Your Money: Digital payments, e-KYC make buying insurance, filing claims easy during Coronavirus lockdown
By Vaidyanathan Ramani
Key benefits of digitisation for customers, from an insurance point of view, is the convenience of doing it anywhere and the assurance of doing it through a self-service model. Customers can calculate monthly premiums along with the impact these will have on their long-term financial plans sitting at home. customers can use their smartphone to upload a picture of a policy they are looking to renew and almost instantaneously they can get a quote or options for their renewal. They have to then just study these options and pick one that suits them to get the policy issued.
Digital has now also extended its spread to more difficult processes like KYC in the modern world. Today, customers can even avail e-KYC services for availing insurance and banking facilities. This service has thus turned out to be most beneficial in times like these when the entire country is on a lockdown. Most insurers and banking institutions are allowing customers to now increasingly use e-KYC services in order to buy insurance, open bank accounts, transfer money and avail other services.
This is a good move in the long run as the distance between the customer and servicing entity (insurers, banks, etc.,) would cease to be an issue and anyone can get serviced by their chosen entity while being physically present in any part of the country.
As the entire country remains under lockdown with only essential sectors operating, most digital payment platforms have also witnessed a sharp jump in the number of transactions as the use of cash across the country has seen a decline. The way the digital ecosystem has evolved in India, many financial transactions can be done online without the need to visit bank branch, or the office of an insurance company or a mutual fund house. Irdai has asked insurers to extend the renewability period of those policies that are due for renewal in next 30 days. Most insurers are encouraging customers to use digital channels to renew their existing policy or to buy a new one. As per reports, digital payments have witnessed a 30-40 % jump since February, with new users registering with different online payment apps. The digital payment utilities including banks have also contributed to this transformation by reducing or waiving off charges for such digital transactions.
Digital customer services
Most companies are encouraging their existing customers to use digital channels as there has been a surge of such requirements from customers along with scarcity of service personnel at insurance offices. Several insurers also offer services on WhatsApp for simple queries, besides mobile apps and conventional email. One can also make instantaneous changes on policies around contact information, nominee or payment information by simply accessing the policy documents directly on the customer portal and digital platforms.
There is provision to complete the whole claim process in categories like two-wheelers and mobile phones by uploading a picture or video of the damaged asset. Claim payments are then transferred digitally to the customer’s bank accounts. For almost all classes of insurance including life insurance, raising a digital claim intimation/report is availed by many customers today.