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Data Interchange Will Take The Digital Game To Next Level, Says Tapan Singhel

Speed and efficiency are the easier parts of digitisation, but the big benefits are yet to come as data interchange will help develop incredible capabilities to save lives, says Singhel.

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Nidhi Sinha
February 9, 2024
Should You Buy Pension Plans With Life Coverage Or Purchase

Should You Buy Pension Plans With Life Coverage Or Purchase

InsuranceAs digitization transforms industries, reshaping how we work and live, one valuable yet inevitable outcome is its enabling role in data interchange to develop capabilities that can benefit customers and save millions of lives. In an interview with Nidhi Sinha, Editor of Outlook Money, Tapan Singhel, CEO and MD of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, explains how digitization has brought convenience to people’s lives and the economy, including the insurance sector and the impact it will make in the years to come.

Here are the edited excerpts from the interview on how data interchange will take the digital game to the next level.

Speed And Efficiency Of Digitisation

Those are the easier parts of digitization—cutting down paperwork, and reaching out faster to the customer via emails, among others. But let’s look at the bigger picture. When Covid happened, nobody knew how to handle that, whether it was doctors or hospitals. But at that time, insurance companies would have data that would show what was going well or wrong. If that data could have been used by the government or by the World Health Organisation (WHO), it would have fast-tracked learnings, which would have benefitted millions of people across the globe.

In an era of digitization and data, things can be solved at hyperspeed. During Covid, everyone had their own island of digitalization—hospitals, and the insurance industry. So, why can’t it be all plug-and-play? As an industry, we are putting up a platform on which all the hospitals and insurance companies will be plugged in so that processes become seamless. From the customers’ perspective, they will just walk in and walk out, because everything gets paid on a real-time basis. There is a lot of importance of data interchange in the coming years.

Also Read: 40After40 Expo: We Don’t Need A Crazy Amount Of Money To Be Happy; Make Insurance Cheap, Says Tapan Singhel

Wrong To Exploit A Crisis

During COVID-19, in many places globally, claims did not get paid because COVID-19 was not covered under insurance. But in India, most Covid-related claims got paid. The industry didn’t hesitate to pay around Rs 30,000 crore in health claims. The issue comes in if people try to exploit or benefit from a crisis. Let’s say someone goes to a hospital and the treatment costs Rs 10,000 or Rs 20,000, but you are asked to pay Rs 10 lakh for that. That is where the exploitation starts.

Also Read: Budget 2024-25: Govt May Take Steps To Make NPS More Attractive, Says Deloitte

Digitization Opens Doors For Customisation

Digitisation has opened the doors for customization of products. Now, there’s intense competition with some new-age companies coming in with novel products. In India, there are only 60 companies compared to 6,000 in the US. There’s competition among 60, but I would be delighted if there were 1,000 more companies coming in. Competition is the fuel for excellence, so the more the merrier. Everybody then needs to push to do something good for the customers.

Artificial Intelligence In Insurance

These things are already there. AI-ML or machine learning has huge potential. I mentioned about the huge data that insurers have. When you combine machine learning with data, I can promise you that millions of lives will be saved or will become better. That is how the insurance industry has to connect with the health industry. The normal use case of machine learning as you see today is that if the claims come in, it will scan the documents, figure out the protocols, the genuineness of the claims, etc. These show efficiency in processes, but high impact will be made once that data is used in figuring out illnesses ahead, and starts aiding in solving issues.

Digitization In Claim Settlement Process

There is a perception that claims are a pain point. Publicly available regulatory data shows the insurance industry has the least grievances from customers, in the financial sector. If someone has had a bad experience, I probe deeper to explain why the experience was bad. For example, if your health policy is new and there is a claim for diseases such as heart ailment or cancer, the industry starts thinking that the policy may have been taken after you became aware of the disease. This is not the way a policy works. If that happens, then everyone who falls ill will buy a policy, the policy will pay you, and that way the industry will close down tomorrow.

Read the full interview here.

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