The 4th annual Economic Times Insurance Summit brings together industry doyens

December 2017, Mumbai: The Economic Times Insurance Summit 2017 held at The Taj Lands End, Mumbai, saw luminaries from the insurance biggies and service providers discussing various aspects. The summit created a platform for deliberations focused on how to make Insurance accessible to every Indian as envisioned by the PM of India & shed some light on the need to revive policies and regulations, in addition to analysing the impact of digital disruptions on the insurance landscape.

Beginningthe conference with his views on securing financial future of India Mr.Nilesh Sathe, Member (Life), Insurance Regulatory & Development Authoritysaid“The insurance density of India is pretty low at $59, whilethe world’s insurance density is 10 times larger. Merely adopting a productthat has done well for others doesn’t mean it will sell well for others, therecan’t be a cookie cutter approach. The need is to better strategize. What we dotoday will decide where we are tomorrow, so we must find out if we are onthe right track.”

Setting thetone for the day, Mr. Deepak Lamba, President - Times StrategicSolutions, said, “While we have seen an improvementin insurance penetration and density in the last years, India largely remainsan under-penetrated market. There is thus a need to drive insurance coverage,without which our nation will be burdened with unprecedented costs as thepopulation ages. The Economic Times Insurance Summit saw prominent industry experts sharetheir insights on the path ahead for the insurance sector, helping usunderstand how to embrace the digital disruptions and innovations that promiseto reshape our lives.”

The summitthen moved on to a panel discussion moderated by Rohan Sachdev, Partner& Leader, Financial Services Advisory and Global Insurance Leader forEmerging markets, EY that focussed on allowance of Initial PublicOffering in Insurance Sector, Mergers and Acquisition in the insurance sector,and to learn about new policies undertaken by the government. Talking aboutwhat the future holds, R M Vishaka, MD & CEO, Indiafirst Life Insurancesaid“Looking at penetration rates today, I do believe we have agreat story for the next 5 years. Look at income disparity reducing, technologyproliferation, I have a huge belief in rural and sub-urban areas and with theadvent of technology, I believe in the growth story that lies ahead of us.”

Highlightingthe challenges KG Krishnamoorthy Rao, MD & CEO, Future GeneraliIndia insurance said, “The challenge for the non-life insuranceindustry has been the claim ratio, which can be put down to bad pricing. Wehave seen improvements in the pricing levels of smaller portfolios, so slowlythe industry realised that they need to look at the claims ratio more closely”.

The summitalso deliberated on the most upcoming trend in every industry, i.e. disruptivetechnology. Sharing his views with other panellists, Tarun Chugh,MD & CEO, Bajaj Alliance Life Insurance said, “There is alot of experimentation being done, with disruption happening around a lot ofcustomer-centric facets. While the environment is getting ready for it, we’renot there as yet. There’s been some movement, such as in IOT, and some cases inAI too. We’re just starting off, and there’s a lot of work to be done. The impactwill come when insurance is sought to be brought more than being sold.”

Giving atruthful picture Mahesh Balasubramanian, CEO, Kotak Mahindra GeneralInsurance Company said, “India is behind the curve, but theopportunity is enormous, but we are trying to fit solutions to fit our needsrather than having an end-to-end solution that operates on these new-agetechnologies. That is where the game will be changed and won.”

NoshinKagalwalla, MD, SAS India emphasized the enormous opportunities available and shared; “Weare set to have 20 billion computing devices by 2020 according to Gartner.Technologies such as AI, machine learning, IOT and blockchain opens up newopportunities for innovation and ways to do business. More data is nowavailable for analysis and this is where the opportunity lies for companies.”

Moving on toa forum moderated by Hemant Jhajharia, PwC, India, pondered overthe digital transformation and fast changing consumer behaviour. Participants, ShalabhSaxena, CEO, Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance, K SanathKumar, Chairman & MD, National Insurance Company, Vikas Seth, CEO, BhartiAXA Life Insurance, Anup Jindal, CEO & Joint MD, RMSI and Ashish Mehrotra,MD & CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance agreed upon the importance oftaking a full view of customer profile and managing digital engagement. Todayan insurer needs to invest heavily into digital platforms.

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