“The pandemic has proven to be the biggest advertisement for the insurance industry”

The Health Insurance industry is growing faster than overall general insurance. While the insurance category is buzzing with activities, the competition and the pandemic have made the insurance companies shift gears. With the digital transformation, many insurance companies have quickly adapted to new technology and are today more agile and quick in their responses. New ways of reaching the audience like influencer engagement and celebrity endorsement have been today recognised as an effective marketing tool that helps to create a positive impact on the brand image and help companies and brands precisely target their audiences .

With trust becoming a most important factor in the insurance business, marketers are today boarding seasoned professionals who have a good expertise and are advising customers on insurance buying decisions.

Backed by the trusted advisors and new technologies, the insurance penetration is likely to increase and reach the Tier 2 and 3 towns and will also boost the customer service operations, which are crucial in the financial service business.

In conversation with Adgully, Sapna Desai, Head of Marketing & E-Commerce, ManipalCigna Health Insurance Company Ltdspeaks about how they navigated during the tough times and how they have also adapted to the changing times through innovation and technology. She further adds that ManipalCigna Health Insurance stands committed to champion affordable, predictable, and simple health insurance products and services to address the opportunities and remain agile to customers’ evolving needs.

Post the pandemic, how is health insurance progressing? Have you noticed any behaviorial changes in buying health insurance policies? How is ManipalCigna strategising to stay top of mind in a cluttered market?

The pandemic has proven to be the biggest advertisement for the insurance industry. It has pushed the demand for health insurance. The demand for insurance related products went up significantly in the last two years and has been driving expansion in the health insurance sector. Today, people are looking for value based high sum insured and complete healthcare insurance plan to cater to the problem of ever increasing medical inflation. The intensity of the pandemic has changed the customer perception about the health insurance – from priority to necessity. In order to safeguard the security and wellbeing of oneself, a large chunk of potential customers are now getting not just a health insurance, but a complete health insurance plan.

Further, healthcare expenditures in India are largely out-of-pocket (OOP). Regular doctor consultation, diagnostic tests and pharmacy account for almost 65% of the total healthcare spending. Hence, we at ManipalCigna believe in constantly innovating our product line. Recently , we have introduced a revolutionary product – ‘ManipalCigna Pro Health Prime’ – to take a step further in our commitment. The product offers Cashless OPD proposition via digitally enabled, unique App to help our customers reduce the burden of out-of-pocket spending at just a click of a button. It also comes with revolutionary features like Switch On – Switch Off that allows customers to switch off the cover while travelling abroad from 2nd year onwards, for a maximum period of 30 days in a policy year and most importantly the plan covers all hospitalisation expenses whether medical or non-medical to take care of everyday healthcare needs, so that customers get Better Coverage, Better Control and Better Care in tru e sense without any financial worries.

At ManipalCigna, every day we ask ourselves what more we can do to be a force for positive change – both inside and outside our company. Thus, to ensure the health and wellbeing of our customers and their families, we stand committed to champion affordable, predictable, and simple health insurance products and services to meet the specific needs of different customer segments. Also, as we have seen the pandemic has spotlighted the need for healthcare financing, and it has accelerated trends that are reshaping the health insurance landscape. As such , there are a number of areas that we will continue to lean into in the year ahead, through all aspects of offerings – product, service and communication, which we believe will make a difference to millions of people we are privileged to serve.

Digital transformation has made everyone switch gears and stay connected with your audiences continuously. What has been your social media strategy, especially for influencer marketing which everyone is pushing?

Social media has completely transformed the way we communicate, socialise or promote our product proposition. The large chunk of population is now following the various influencers across the platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It has also helped users to stay connected and be cognizant of the new trends. These influencers are known for creating quirky, easy to consume and informative content.

These influencers have huge loyal customer base and we understand that influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to expand customer reach, promote products, strengthen brand recall and create a thought leadership stance. At ManipalCigna, we have also leveraged India’s top finance influencers such as CA Rachana Ranade, Pranjal Kamra, Ankur Warikoo, Sayali Rai and Niyati Thaker, among others, who are popular on social media platforms to talk about our health plans, features, benefits and to get the message across to consumers in an engaging visual format about the importance of Health Insurance. The digital campaigns with the influencers through Instagram Stories, YouTube Shorts, Blogs, etc., have led to brand and product awareness and benefited customers to choose a better health insurance product for their families.

We at ManipalCigna, think of influencer marketing as a key tool to drive the behaviorial change needed to create more awareness health insurance, about our brand and our products. Influencers can help us reach potential customers and help educate them on ways to keep their families financially safe from the increasing healthcare incidences and cost.

How has influencer marketing worked for you and what are some of the challenges that you have faced? How do you go about empaneling your influencers to get the maximum mileage and ROI?

The influencer marketing sector is expanding exponentially as a result of rising content consumption and the popularity of social media sites like Instagram and YouTube. Influencers can be a brand’s greatest advantage in this situation if chosen carefully and leveraged expertly.

ManipalCigna’s association with influencers gave us an idea about the audience’s perception of our products and how we fare among our peers. The millennials and GenZ are more available on digital than on TV and resonate better with influencers’ opinions and views. Hence, the challenge for us was to get in the right influencers on board to talk about our health plans. Also, health insurance is still highly underpenetrated category. So, we identified our brand’s niche and goals, and reached out to the specific set of financial influencers after understanding their reach, type of content they create, and the audience to get the maximum output.

One of the biggest challenges in insurance is lack of knowledge. What steps have you taken to educate your audience in your sector and have you seen any tangible results?

People are now more aware about the basic health plans as compared to the pre-pandemic phase. However, the financial literacy remains quite low across some of the Tier 2 and 3 cities. Internet connectivity has played an important role in connecting with the population across underpenetrated markets.

ManipalCigna used this opportunity to connect with larger population present across semi-urban and rural areas to help them understand the importance of insurance and simplify these insurance jargons through our social media channels.

Keeping in mind the attention span of users, we at ManipalCigna are making the most of short format videos to explain complex terms related to health insurance in an easy way. We have also witnessed a high engagement level on some of our informative posts/videos.

How have you leveraged technology to boost your performance and productivity? Do AI and ML help you in reaching and targeting the right audience to consider your brand?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are disrupting the financial space and have enhanced the customer on-boarding and servicing experience. The pandemic also highlighted the importance for businesses to be future-ready to enable a transformative customer experience. Amid the pandemic, agents and other distribution teams had to upskill and adopt digital methods of marketing, sales and service. While in the insurance industry, technology and digitisation have always existed, but with advances such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (MI) and Blockchain technology, there is potential to disrupt customer on-boarding and servicing.

The right use of these technologies help us to reach the target potential customers across the markets. These constructive steps towards modification will promote uniformity, keeping special focus on customers. The new technologies will help boost insurance penetration and enhance customer experience.

How is the outlook looking for this year and what kind of growth is expected in the category and for ManipalCigna?

The Health Insurance industry is growing faster than overall general insurance industry. Further, under-insured and uninsured is a huge opportunity for growth and thus, going forward we do see an increase in both need and demand for health insurance products and services. We, at ManipalCigna Health Insurance, stand committed to champion affordable, predictable, and simple health insurance products and services to address the opportunities, remain agile to our customers evolving needs and expand our market opportunity.

Leave a Comment