Offline channels prevail for most traditional players, while Gen Z and millennials increasingly favour online platforms in the digital landscape.
The traditional landscape of the insurance industry, predominantly anchored in offline channels, has undergone a remarkable transformation with the advent of digitisation. Amidst this evolving landscape, one company, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited, a well-known name in the Indian general insurance sector, is taking the forefront of this digital transformation.
The brand just launched an ad campaign for its IL TakeCare App, demonstrating its commitment to leveraging technology for simplifying and enhancing insurance accessibility for everyone. Notably, the app has already amassed 5.6 million downloads.
Sheena Kapoor, head – marketing, corporate communication, and CSR, ICICI Lombard says, “A major part of our user base are customers at large and not just our existing policyholders. We have expanded our continuum of care and created a platform that stands for well-being and protection and is not merely transactional in nature for buying, renewing, and claiming settlements. We are constantly innovating and adding features to the app –like FaceScan that enables tracking your health vitals, 24x7 doctor consultations, dieticians or consultations with mental health experts, pharmacy services, water reminders, step-up challenges, ambulance services, and more. The central idea of the IL TakeCare App being ‘out of this world’.”
Unlike popular, utilitarian, or entertainment-focused apps like Swiggy, Zomato, Netflix, or Amazon, an insurance app may not seem like an everyday necessity.
However, the IL TakeCare app also offers users a comprehensive suite of health management tools. It provides a health dashboard for tracking fitness activities, health parameters, and wellness goals. Users can consult with doctors online, schedule health check-ups, and perform FaceScan to monitor vitals. The app offers exercise routines and health tips. It also offers emergency assistance, access to policy details, and insurance-related services.
Kapoor says that the app transcends the traditional boundaries of insurance, evolving into a comprehensive wellness and well-being app. Consequently, whether you hold an ICICI Lombard policy or not, you have access to a wealth of healthcare services and resources.
The digital-led campaign has a master film and 4 shorties, and the tonality is quirky and funny with two central characters: a base scientist and an astronaut on Mars. The films depict an astronaut leveraging the app while exploring Mars on a mission, all the while relying on the IL TakeCare App to stay healthy with the click of a button. Through this extra-terrestrial storyscape, ICICI Lombard hopes to demonstrate how the app can provide customers with innovative and relevant features for a healthy life.
Ogilvy designed the campaign with the tagline ‘Ye app out of this world hai’.
"Our campaigns have consistently received awards, and my team and I, along with our agency, take pride in that accomplishment. As for the IL TakeCare campaign, it did great. During the campaign, we saw a 30% increase in people downloading the app.”
The brand recently introduced another digital-driven campaign called 'Anywhere Cashless.' With rising medical costs, health insurance has become essential for safeguarding our financial stability. However, navigating complex claim processes and expenses during times of need can be overwhelming. In response to these challenges, the campaign highlights the brand's innovative solution, 'Anywhere Cashless,' which simplifies the health insurance experience.
Speaking about media spends, Kapoor says, “We have a smaller budget compared to some of our digital competitors who have substantial funding from venture capitalists. However, around 30% of our total budget goes into our media spending.”
Apart from the launch of digitally-led campaigns the brand has also released a new research report called "Digital Adoption & Customer Views on General Insurance in 2023."
This study involved people aged 25 to 55 from big cities and smaller towns. Its goal was to understand how people are using digital technology and what they think about insurance.
As per the report, “53% of people know they can buy insurance online. But when it comes to health insurance, even more people (58%) are aware they can buy it online compared to motor insurance (50%).”
It further highlights that ICICI Lombard’s digital channel receives an overwhelming customer satisfaction rate, with more than 90% of its customers expressing their satisfaction.
Female customers show a higher incidence of using mobile apps for purchasing policies, with 35% of them opting for this method. Furthermore, the research report reveals that a greater proportion of women have used online platforms for opening accounts, whereas men display a stronger preference for making online payments, with 45% of them choosing this option.
In the realm of general insurance, mobile apps are the preferred online channel for policy-related activities, with 59% of customers favouring them. WhatsApp closely competes with websites as a favoured medium for online general insurance activities. However, among individuals aged 45 and above, WhatsApp (37%) and social media (25%) are less preferred options.
Kapoor says, “In the digital landscape, we observe a significant trend, particularly among Gen Z and millennials who naturally lean towards online platforms. Many customers start their insurance journey online, even if they don't make a purchase right away. This follows the classic marketing principle of moving from awareness to interest, desire, and action. The initial steps involve research, where people compare policies, prices, and features. Some even watch YouTube testimonials and read product reviews to gauge customer experiences.”
She adds, “In the insurance industry, there are newer, digitally-focused players for whom more than 90% of their business comes from online channels. However, for the majority of traditional industry players, both private and public, offline channels remain dominant. On the other hand, the travel industry sees a substantial 70% of its business happening through digital channels.”
Current advertising landscape
Advertising within the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) sector, a company needs to adhere to a stringent regulatory framework compared to the less regulated advertising landscape.
This holds particularly true for institutions regulated by authorities like The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which oversee banks and financial entities. In the case of insurance companies, additional regulation comes from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI), with the added layer of SEBI regulations for those that are publicly listed.
“Consequently, we are subject to stringent compliance and legal boundaries that impose precise guidelines on all forms of communication reaching our customers, whether existing or new. Every external interaction involves multiple layers of approval from both legal and compliance departments.”
However, the recent industry-wide reforms led by the new chairman of IRDA have aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability, even within the realm of advertising.
As a result, all advertisements undergo scrutiny by IRDA before release, with each piece of communication being assigned a specific code or unique identification number for added clarity and oversight. “We are also mandated to diligently preserve and maintain records of all advertisements and communications for a duration of three years from their release. This level of meticulousness and compliance underscores the critical nature of our industry.”
Kapoor explains that the insurance sector, especially in life insurance, had grappled with issues related to misleading practices and unclear information, which eroded customer trust. However, significant improvements have been witnessed over time. Regulators and industry groups have made it unequivocally clear that all communications must be honest and free from misleading information.
“So, the rulebook is changing.”