Sales of health insurance products up 60% since lockdown began: Sharat Dhall
Policybzaar.com is India’s largest insurance marketplace and a leading insur-tech brand globally. It is the flagship brand of Policybazaar.com Group of companies that owns fintech brand Paisabazaar.com, b2b venture, ZPhin.com, and lending & insurance marketplace in the UAE region, Policybazaar.ae. Policybazaar.com started with the purpose to educate people on insurance products and has had a significant influence on how insurance is bought in India.
It has helped in driving penetration of pure life insurance, health insurance, and such products which were barely bought earlier. Currently, Policybazaar.com accounts for nearly 25% of India’s life cover, and over 10% of India’s retail health business. It accounts for roughly half of all Internet-based insurance purchases in the country and is more than doubling annually.
To find out more on how the online insurance business is growing and how Policybazaar as a brand is planning their marketing and communication strategy in the new normal, Adgully spoke to Sharat Dhall, COO, Policybazaar.com.
IPL has just concluded and many brands have leveraged IPL, especially the start-ups. What kind of investments did Policybazaar make in IPL this season and are you satisfied with the final ROI? Will you be present in next year’s IPL as well?
This is the second season in a row where we have made a sizeable investment in the IPL. We timed the launch of a new campaign, ‘#PolicybazaarAapKiSideHai’ featuring our brand ambassador Akshay Kumar, with the beginning of the IPL season. Cricket in India invariably drives high viewership and if you look at the BARC ratings for the IPL this year, it becomes clear that it is an event that is unmissable for advertisers.
With regards to being a part of IPL next year, we will be open to advertising, but cost is definitely a factor and the ROI should work for us.
IPL gave that high intense audience engagement. Post-IPL how do you plan to keep your audience engaged? Are you going to explore the India-Australia cricket series to stay top of mind with your audience?
While we advertise almost all around the year, the period from now till the end of the financial year is considered as the peak season for the Insurance industry, and we will be on air consistently through this time frame to capitalise on the opportunity.
Decisions on advertising during the India-Australia series and other upcoming series will be taken basis the value that we think the property offers. If it is priced reasonably, we will definitely be interested.
The pandemic has caused a significant shift in consumer behaviour. Did you notice a surge in the people searching and buying policies online? What kind of insurance covers are the customers looking for while browsing online?
In the last few months, there has been a significant shift in consumer buying patterns and we actually think that Insurance is rapidly becoming a pull product from a push product that it has been all these years. The Indian consumer is realising the value of securing their and their family’s future by buying term and health insurance.
The pandemic has also definitely accelerated the shift towards buying insurance online. Since the lockdown was implemented, there has been a 60% increase in sales of health insurance products, while term life business has witnessed a surge in demand by 40%. What we see is customers spending much more time on the website than ever before and conversions also going up. Clearly, Indians are realising the importance of protection products and are making much more informed decisions, showcasing their priority to be securing the health and lives of themselves and their loved ones.
Where is the growth coming for Policybazaar in terms of markets? Are smaller towns looking at Insurance policy covers in a big way? Are there any promotional efforts being undertaken to tap the smaller markets?
The Policybazaar brand has strength across the length and breadth of the country, and while the bigger cities have led the demand in terms of volume, we have seen very rapid growth from the smaller towns, albeit on a smaller base.
We see TV as a medium with very cost effective reach down the pop-strata and will continue to invest to maximise the demand potential from these markets.
What has been your overall communication strategy for Policybazaar during these times and how have you positioned your brand to gain traction? What has been the role of PR and Advertising for the brand?
We have been consistently investing in increasing the awareness around the importance of health and term insurance. The pandemic has definitely been a factor in nudging people into realising the importance of insurance for securing their futures.
We are also promoting Policybazaar as a platform which offers a wide variety of choices from many insurance companies, and as the default destination to compare all the available options in terms of features and benefits, before buying insurance.
We have also launched a host of Customer Education programs, including Webinars, Short Videos & Social Media posts to help the consumers understand the products that they are buying or ask us any questions they have around insurance. We believe that users need to understand the core of the product they are intending to buy to reduce any post purchase dissonance.
What is going to be your overall media strategy for the next 6 months and your future campaigns? Digital has accelerated and is a key medium for customer engagement, how have you leveraged digital to engage with your audiences?
We are always on as far as digital advertising is concerned, both search as well as video and display. We use TV advertising to help be top of mind of consumers, while also being there via digital advertising when the consumer is actually actively searching for an insurance product. We increased our ad spends on TV by 30% and on digital by 15%.
Along with this, we are doing a wide variety of digital initiatives like webinars, educative videos, as well as working with social Influencers to educate and engage with our target audience.