We are seeing aggressive growth across digital platforms: Anika Agarwal

Max Bupa Health Insurance, one of India’s leading standalone health insurers, is running a 360-degree brand campaign to elucidate that health insurance is the need of the hour amid the global pandemic. The campaign, which includes a TVC and digital film, poses a critical question – ‘Ab nahin khareedoge to kab?’ – implying that health insurance is an absolute necessity and priority for everyone, especially when COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing across the country and medical costs are skyrocketing. Max Bupa’s brand campaign is a call to action for people to invest in Health Insurance now and offers an interesting product proposition to enable affordability and simplicity around the category in such testing times.

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The brand features actor Boman Irani, a trusted voice who is encouraging people to take the right decision, to drive a simple message – ‘This is the most appropriate time to buy health insurance!’

In conversation with Adgully, Anika Agarwal, Director and Head Marketing, Digital and Direct Sales, Max Bupa Health Insurance, provides some insights on the latest brand campaign, growth of the health insurance sector in these challenging times, long term marketing plans and more.

What are the long-term implications of COVID-19 for the insurance industry? How has the growth of health insurance policies been in the last few months? What kind of audience made the enquiry and purchased the policies?

COVID-19 has made an impact across sectors and brought the spotlight on insurers who can expect to be inundated with general inquiries and claims across multiple lines, whether that is for health, life, or non-life cover. As the incidences of COVID-19 witness a steep rise, people have become more concerned about their health and medical expenses. Now, there is a greater realisation about the importance of health insurance to guard against unforeseen medical expenses. Earlier, any inquiry to sale would entail two-three conversations and the product was a discretionary spend, but today we are seeing one conversation is enough for people to decide the product for health cover. We think the demand for health insurance will settle at a new normal compared to the pre-COVID-19 period.

At Max Bupa, we have seen a notable turnaround for the business, and achieved 40% growth in the last quarter, which includes new business and renewals. We are seeing aggressive growth across the digital platforms since the buying of health insurance is now turning digital and our agency channels have also contributed significantly to the business.

We recently conducted a survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the behavioural patterns of people towards Health Insurance. The survey insights show that around 58% people across cities have made enquiries to understand coronavirus coverage in existing and intended health covers. The survey also found that 73% of the respondents are willing to pay more premium in the next 1-2 months to get coverage for COVID-19. The study further highlights that millennials (age group of 27-35) were curious to understand the health coverage for COVID-19 and around 61% of this age group made enquiries for health insurance at an early stage of the disease. This is an interesting trend as millennials otherwise are not serious about health insurance, but are now keen to save medical costs. Similarly, women who are generally not vocal about financial decision making, emerged as strong advocates of health insurance. Around 62% of female respondents queried about the coverage of COVID-19, as against 50% of male respondents.

Further, we have been getting increasing number of queries for health insurance from the metros and Tier 2/3 markets, and the demand is expected to translate into purchase.

Your new tactical campaign ‘Ab nahin khareedoge to kab?’ just got released. What was your key objective for this campaign? And what was the reason for using price as your key driver for this campaign? Why did you go with Boman Irani as the brand ambassador? How long do you plan to run this campaign?

Our campaign ‘Ab nahin khareedoge to kab?’ is a month long 360-degree brand campaign that involves a television commercial and digital film, highlights that health insurance is an absolute necessity and priority for everyone, especially when COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing, and medical costs are skyrocketing. The campaign is a call to action for people to invest in Health Insurance now and prioritise their purchase decision.

The campaign also offers an interesting product proposition for consumers, to enable affordability and simplicity around the category in such testing times. We are offering comprehensive health insurance cover of Rs 30 lakh at a nominal monthly premium of Rs 606. As a trusted health partner, we realise that there is a lot of apprehension and fear amongst people related to jobs, medical expenses, and financial security. Hence, in the current times, our priority is to address the urgency of the situation and support our customers through a price sensitive offer.

We have featured Boman Irani, a trusted and recognised voice, who is encouraging people to drive a simple message that the most appropriate time to buy health insurance is now. The pandemic has made people take their health seriously, but a message of urgency for health insurance was very much needed. We, therefore, felt that to bring about a mind shift to invest in Health Insurance, a personality like Boman Irani would strike a chord with most Indian households.

