Marianne Gilchrist believes insurance agents and brokers still have a key role despite insurance consumers increasingly opting for online purchases
When the whole world is facing the prospects of recession and India can be very badly impacted in the wake of COVID, the insurance industry, in general, is not very concerned. This is how Marianne Gilchrist, Head of Life & Health Globals and South Asia, Reinsurance Asia, at reinsurance major Swiss Re, responds when queried about how the COVID pandemic is going to affect the prospects of the insurance sector in general. She believes that with the increase in risk awareness, insurance penetration should improve as consumers increasingly recognize the value of insurance. “As a result, we could see greater interest in protection products,” she predicts.
She was in India recently in connection with the release of ‘COVID-19 Consumer Survey India Report’, which Swiss Re had brought out, providing key insights on covid’s impact on the consumers’ health, personal finances and their views on insurance during the pandemic situation. About 1000 respondents in Mumbai and Bangalore participated in the survey.
Gilchrist highlights the findings of the survey: “More than half (61%) of consumers surveyed had been contacted by their insurers, with 65% of them intending to purchase insurance as a result. 62% of respondents had searched for new policies in the past 3 months with 28% of them have already purchased a new policy, making India the second most active of our surveyed markets in Asia.”
Gilchrist says post-COVID efforts would be focused on building resilient societies, and this would include designing products that offer quick pay-outs and attractive add-ons, offering strategic financial guidance during uncertain times, explaining complicated products and strengthening consumers’ confidence in making decisions.
She also expects an integrated digital journey to happen from underwriting, purchasing to settling claims, which she says is becoming more of a necessity than an advantage in the increasingly competitive market.
IMPACT OF PANDEMIC
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