or insurance consultants. We are enabling our customers understand the product better, know what they are paying to receive what, and stay updated through the whole process.
This has enabled Bajaj Allianz Life have a distinct differentiator within the industry. We continue to maintain this focus while building new products, and strengthen our brand equity with our customers.
The future is in AI
Artificial intelligence has become more about today and now, and less about someday in future. Today, insurers are using AI-powered chatbots to help customers and other stakeholders solve their queries instantly, without losing the customization provided by a human intervention. Our WhatsApp bot is an excellent example of this. With AI-enabled features, the bot is used by lakhs of customers for their various policy needs.
In the coming years, I believe that projects that require huge volumes of data to be assessed in order to make one decision will see an increased usage of artificial intelligence. Aside from such projects, I also feel that AI can be useful in areas where human decision-making are involved because AI improves the accuracy of decision-making, without any bias.