The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about huge awareness in the Indian market of the need and benefits of protection plans, and the life insurance industry must take advantage of this, said speakers at webinar organised last week by the National Insurance Academy.
The annual CD Deshmukh memorial seminar with the theme “Life Insurance industry in the new normal”, looked at the opportunities and challenges facing life insurers amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic.

National Insurance Academy director G Srinivasan said that awareness of life insurance has expanded significantly over the past few months and insurers must tap into this huge opportunity. “In the midst of the current pandemic there were huge opportunities created and the industry must bring in greater professionalism to the market,” he said.

He advised the industry to design simpler and innovative products and to deal with the issue of persistency, which has been a huge challenge for the life industry in India.

Life Insurance Corporation of India chairman M Kumar said that the COVID-19 pandemic once again highlighted the huge protection gap in the country and called for action on this front from all stakeholders. “The pandemic has reminded everyone how vulnerable they are and the need for people to adjust and adapt to the way they work and do things,” he said.

IRDAI chairman Dr Subhash Khuntia said that in spite of the numerous challenges faced, the life insurance industry has risen to the occasion in the new normal. He called on companies to exploit the increased awareness of insurance created by the pandemic and to work together with different stakeholders to come out with simpler and standard products for the masses.

“There has been a shift to pure protection plans in the pandemic and the industry must work together for the benefit of the common man with greater use of technology and the expertise available within the industry,” he said.

For a population of 1.3bn, life insurance penetration in India is 2.82% currently, highlighting the huge potential for growth in the segment.


 

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