We are after a great book, not a lofty topline”

Outlook Business|January 31, 2020

We are after a great book, not a lofty topline”
AFTER ESTABLISHING ITSELF IN THE CORPORATE INSURANCE SEGMENT, RAHEJA QBE* WANTS TO MAKE INROADS IN RETAIL INSURANCE. IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH OUTLOOK BUSINESS, VIVEK BHATIA, CEO-AUSTRALIA PACIFIC, QBE INSURANCE, REVEALS HIS GROWTH STRATEGY IN THIS NEW SPACE. THE COMPANY HAS INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS AND MONEY TO INVEST, BUT ABOVE ALL IT PLANS TO ASSESS ITS RISKS THOROUGHLY IN THIS HYPERCOMPETITIVE SEGMENT.

What led to the shift in strategy from corporate insurance to retail?

Ten years ago, Raheja QBE was focused on bringing the expertise of global QBE to the Indian market. It was purely a corporate commercial speciality insurance product line, and we continue to be a force to reckon with in this segment. But back then we weren’t ready to foray into the consumer section and didn’t feel that the market was conducive. It was the de-tariffing era and we were unsure of our ability to price the risk correctly. But over the past 18 months, we have been planning the next phase of growth. The opportunity is clearly in sight right now.

Any particular trends that convinced you?

There is stronger regulation in the auto space and we believe that the distribution networks have become more mature. With technology and improving digital channels, it has become easier for us to grow pan-India without having physical footprint in every city. Also, the increase in use of smartphones and the data revolution have made the environment more conducive.

But there are already many established players in the retail space...

We love the vibrant competitive landscape, which means there is plenty of opportunity here. The overall market is growing at 17% CAGR and will have this momentum for the next five years. Thus, we can gain market share from a few of the existing players, and profit from the overall growth of the sector. Even though there are established players, we can offer a proposition that is simpler for customers to understand, in terms of product design and delivery. Insurance has traditionally been a complex product, which is difficult for people to understand. We are also using technology to enable seamless transactions.

What according to you are the key macro challenges for the company?

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January 31, 2020