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article imageIndia is leading the way with digital insurance services

By Tim Sandle     Feb 20, 2019 in Business
India is rapidly developing into one of the world’s powerhouses for insurance, and much of this growth is fostered by insurtech startups and the offering of digital services. The country’s insurance industry is ripe for innovation and disruption.
In India the insurance industry has undergone several structural changes including embracing more advanced technologies like artificial intelligence/machine learning, together with bots, the Internet of Things and big data analytics.
These digital transformation initiatives have been adopted by established insurance companies like Oriental, New India Assurance, LIC Of India, IFFCO TOKIO and ICICI Prudential. However, these firms remain vulnerable to losing some of the competitive space to startups.
According to analysis by Brink Asia, these changes have been aided by a shifting economic landscape and government policies that have liberalized the insurance sector and encourage technological innovation.
For example the National Health Protection Scheme under Ayushman Bharat has provided coverage to more than 100 million vulnerable families; the crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, which aided 47.9 million farmers in 2017-18; and the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, a life insurance policy initiated by the central government to offer a life insurance policy to those who previously had no access to such services.
Each of these initiatives has created opportunities for new companies, with greater insurance penetration, and opening up more of the insurance space to startups. Examples include PolicyBazaar (an online PolicyBazaar website) and Paytm life insurance, both of which are now classed as unicorns. Paytm provides a cloud-based store suite for a range of business products, including insurance and the ability to pay all financial bills in one place.
Other examples include ET Insure, launched by the owners of The Times Of India. In order to use online services to offer lower rates for vehicle insurance; and Coverfox, which is a website comparator offering bike, car, travel, health and life insurance.
As well as home-grown and locally funded startups, major companies are also investing. An example is Capgemini Group which has begun co-innovating with several technology companies and startups, including insurtech specialists.
The potential for digital-led growth in India’s insurance sector is captured in a new report, issued in February 2019, titled “India's Trillion Dollar Digital Opportunity”. The report was released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The report was completed in collaboration with McKinsey & Company.
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