The COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes in the business environment for all industries, including that of life insurance. The new environment due to the lockdown restrictions meant fewer or no face-to-face meetings, and one would think that insurance agents may also be impacted due to the pandemic. To ensure their agents had a sustained income stream, and stayed in touch with their customers, throughout the pandemic times, Bajaj Allianz Life, one of India’s leading private life insurers, took several measures. These included products to meet customers’ needs, digital assets to help agents do their business efficiently, and training sessions that ensured agents were able to move ahead in the new business environment, successfully. The company rapidly adopted digital tools, and strengthened its processes to ensure customers’ life goals remained on track.
Sameer Joshi, Chief Agency Officer, Bajaj Allianz Life, said, “The pandemic continues to be a test of agility, determination and of being responsive for businesses and life insurance agents alike. We have been able to strengthen our relationship with our agents over the last 9-10 months by continuously being there for them. They are one of our biggest stakeholders representing us to our customers, and we remain grateful to them for their dedication and hard work in these unexpected times. We ensured we supported them to stay in touch with their customers, have the right products to help their customers, and more importantly, be prepared in every way to operate and succeed in the new business environment. I’m confident, as Bajaj Allianz Life moves ahead in these tough times marking our few successes, we will always ensure our teams, including our agents, are taken care of, and are able to meet their life and business goals with us.”
BAJAJ ALLIANZ LIFE’S BUSINESS UPDATE (Up to December 2020)
As the pandemic struck the nation, the private life insurer took several measures to keep their employees safe, and be effective as they started to work from home. Simultaneously, the Company also strengthened its technology back-bone, and introduced many innovative digital tools for customers’, agents and partners. These systematic interventions helped the company offer customers’ products they needed the most, in a manner they needed, as well as continue to pay the renewals of their existing policies.
The company’s focus on customers’ needs, and meeting the needs of their agents and sales force throughout the tough times helped the company become the fastest growing life insurer in December 2020 with 41% growth in Retail New Business, as compared to December 2019. The company also had a 36% growth in number of policies, which was the highest in the industry for the 9 month period ended 31 December, 2020.
In Maharashtra, Bajaj Allianz Life continued to show positive trends.
BAJAJ ALLIANZ LIFE AGENCY BUSINESS
Insurance Agents continue to remain the strong force that stays in touch with customers from all across India on behalf of any life insurance company. Customers like to meet them to pay renewals, get life goals consultancy and most essentially get their help to purchase life insurance. However, with the pandemic, several things changed. Bajaj Allianz Life recognized the changing business environment, evolution of the digital customer and most essentially the needs of their Agents, and offered many solutions to the Agents that would help them stay connected with their customers, and sustain their income stream.
The Company has over 1 lakh Agents including POSPs across India, who have written 99,000+ policies and garnered INR 3,333 Cr gross written premium for the financial year ended 31 December, 2020. Bajaj Allianz Life’s Agency channel was among the fastest growing Agency channel with 23% growth in December 2020 as compared to December 2019. It added over 3,000 agents in December 2020.
KEY INITIATIVES BY BAJAJ ALLIANZ LIFE FOR THEIR AGENTS
- Strong product portfolio: As the COVID-19 situation developed in the nation, risk perception amongst customers’ increased, and there was an increased need for term plans. Furthermore, customers were looking for products offering guaranteed returns to secure future income. Finally, as Indian markets revived, customers needed safe and secure investment tools to invest in the markets.
- The company ensured its value packed insurance plans – Bajaj Allianz Life Smart Protect Goal; Bajaj Allianz Life Guaranteed Income Goal, and Bajaj Allianz Life Flexi Income Goal, amongst others, were easy to purchase or explain.
- Digital Tools: The new business environment meant that customers, as well as businesses were moving faster towards using digital tools to pay or service their products. Also, face-to-face meetings were lesser, and customers preferred to stay at home. Bajaj Allianz Life introduced many digital tools, especially designed for their agents, to empower them with information & knowledge, to make e-meetings simpler so that agents can continue to explain about the products to customers, as well as tools that helped the agents do business better. Some of them are mentioned below. All these are available to the agents on their mobile phones, and are just a click away.
- Smart Assist: Tool to meet virtually without meeting face-to-face (Bina Mile Milkar)
- Quick Quote: Create and share quotations with prospect customers on WhatsApp in less than 30 seconds
- InstaLearn: Digital learning platform with certifications
- iSmart: Self servicing application for IC – all needs of IC at one place
- eSampark: Tool to personalize and share marketing collaterals with prospects, through Digital platforms
- Continuous training: Bajaj Allianz Life started with systematic training choreographies to ensure their agents from across the country were being helped to operate in the changing business environment. Right from how to approach customers in the digital environment (like making video calls) to making them aware on the kind of assistance customers may need, to giving sound life insurance advisory or using new-age digital tools to engage with customers, the Company ensured their agents were well empowered with knowledge and information. This ensured that the total number of users on InstaLearn increased almost two-folds in 2020 as compared to 2019; and the total time spent (Hrs) increased more than 3 folds in 2020 vs. 2019
SUSTAINED INCOME FOR AGENTS DURING PANDEMIC TIMES
Bajaj Allianz Life’s Agents, pan-India were able to leverage the digital assets provided by the company to stay connected with their customers through the pandemic times. Agents were able to secure several individual’s life goals through the products offered as well. This also enabled the Agents to have higher productivity in terms of Sum Assured at Risk, which was marked at ~185% (YTD 31 December, 2020).