Teleconsultations & its scope in Insurance

Insurance is a financial product and that too a difficult one to understand. Although there are a lot of specialized concepts involved in this branch are of finance but there involved is multiple aspects of different subjects like medicine, engineering, law, statistics and other sciences.

Forget about the specialized jobs in the insurance companies like actuaries, underwriters and product developers, even for the simplest and basic insurance products the customers face difficulty to understand and comprehend its nuances in coverages and rates.

There often arise basic and general questions from insurance customers regarding premium calculation, coverages under the policy, policy wordings and claim payment including others. Although there is a set and defined procedure regarding eligibility and training of insurance professionals who can solve customer queries and service insurance policies well, the need to online and teleconsultations in insurance is paramount.

Even more than automated online chat facility generally provided by every insurer, which is not every time able to solve slightly off-beat technical questions, customers prefer more to have a direct interaction telephonically with the customer service team of the insurance company to get their issues resolved.

Insurers arrange to have a good sales pitching team who call customers on lead generation and regularly chase them to convert business but equally important is to build a strong telephone based customer service team that can serve the customer well with their questions and queries and make their life easier. This gives the much needed comfort to customers and client in the terms of a helping hand, which raises the reputation and goodwill level for the insurer.

Nowadays everything is virtual, people are conducting almost every official duty online working from home. In fact in branches like property insurance, insurers are conducting virtual inspections in these tough times where travelling is not that easy. Teleconsultations get a broad scope in this industry as people are getting more and more habituated to this in the current age of corona virus pandemic.

In this article we will discuss the scope and limitations of teleconsultations as an evolving mode to make insurance products and its processes easy and understandable to customers. This we will do keeping besides the sales pitch using the telephone which almost every insurer is doing in the current market.

Claim processing and settlement: Claim intimation currently is available through multiple modes with most of the insurers and most popularly using the internet. Here there provided is an electronic claim form which is to be filled though the web, further the claim status can be easily tracked online and the insured is intimated through email regarding approval or further steps to be taken.

This is not that hard for a tech savvy millennial but for people who are either less exposed to technology or not comfortable with insurance the claim process is a bit difficult. A good teleconsulting session as a hand-holder can be very useful to majority of people for smooth claim filing and processing experience.

Planning for Life Insurance: Agency model has been traditionally very popular in this segment where the insurance agent who is pretty close to the family of the prospect chalks out a life insurance plan and then solicits and closes the business.

But in these tough times where the pandemic and the virus is on the top of the minds of the people, many are not ready to personally meet and greet. This in coming future a major portion of all forms of life insurance, may be investment, term, endowment or pension plans will be solicited and managed through teleconsultations.

Health insurance: Most of the insurers are providing the facilities of wellness benefits with health insurance products which are based on teleconsultations with doctors and medical professionals which may be in the form of second opinion. Many a times, there are other options of telephonic sessions available with different experts like dietician, Yoga expert, nutritionist etc. who can guide the insured to adopt healthy practices and thus avoid health hazards.

These session not only create a product differentiation for the insurance company in a market where all companies are generally offering similar health insurance coverages but also acts as a risk management tool and increases the goodwill of the insurer in eye of the common public.

Endorsements and servicing: Most of the times we see after purchasing the policy the insured has many further requirements like changes, corrections, additions, deletions and other big and small requirements where the insured may find teleconsultations really worthy. When the customer is a big corporate house and there is a broker involved the servicing part is not that cumbersome as the broker must have a dedicated team for it.

But for retail customers especially where there is no agent or intermediary involved for example policy purchased directly through insurers website or through a web aggregator, the facility of teleconsultations are more prominent as the insured here is on his own.

Limitations: There are limitations of teleconsultations as the insured and the representative of the insurer are just connecting through the voices. Another advanced version of teleconsultation is meetings through video conferencing in which both parties can not only hear the voices but see each other and also share their computer screens to share relevant information. This mode of meetings is highly popular nowadays in scenario of work from home and lockdowns and this is to stay here, longtime.

 

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