Digitizing ’em too? Will insurance agents go hungry now?

Remember the good old days when insurance meant LIC and inevitably one of the uncles/cousins happened to be a “beema karamchari”? Even as LIC held its ground, a plethora of insurance companies swept us off our feet with their sleek advertising and customer orientation. What the heck? Even Sachin [read Tendulkar] was buying insurance. The insurance agents were being wooed and spoilt for choice. [What] To sell or not to sell? that was very much the question. But we hear that a new wave is set to upsurge the insurance landscape yet again. The digital wave!

When I was working on my book on blogging a couple of years ago, I had to dig down real hard to get some examples of insurance companies which were experimenting with online marketing/ branding. All I could come up with were some stray examples like the not so sophisticated network of INGLife- “Pickuradvisor”  and their Asia Pac blog.

What I hear now is that Insurance companies worldwide are likely to invest USD 84 million (about Rs 400 crore) over the next three years to market themselves over mobiles and the Internet. According to a survey by IT consultancy Accenture of senior executives at 125 major insurance companies around the world, “insurers would increasingly shift investment priorities to mobile technologies, digital marketing, including social media such as Facebook and channel integration over the next three years.”

Interestingly, I landed on Naukri.com’s venture in insurance , a platform which claims to make “makes buying insurance easy”. They operate by submitting user requirements to all the leading insurance companies to find their best prices and plans for you.


Naukri.com’s foray into insurance

It is interesting how the insurance industry is trying to catch the pulse of the nation by chasing it online. What I am interested in knowing though, is how the agent mafia will be affected by this in-thing!

Digitizing India!

A recent article published by the Times of India on the digitization of Indian police opened up a very interesting area of analysis. The article says that “The digitization of FIRs and all complaints is just the more public face of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), a massive modernization drive meant to take Indian police into the IT era”

The adoption of technology has led to a massive transformation in the operations and marketing of Indian railways already. According to reports, even Doordarshan, India’s public sector broadcaster, has set aside an amount of Rs. 1209 crore of a total approved outlay of Rs. 1369 crores, just for digitization, as per the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012).

The challenge, however, is not the implementation aka digitization of public sector and state organizations but the successful execution and sustainable innovation that any such drive requires. And that requires a massive shift in mindset, to an extent, a sort of modernization of the public sector ethos. Now how prepared we are for that, remains to be answered…