Probus Insurance is a leading online insurance broking firm that offers a large number of insurance products across non-life and life insurance categories. Rakesh Goyal, Director, Probus Insurance, spoke to BE’s Aritra Mitra.
Q. What is the condition of the Indian insurance sector as compared to developed countries?
A. Insurance penetration in developing and developed countries is different. There are differences in the structure of insurance plans, coverage, and the terms and conditions attached to such plans. For instance, when we talk about health insurance in the US, American citizens are well aware of the need to have a health plan as the medical cost is high and unaffordable.
In India, we need to put more emphasis on creating awareness regarding the importance of having health insurance as we are witnessing a high rate of annual medical inflation. There is a huge section of the Indian population that is living without health insurance. Ayushman Bharat is an excellent initiative aimed at providing health plans to 50 crore poor people in India. However, itʼs not enough to ensure that every individual is covered. Those who are not eligible for the insurance scheme and do not have a health plan will remain uncovered.
Not all employers in India provide health coverage to their employees, and even if they do, most employers cover them under a group plan, whereas in the US, employers sponsor health cover plans to cover their employees that often cover their family members as well. Moreover, health insurance plans in the US cover even a visit to a doctor for a viral infection and fever but in case of India, health insurance covers only hospitalisation costs and pre and post-hospitalisation charges.
Q. Do you think that more penetration of private players will be helpful?
A. It will improve the sector’s growth trajectory. The insurance penetration in India is still quite low compared to developed countries. With new private players and 100% FDI in the sector, we will see a rise in insurance awareness and growth. According to a recent report, the overall insurance industry is expected to reach $280 billion by 2020. The life insurance industry in the country is expected to grow by 15% annually for the next three to five years and digitalisation is going to play an important role.
Q. Among the general insurance schemes, which schemes are attracting more customers and why?
A. Motor insurance has always held an upper hand as it is mandatory in India. Moreover, the recent introduction of hefty fines in case of vehicle insurance violations in accordance with the new Motor Vehicles Act has pushed up motor insurance renewal figures.
We have also seen a growth in personal accident cover and health insurance. Due to the annual medical inflation and rising insurance awareness through digital media, people are getting more aware regarding the need of a health insurance plan. The health insurance market is increasingly looking for affordable and easy schemes to buy health insurance plans which will fulfil their needs in case of medical emergencies.
Q. What is the condition of the car insurance segment with the automobile industry in a slowdown?
A. Yes, there is a slowdown in buying insurance policies for new vehicles. We have seen a drop in new motor policy insurance numbers. However, with the recent amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act 2019, we have seen a 200% increase in private and commercial motor insurance renewals in the first week of September. There’s a lot more demand for car insurance renewal, and in fact, we have seen an average of 70% increase in the lapsed private and commercial car insurance policy renewals.
Q. Tell us about the marketing policy of your company and your current outreach.
A. Our distribution model is entirely online. A visitor on our site can directly choose the desired insurance product and fill up the few essential details to fetch quotes from different insurance companies. Once the quotes are fetched, it is displayed in a format that is easy to compare various plans and premiums. To get more customers, our digital team is working on incorporating more Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques.