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Face to Face with Ramchandra Pandit

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Chief Partnership Distribution Officer, DHFL General Insurance Ltd. was previously heading Bancassurance, Brokers, NBFC & Health, at Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co. Ltd., after having handled Head Private Banks & NBFCs and having co-managed corporate business in a total stint at Bajaj Allianz of 10 years. He has an overall experience of over 19 years, of which he has spent over 14 years in the insurance spanning Agency, Alternate Channels, Product Development, Corporate Business and Bancassurance. This follows the initial 5 years of experience in print media at Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Studied MBA in Marketing Management at SIBM (Symbiosis Institute of Business Management) Pune, after completing his graduation in Computer Science from Pune University. Completed and pursuing certifications in Life Insurance from III India, LOMA, ISB Hyderabad, and FALIA Japan. His other interests include chess, music, and automobiles.

(The views are personal)

What are the interesting dynamics of the general insurance space which is attracting new players?

There is enormous macro potential due to the under-penetration of insurance in India. The opportunity to tap into this potential using competitive advantages is attracting new players to the GI space. The insurance sector is growing at a speedy rate of 15-20%. Together with banking services, insurance services add about 7% to the GDP.

But is there enough space?

The general insurance industry as a whole is about 1.2 lakh crore, so massive opportunity for new players. The industry is witnessing a paradigm shift from the regular product based approach. This shift can be attributed to changes in the technological, regulatory and socio-economic-political scenario, which have let insurers to reboot their traditional ways of doing business.

You feel IRDA has sufficient teeth to ensure the financial security of the insurance market?

The balance between regulation and industry is fine. IRDA has done a great job in keeping pace with the times and yet maintaining high standards of regulation. At the same time, it is encouraging insurers to increase business in order to increase overall insurance penetration. Regulatory moves like listing of public sector insurers and allowing reinsurers to set up businesses in India indicate the industry’s thirst for expanded growth and penetration.

How you envision the future of insurance sector in India, especially non-life space?

Given the huge opportunity, there is tremendous scope to create offerings using technology. Better evolved technology and analytics give rise to tailor made solutions for customers. This takes competition to a different plane, way beyond mere price competition. On one hand, there is the experience of the customer buying process and on the other hand, there is the experience of claims. These are areas where insurers can add value by innovation. The future will thus be replete with innovative business methods designed to lure customers who are increasingly discerning and who see the value of such methods.

The disclaimer seeks to tell customers that the onus of buying an insurance policy lies entirely with them. Don’t you think companies shy away from taking responsibility in this guise?

The regulator has dealt with the situation of making insurers own-up their responsibility through regulations and customer awareness campaigns. The insurers in turn have undertaken a slew of measures, including the expected checks and balances. But even beyond that, the insurers have undertaken education of their own sales personnel and that of the customer too. Everybody in the industry knows that a well-informed customer will bode well. Hence, as such, it is neither possible nor advisable for the companies to shy away from taking any responsibility.

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