About two years ago, I received a number of job offer requests from “Insurance” sector. I thought is was interesting, as no other category has been able to move online, other than travel. The believers argued that Insurance was in a similar of evolution as travel and the portal will help consumers “compare” travel policies. The idea was to create a direct channel, that will help eliminate high cost of DSA. I guess the idea was ahead of its time in 2007, interesting model nonetheless.
I’m a non-believer and I still don’t know how many people actually compare insurance policies before buying one. Or we buy policies only to invest. Until I saw my colleague demonstrate an example. My colleague wanted to buy a term policy for his home loan and used one of the comparison sites. Only HDFC StandardLife responded to his query and won his business.
Motor insurance, Health, Travel Insurance and Policy repayment are the easy catchment areas for Insurance category and would be the first ones to migrate (I pay my policy dues online and use the website for contact information).
Complex products are difficult for move completely online. Life Insurance, Endowment etc are best left as features on the website to be compared and most likely to generate a contact and should be followed up by sales representative for demonstration and explanation (this should reduce the irritating calls by the contact center executives)
When I run a search on Google, I get a handful of sites. Importantly, most of these sites, that i come across, are for the first time, hence i don’t know how many people will trust this space. ICICILombard is the only know player and has been putting effort in getting people online (heard their jingle on radio today). Even a 2-3% of the overall marketing spends in the right digital initiative should help build this slow preference and will have gains in the long run.
I guess a trust of digital as a viable business model needs to be firmed up for the senior management and case studies that will help more experimentation.
In the meantime we will have to entertain the annoying calls from the executives, sad!