Online insurance products aggregator Policybazaar.com, which recently raised almost 300 crore, plans to go beyond selling insurance policies online to providing value-added support services, mainly through a mobile app, in a bid to improve customer stickiness and increase revenues, said a top executive of the company.

“So far our focus was more on sales. Now our focus will be more on services and claims. This will be primarily through our mobile app and we are investing a lot there," said Yashish Dahiya, co-founder and chief executive at Policybazaar.

On the services side, the firm is adding features on its mobile app that will help customers with health insurance, to book appointments for health check-ups, or call for a home visit. The app also reduces the hassle of managing physical documents as customers can upload scanned copies of documents.

Policybazaar is also working on simplifying the insurance claims process. Customers in need of claim service can access it through the app. “Suppose your car has an accident. All you need to do is press a button and the nearest garage gets informed, road-side assistance gets triggered, the insurance company is informed," said Dahiya.

The focus on better services and claims is expected to bring more repeat customers, thereby increasing revenues. “Today, people prefer Policybazaar for comparing policies, but a lot of customers feel that agents might be able to give better claims service. Our strategic focus is to change that," said Dahiya.

Policybazaar’s latest round of funding came from investors such as Tiger Global, Steadview Capital and Premji Invest.

In 2014-2015, Policybazaar reported revenues of around 78 crore, compared to 40 crore the previous year, Dahiya said.

The firm sees 47,000 transactions a month on its platform, with health insurance and term policies contributing to almost 50% of the firm’s revenues, he said.

Policybazaar has till date raised 410 crore and is planning to use the funds to improve its technology platform. It also plans to spend around 120 crore on its brand-building exercise this financial year. “This will be mostly through television and outdoor advertisements. The focus will to educate customers to buy the right products," said Dahiya, adding that the advertising spend this year would be almost six times more than what the company spent in the last financial year.

A lot of investment will also go towards technology, Dahiya said. The firm has a team of almost 170 people working on its tech platform and it is looking at investing more to make the platform more efficient and easier to use for customers.

The firm is also working on another initiative called Policycircle, a marketplace where customers looking to buy insurance policies can get in touch with agents. “Many customers who visit our website prefer to speak to a person on the ground when buying the policy. This platform will help connect such customers to agents. Currently, we are testing it and we have around 1,000 agents on it," said Dahiya.

According to Khushroo Panthaky, partner at auditing firm Walker Chandiok and Co. Llp, the online channel is seeing momentum but it will take time to pick up as people still prefer to buy financial products, especially personal ones such life insurance, through intermediaries such as agents.

The biggest challenge for online financial product aggregators will be to replicate the relationship of trust that people have with agents they have been dealing with, Panthaky said.

Close