Revival & Survival: Financially prudent businesses will grow - Subhasis Ghosh

Prepared or not, India has now moved on to the ‘Unlock – 1’ phase as an exit strategy for the two-month long lockdown period. It is definitely a changed world that India is entering now, and we will have to learn to live with the Coronavirus in our midst.

A lot has been written, debated and discussed over how much the economy and business operations have been hit. We, at Adgully, aim to look at the revival story. What does it take to jumpstart an economy? That is the great narrative that we are following up as part of our ‘Revival and Survival’ series.

Subhasis Ghosh, Head – Marketing & Alliances, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Company, highlights the shifts in behaviour and mindset for running businesses in the COVID-19 world and gives his take on the blueprint for economic recovery as India emerges out of the lockdown period.

What does the new normal look like? How much has the COVID-19 crisis disrupted business operations?

New normal will be a complete shift in behaviour and mindset for running businesses. The new normal is “remote working” and “efficiency” – geographical boundaries have collapsed, WFH is the new normal, and monitoring of efficiency of WFH is gaining prominence. ‘Work From Home’ policies are being adopted by organisations. Digitisation will play a pivotal role, where Digital processes, digital selling platforms and digital customer self-service platforms are going to dominate. COVID-19 crisis has forced the businesses to re-look and re-design their processes to be leaner, more transparent and cost efficient. Innovation in product development space is expected.

What should be the blueprint for a post-COVID-19 economy?

The recently introduced fiscal stimulus measures and monetary easing should go a long way in reviving the economic activity. This is a time for the Government to prioritise growth over fiscal prudence. It is also a great opportunity to shift towards digitisation and efficiency – something that was always needed, but this situation has triggered an urgency, and that has to be leveraged well. For instance, more digital processes, digital sales, digital KYC, complete shift to cashless transactions , digital filing of tax and regulatory returns, doing away with physical documents and physical signatures, etc. – we should define new benchmarks for efficiency, that is, productivity and cost. For the next few quarters or years, various consumer sentiment surveys are predicting higher spends on essentials and lower spends on non-essentials – that could end up shaping the supply side accordingly.

What are the 5 key measures needed to ensure a speedy business revival for the Insurance Industry?

Relaxations in the compliance requirements, for example, expense of management regulations; Eliminating/ reducing physical processes mandated by regulation and adoption of efficient digital way of operations; Increasing income tax incentives and attractiveness on life insurance products to improve the rate insurance penetration in India; Ensuring tax parity of insurance with other investment platforms.

How are you strategising for the remaining quarters of this Financial Year 2021?

We will watch how the environment unfolds and business shapes up. Our focus will be on customer requirements, to protect them and continue to ensure their ease and convenience in addition to safety of employees and focus on distributor engagement. We are adapting to the new normal and endeavouring to sustain the pace of business – as we know the need for and awareness of insurance products is higher now than ever before.

How do you visualise the economy and your sector a year later? How much would it have recovered by then?

Much would have changed. Businesses that are able to adapt to the new normal and take proactive measures will thrive. Insurance sector should continue to grow, though the pace of growth of the past few years may be difficult to sustain in the next few quarters. It will be financially prudent businesses that will survive and grow.


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