Product launches to not be a key differentiator for insurers: ICICI Lombard ED – The Hindu BusinessLine

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The statement was made at an event to announce the launch of new products by ICICI Lombard General Insurance

The speed of product launches increases as any industry opens up, and that is also being seen in the insurance sector. However, this will not the differentiating factor as insurance companies are instead being assessed on the basis of execution and implementation of these products, according to ICICI Lombard General Insurance Executive Director Sanjeev Mantri.

“Launch of a product will not be a key differentiator here. What you require is technology that supplements these and the infrastructure to implement these on the ground. Our execution is far more differentiated than what others can do, and that’s what separates us,” Mantri said on Friday.

The statement was made at an event to announce the launch of 14 new or enhanced products by ICICI Lombard General Insurance. These include riders/add-ons and upgrades across health, motor, travel and corporate policies offered by the insurer.

Product launches

The insurance industry is seeing new types of risks emerging, be it the pandemic, climate change or data privacy, and these call for comprehensive coverage steered by the changing customer behaviour and the advent of new technological solutions and opportunities, the company said.

Mantri said that launches were enabled and fast-tracked by the IRDAI’s recent guidelines on ‘Use and File’ for insurance products.

“We have a product for virtually every segment and fuelled by regulatory reforms, we have accelerated our pace of developing and launching new products. The current era is an exciting period to usher in innovation and reimagine possibilities,” he said.

Some of the products launched include an insurance cover for senior citizens, a first-of-its-kind cashless OPD policy, a single motor policy for multiple vehicles, an emergency medical cover during accidents, home protection for HNI and ultra HNI customers, and travel insurance for new-age requirements such as adventure sports and VISA rejection.

The insurer also introduced drone insurance, retail cyber liability insurance, and a telematics add-on in motor insurance wherein policyholders will have the option to pay premiums as per ‘Pay-As-You-Use’ or ‘Pay-How-You-Use’ plans.

‘Use and File’ in Insurance

The ‘use and file’ regulatory framework is a critical change from the consumer standpoint as prior to this, the process of filing for new products was tedious and time consuming, Mantri said.

“So they (IRDAI) have transferred the onus from the regulator to the insurance companies,” he said, adding that the regulator will continue to monitor new products in terms of customer complaints and grievances, claims rejections and other aspects.

From being a rule-based regulator, IRDAI is moving toward a more supervisory and monitoring-based role, which has given “tremendous room” to insurance players and will allow for more product innovation, according to Mantri.

“We have been working on these products for a period of time. These regulatory changes have helped fast track what we could achieve, allowed us to lead from the front, and has given freedom to the customers to choose what is right for them,” he said.

He added that earlier, when an insurance company launched a product, there was a teething time before a competitor could launch a similar solution. However, the new norms combined with the role that technology has to play, will facilitate faster execution and implementation, ensuring that all insurers “go through faster transformation”.

Here, multi-line or diversified and large insurers will have an advantage due to more flexibility and as new product categories are being created everyday.

Published on August 27, 2022

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