Customer trust, product transparency, quick claim settlement.
With strong bancassurance channel, agency portal, online platform for distribution and rapid rural penetration strategies, USGlC’s business is set to grow faster. While the existing customers are expected to stay with it for being happy to receive excellent services and faster claim settlement, a special focus on selling more motor and health products would push its position up to a new level. Its rapid growth in rural market through PMFBY is also expected to give it newer opportunity to sell other products in rural market.
Universal Sompo General Insurance Company (IJSGI) is India’s first public-private partnership in the non-life insurance sector. While public sector banks. Allahabad Bank and Indian Overseas Bank hold stake of 28.52 % and 18.06 % respectively each. Karnataka Bank holds six cent and Mohit Burman of Dabur Investment Corporation holds 12.81 % in the insurance joint venture. The Japanese partner, Sompo Nipponkoa Ins Inc. is the single biggest slake holder with 34.61 % in company’s capital base of 368.18 Crore.
With three commercial banks as its promoters. it could easily reach Out to the mass market since its without spending too much time on building a distribution network. This impressive Legacy enabled the company to build a solid base in the over-crowded non-life insurance market in 12 years of its business operation and Show itself a fine case of success in public-private non-life insurance partnership The promoter banks collectively render it a delivery channel of over 6000 brick-and-mortar branches all over country, giving USGIC an enviable strength in distribution, In a way, LJSGI heavily depends on the more sustainable bancassurance channel, where from roughly two-thirds of its businesses emerge. The growth potential is still much higher considering roughly 45 million customers of the three banks put together and rising awareness about risk cover among in urban and rural markets.
Today, a large number of its customers generated by its banking partners enjoy specially packaged health care product. This gives immense comfort to them, as they only need to walk into the branch for renewal upon due reminder.
Many of the customers began to buy health product for the first tine in their life after the bank branches began to sell the special healthcare products to their customers. The quality of the business generated by the banks is also since the renewal rate is much higher compared with the business generated by agency force. Last year, more than half of over 1.28 million policies of USGI were sold by its three banking partners, with Allahabad Bank selling over 3.92 lakh, Indian Overseas Bank 2.08 lakh and Karnataka Bank 1.04 lakh policies. It is still the bancassurance channel that has proved to be the most successful distribution channel for insurance penetration and extension of products to the mass market. USGIC, while cashing in on its partner bank’s strength, also has established an attractive model to offer an array of products to customers of its partner banks. It has own branch network across 86 locations.
Beside the bancassurance channel, the broker channel also performed well having shown premium growth of 107.59% last year. With a focused approach on every channel and following key business strategies the company has achieved a growth of 22.50% in the general insurance industry in the financial year 2018-19 which helped it improve its market share of 1.66% in that year compared to 1.53% in the previous year. Now USGIC is one of the fastest growing non-life insurance companies in India. Last year, its gross written premium grew 22.50 % at 2831 crore, while the average growth of the industry was 12.95 0/0. India’s overcrowded non-life insurance business, the company still sees huge growth potential, as major part of the market potential is still untapped. Its strategy of focusing more on rural market, essentially through crop insurance, has enabled it sidestep the tougher competition in the urban market for the time being, though its business in the urban market is also growing. In the last three years, premium income grew three- fold, making it one of the fastest growing non-life insurers in India.
Across the product verticals from individual health policies, personal accident cover, motor insurance, international travel insurance and comprehensive home insurance, USGIC has in its basket over 150 products and over 100 add-ons. The company started its business with a good number of products, showing its capability to develop products, which are suitable for Indian market. In fact, no other Indian non-life insurance company started its business with as wide a number of products as it started with. The process of expanding product lines continued since then. In 2009, it had 48 products, which increased to 93 in 2015. In 2019, its product basket swelled to 152 under three major product verticals such as health, motor, crop and commercial policies. While some are co-branded,
some are standalone.
The products cover risk of business establishments against fire and theft, farmers against loss of their crops and individuals against multiple risks. The basket of products also covers a comprehensive range that specifically addresses the concerns of farming community and rural populace. People in both rural and urban India are increasingly vulnerable to ill-health that leads to an expensive hospitalization that many people are suddenly unable to bear, while farmers and even self-employed ones generally face the risk of crop and live-stocks losses.
USGIC offers suitable products to them through the channel called common service centres (CSC). In fact, the company offers cover through individual health policies, personal accident cover, motor insurance, farmers’ specific challenges like protection of primary assets like tractors, farming equipment, cattle, international travel insurance, comprehensive home insurance cover, etc. For small business, also the company offers risk protection against uncertainties that may impede their business operations. With sufficient wherewithal to penetrate to the interior country-sides, USGIC has built considerable rural business too in the recent years, thanks to its focus on social security packages, weather and crop insurance etc. USGIC had participated in crop insurance scheme during 2018-19 in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, West-Bengal and Karnataka with premium growth of 37.67%. In FY 2018-19, it maintained a market share of 1.66% primarily due to crop insurance premium of 1712.25 crore and also grew business by focusing on other lines of business. USGlC’s customer base is growing rapidly, as the rise in number of policies it issued has shown. Last year, it issued 1,282, 195 policies, covering a total customer base of over 17 million, of which over 298 million were farmers’ coverage under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana Scheme (PMFBY). Last year, more than 60 % of the total business came from crop insurance. Motor business, which constitutes nearly a quarter of the company’s total premium income, grew 8.05%, almost on par with the industry average in the last financial year, one of the toughest years in the recent time.
At the same time, USGIC has remained as a preferred partner of Maruti Suzuki India, showing its edge as the best in class in terms of customer service. USGIC has also been a preferred partner of Suzuki Motor Cycle India, besides having tie up with Honda Cars India. It is the first private insurer to launch travel product through the channel of CSC last year. USGIC looks at newly launched channels by regulator as an opportunity to reach out to the new geographies where the company does not have physical presence to serve customers. Special attention on online channel and premium procured through online and web aggregator channel for motor and health enabled the company to collect a premium of 33.67 crore last year.
The latest initiatives include getting a complete view of a customer relationship including all scheduled and past interactions, such as phone calls, emails, meetings and other activities. It is also making use of artificial intelligence for data analysis, which while cutting fraud claims model to detect fraudulent claims, helps it enhance the quality of business. It is also in the process of integrating business intelligence tools with data warehouse, which will be used for extracting reports, draw insights and reduce dependencies. The analytical tool will also provide insights based on data to increase business decision efficiency. The company depends on the cutting-edge technology for enhancing process efficiencies, better customer satisfaction, cutting the operating cost and turnaround time, besides faster delivery of products and internal management. In fact, its robotic process automation (RPA) will considerably reduce operating costs and considerably increase productivity. Today, it is one of the most efficient insurance companies in India, thanks to the brilliant underwriting culture, robust IT platform and enviable distribution channel. Last year, it posted net profit of 135.54 crore.
A satisfied customer stays with it ever, as the quality of its business shows. Customer satisfaction comes largely through quick response, good policy servicing and hassle-free claim settlements. USGIC always maintains a proactive approach towards quick and transparent settlement of claims. Last year, even when claim count rose by nearly a quarter over the previous year’s level, its claim settlement ratio stood at 100%. In fact, effectively it settled of the claims within three months to enhance customer satisfaction, inching up from the previous year’s performance. People generally look at an insurer, who is reliable and transparent not only in terms of delivering policy documents and reminding them of renewal, but also in claim settlement without hassle. These factors give USGIC an edge over its peers. Happy customers bring more customers to the company. More products can cover wider segment, USGIC makes a flawless calculation.