WhatsApp, the messaging app, is set to launch pilot schemes for insurance in India – the company is waiting on approval from the central bank to launch payment services through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) channel, but Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India, noted that the app has already run service delivery pilots with lenders such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.
“Over the next year and a half, WhatsApp will be supporting multiple pilots to test potential solutions to solve these distribution problems. These pilots will be done jointly with our partners, as well as innovative tech partners in each vertical,” Bose said. “Our ultimate goal is for every Indian to have a micro-pension and insurance from one of our partners,” he said.
Bose added that the solutions will come from WhatsApp India’s partners (namely banks, financial service companies, and their FinTech partners). “We will take risks, but we will do it through controlled models and based on user acceptance, we will invest and scale the solutions that deliver results,” Bose said.
This latest development follows a string of other similar instances of corporations extending their reach into the Indian insurance sector – Amazon, for example recently began offering insurance for two- and four-wheeler vehicles in the country – and it’s no doubt related to the surge in demand for insurance coverage among India’s middle class, as reported by the Financial Express. And, as a recent study by Accenture highlighted, while the Indian insurance industry is not new to changing consumer preferences, ‘the push towards digital stands apart from all these changes in terms if the size and speed of the change’.
Furthermore, a recent survey by stockbroking firm YES Securities detailed that India’s insurance market is witnessing a rise in competition, making customer retention more important in insurers’ distribution strategies. As such, the ‘digital push’ currently underway in India will give those quick to the mark an ample opportunity for repositioning themselves in front of the consumer – and they’ll be all the more better off for it.