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To increase profit, we need to tap existing customer base: Tapan Singhel

Private general insurer Bajaj Allianz General Insurance is looking to build on the products and services to stay ahead in the growth path. Tapan Singhel, MD & CEO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, in an interview with M Saraswathy, talks about this strategy. Excerpts:

Bajaj Allianz has gone for niche products and services, be it all inclusive health insurance or home insurance. Is niche the key focus?

There is a need to have health insurance, home insurance covers, but people do not have it, since they are not informed. The needs of people are changing.

There is also more scope for personal lines of insurance. We want to open virtual offices to give customers service at their doorstep and a distribution that goes to Tier-II/-III cities. The plan is also to have low cost customised products for customers so that expenses and distribution costs are lower.

Relationship beyond insurance is what customer wants. At present, there is too much obsession on incremental improvement is happening now, which has no relevance for customers now. We have services for women customers, where we assist them if there is a tyre burst or if fuel is over in their vehicles at locations such as highways.

General insurance is a space where customers still are not required to provide mandatory Know-Your-Customer (KYC) information. Is this an issue for the industry?

The process to have mandatory KYC has not happened till now. The same customer, who provides their personal details for other products like life insurance and mutual funds, does not do so for general insurance. Atleast some basic identification procedure should be there, so that you can identify a customer.

Further, to increase profitability, there is a need to tap existing customer base. The same customer has more potential to pay. So, each such customer can be tapped for sale of products of other segments like health.

Home insurance as a tax saving instrument is a big proposal for non-life sector. Do you see tax incentives being beneficial?
Home cover is not for tax savings but because you require it. Insurance should be sold as insurance. If I can’t sell the products for what it is, it is a fault of the distribution architecture.

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) is a segment where you have not entered. Will we see any movement on that front?

We somehow could not understand the RSBY segment well and hence have not entered it. We are entering the agriculture segment this year. We would be watching the RSBY space and its pricing and if we feel comfortable with it, we will enter it, maybe next year or so.

Bajaj Allianz General was the first insurers to have an all-women’s branch. Are you expanding in that segment?

The women talent-force is under-utilised. We will open 8-10 more branches in India, since diversity is needed in this business. The growth in the personal lines of business will go up if we can a good line of women agents.

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