Increasing Internet access is prompting more customers to buy non-life insurance products online, says research by ICICI Lombard General Insurance Ltd and Google India carried out across 18 cities.

Of the 3,007 respondents, 24% bought motor insurance online and 12% health insurance.

Both young people (25-35 years) as well as elders (46-55 years) said they were comfortable buying motor insurance online. For health insurance, first-time buyers are more willing to buy and renew policies online. In terms of location, respondents from metros (85%) as well as non-metro cities (82%) are almost equally active online in buying insurance products.

“Our combined study indicates that Internet will influence almost 3,000-4,000 billion worth of insurance sales in India by 2020. The findings clearly outline that consumers are shifting to Internet at a rapid pace. For motor insurance, the growth is coming from non-metros users—search queries on Google from non-metros are growing 43% year-on-year compared with 32% from metros. For health insurance, search behaviour has been consistent across metros and non-metros, with queries growing around 45% year-on-year," said Vikas Agnihotri, industry director, Google India.

The increasing role of mobile Internet is evident from the fact that 85% of respondents said that they researched insurance products on mobile phones while 80% said they did so on a laptop or desktop. More specifically, almost 47% of health insurance and 38% of motor insurance queries come from mobile online platform.

“People buying products online are more long-term oriented. Data reveals that 25% more policy holders buying online opt for family floater policy compared to offline customers. Even in terms of retention, 35% more customers buying health insurance online renew their policy in the second year compared to offline customers," said Sanjay Datta, chief underwriting and claims, ICICI Lombard General Insurance.