Your sales network partners are your strong pillars to sell and market your policies. How have you been engaging with them in the last few months and ensuring that their morale is high and updating them on the various schemes and policies?

The well-being of our sales and network partners is our highest priority. We have taken multiple steps to engage them in meaningful ways.

Work from home being the new normal, we are ensuring the safety of our employees and agents, and at the same time maintaining business continuity. We have launched InstaInsure Pro app, which helps our agents to support our customers seamlessly. The app allows the agent to come on board and get all policy details on new and existing customers, thus allowing the agent to assist the customer in an efficient manner.

Today, around 90% of Max Bupa’s business is logged through our digital applications across all traditional channels as well, allowing the seller to virtually explain the policy on video calls, allowing our doctors to do a medical assessment also on phone and issuing the policy to our customers. We have also launched a new-age HRMS platform that is mobile compatible. This unified platform manages our entire employee life cycle. The mobile application enables our people at remote locations to get aligned to business goals and access information on their fingertips.

Customer centricity is the backbone of any financial brand. With social distancing and WFH policies followed, how are the needs of the customer met without any flaw and handled seamlessly?

Customer centricity remains at the core of our business and function. Max Bupa was well-prepared to support its customers with intuitive and smart digital platforms, much before COVID-19 hit the nation. Our claim process is completely digitised, and the reimbursement approval is being provided to customers based on soft copies of bills as we have allowed policyholders to upload the documents online. At Max Bupa, 98% of cashless claims pre-authorisation is being processed in less than 30 minutes. Max Bupa’s chatbot, Cia, is helping customers to renew policies, generate claim status, send policy packs, and tax receipts. The chatbot has the capability to address basic queries around COVID-19 coverage as well.

We also provide e-consultation through which any customer can avail doctor consultation at their homes within 30 minutes. We have partnered with leading psychologists in the country to support customers on emotional wellness.

Your media plan is skewed a lot towards news channels. What has been the media strategy for this campaign? Digital media has accelerated in the last few months and the spends on digital have gone up. What is your digital strategy for the campaign?

The campaign TVC is being amplified through a good mix of different genres of channels, including English and Hindi News, General Entertainment channels, Movies and select Regional channels and also social media platforms. The digital film is also getting promoted across OTT media platforms, multimedia platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and through innovative platforms like Zapr, which enables TV-to-Mobile audience engagement for wider outreach.

Various reports have stated that ever since the lockdown started in the country, consumption of TV and digital medium has significantly increased and is at an all-time high. Hence, the idea is to optimally utilise all the mediums, best suited to deliver the brand message of need for health insurance in current times. Our aim is to reach out to as many people possible across sections to reiterate health insurance purchase in times of COVID-19.

How do you plan to evaluate the performance of the campaign? Have you designed any performance tool to know and understand the effectiveness of the campaign?

Our campaign has been very well received by the audience. Post the campaign, we have seen a significant surge in website traffic and leads. This shows customer interest in the category and preference for the brand.

We have also seen a very sharp increase in inbound calls, which shows prospective customers’ inclination to enquire and buy after seeing the ad.

Another important measure is long term brand awareness, which we intend to further build through this campaign. However, that is measured over a longer period of time.

Do you have plans to introduce any new products in your portfolio as COVID-19 will stay for some time, unless we get an effective vaccine soon to tackle the same?

Max Bupa’s comprehensive hospitalisation plans such as Heartbeat, Health Premia, Health Companion and GoActive cover individuals and family members for hospitalisation due to the Coronavirus like any other condition. As a trusted healthcare partner, Max Bupa was one of the first insurers to pay a reasonable amount towards personal protective equipment (PPR), which are essentials during the COVID-19 treatment.

Besides, Max Bupa is running an InsureCare program, under which it is offering wellness services for customers free of cost. We understand that these are difficult times, hence we are offering services for the physical and emotional wellbeing of our customers, including e-consultation, behavioural counselling, health coaching, assistance for home workout, nutrition counselling, etc.


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