The insurance industry has seen a huge change in the way it was operating after the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the continuous lockdown for a period of time most of the insurance broking companies haven’t found a way to sustain themselves. The only insurance product which was in demand during the pandemic was health insurance. The other lines of insurance business such as Fire insurance, Liability insurance, Engineering insurance, Motor insurance saw a drop in business share as people were not purchasing these insurance products due to the lockdown and slowdown of the economy.
Coronavirus pandemic has changed the entire mode of operation of the insurance broking industry. Earlier the insurance brokers used to have face to face interactions with the clients, but after the coronavirus pandemic most of the interactions are made online and the customers were a bit reluctant to meet the insurance brokers as the risk of spreading was high.
1)Rise in Health Claims:
The insurance brokers have seen a rise in the number of claims during the coronavirus pandemic period. The insurance brokers were not having enough capacity to handle such a huge volume of claims before the pandemic. After the pandemic the insurance broking companies have designed software to integrate the HRBP portal of the organizations so that the claim settlement and other services are available easily.
The rise in health claims increased the loss ratio of the insurance companies thereby making it difficult for the insurance brokers to negotiate hard on behalf of their clients. Insurance brokers were forced to redesign their way of working after the coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus has created a disturbance in the claim settlement process for the insurance brokers as there is no limit on the treatment bill during the starting stages of coronavirus. Most of the hospitals have not accepted the health cards issued by the insurance companies for cashless hospitalization of coronavirus related treatment. Insurance broking companies have faced a lot of issues in convincing the hospitals to accept the cashless claim settlement requests. Even the insurance regulator IRDA had to intervene and request the hospitals to accept the insurance cards for cashless claim settlement.
The sudden spike in health insurance claims have been handled well by insurance broking with a planned strategy by revamping the entire structure within a short period of time after the lockdown.
2) Portfolio remapping:
Earlier the insurance brokers were heavily dependent on the group health insurance and other commercial insurance products, but with the arrival of pandemic it made situations difficult for the brokers to renew the policies with high claim ratio. This made the brokers rethink their portfolio and make necessary changes in their portfolio to reduce the dependency on few insurance products.
After the onset of the coronavirus pandemic only the group health insurance and retail health insurance were in demand and this trend continued throughout the lockdown period and extended till the second wave. Heavy dependence on group health insurance and retail health insurance reduced the pie of other commercial insurance products. Every insurance product’s sales were in the reverse growth while that of health insurance was growing to the next level. Insurance broking companies were forced to remap their portfolio to adjust the increase in health insurance premium https://www.ethika.co.in/personal-health-insurance/.
3) Work from anywhere adaptation:
The other change that occurred in the insurance broking industry after the pandemic is the adaption of work from anywhere concept. The employees of the insurance broking companies were permitted to work from anywhere as long as their targets were met. To provide this option there had to be many factors taken into consideration such as the security of the company, data breach etc.
The other change experienced by the insurance broker is the Work from home concept which resulted in investment in Cyber security for the company and providing hardware and software support to the employees. Due to the coronavirus pandemic only a few people were allowed to work from the office while the remaining employees were let to work from home. While most of the insurance broking companies found it difficult to adjust immediately to the ever changing environment, insurance broking did the transformation with ease as most of their setup is suitable for hybrid models. The work from home concept gained a lot of traction and insurance broking companies are even reducing their office space and providing full time remote working opportunities for their employees. The work from home concept has even seen an increase in the productivity of employees.
The biggest thing in insurance broking would be the digitization of the process. Artificial intelligence would play a key role in the future where manual work would be reduced to a great extent. For instance, insurance broking has introduced a software which can be integrated with the HRBP portal of any organization to manage their group health insurance policy. Any kind of additions, deletions or endorsements can be done through the portal from the customer’s end without the need to depend on a broker or insurance company. The biggest advantage of digitization is that the service would be available 24*7 & 365 days so that the customer can avail any kind of service even on holidays.
Digitization was an ongoing process before the advent of coronavirus but the pace of digitization sped up after the coronavirus pandemic. All the insurance broking companies invested heavily in the digitization of their day to day operations to decrease the dependency on manual work which requires meeting the client, sending hard copies of insurance policies etc. During the first wave of coronavirus pandemic many companies have invested in the digitization process for a short period of time but after the second wave companies started investing keeping in mind the long term. Insurance broking companies have moved from hard copies to soft copies and have developed applications for interaction with customers. Broking companies have reduced the need to visit the insurance company office for customers with the digitization process and every need can be resolved with the applications available for the customers.