Two years ago, when the idea of launching the digital insurance scheme was just put on the chalkboard of Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd, many were a bit doubtful about its success in the near future.
Skepticism came in the form of notion that whether the country’s otherwise very conservative and protective insurance sector could keep trust on zeros and ones instead of pen and paper.
“We however believed that we can be the market mover,” says Syed Mainuddin Ahmed, Additional Managing Director and Company Secretary of Green Delta, “For us, it was our moment of reckoning.”
For the company which is unanimously considered as the best non-life insurance company of the country, its digital insurance scheme is not just a mere portal, but rather a movement, a campaign.
Just like every industry is stepping up to create a digital Bangladesh, to be equipped technologically and be prepared for the future, digital insurance was launched as a movement so the insurance industry can also prepare for the future, explains Mainuddin.
“Insurance industry was lagging behind, especially if you compared it with the other players of the financial sector including the banks and non-banking financial institutions (NBFI),” he says.
He says if anyone steps into any bank in Bangladesh, s/he would see how it has adopted technological innovations by using software in their basic operations, from online to trade and accounting.
“Banks have invested heavily on their technology department and made sure they are well equipped. In a nutshell, you will see all the basic ingredients needed for a definitive digital presence across the sixty banks that operate in this country. Unfortunately for the insurance industry, the adoption of technology is still very low.”
So while other insurers were beating around the bushes in adopting technologies, Green Delta decided to grab the bull by its horns.
A comprehensive training
Mainuddin Ahmed appreciates the need to create awareness in the industry and Green Delta has been working for the last one and a half years in line with their digital strategic plan for 2020. The main objective of the digital strategic plan is to transform Green Delta Insurance into a tech-savvy company.
By being tech-savvy, explains Mainuddin, Green Delta will use more technological platforms so the company can become more efficient, more compliant, bring down cost and contribute to the bottom line.
However even as a pioneer in digital insurance portal, Green Delta is not sitting on its laurels but is working hard to raise the level of preparedness in hardware, software as well as in users to be on guard. The Additional MD of the Green Delta feels the company is in a right position to move into the next trajectory as it has already made massive investment in hardware especially in data center, networking and cyber security over the last year.
“More investment is in the pipeline,” he assures.
Now extensive planning on software requirements has been completed and Green Delta knows specifically what it needs to move forward in the digital arena in the future. “Preparing users for a 30 year-old company like Green Delta is not so straight forward,” Mainuddin admits.
It employs people from diverse backgrounds not everyone has the same level of computer literacy or efficiency. To address this issue, Syed Mainuddin Ahmed explains, Green Delta has given priority to training programs.
There are training courses throughout the year for people at all levels and customized for different positions like sales, back office, senior management where everyone completes the orientation journey.
According to Mainuddin, the high priority given to training is imperative because he believes if a person does not have acceptance in the user level, the digital journey will never be successful. Green Delta has been working on these issues since the end of 2016 and expects to continue until 2020, he says.
Showing the way for others
By means of digital insurance, Green Delta is trying to create the awareness in the insurance industry which will be extremely helpful to tackle challenges in the future.
Mainuddin believes by sensitizing on the issue, other insurance companies may take heed and decide to become proactive in moving towards the digital platform sooner than later. Becoming more efficient, compliant, reducing costs and increasing profitability is applicable for all the insurance companies in the industry, not just for Green Delta exclusively.
Green Delta wants all the insurance companies to step into the digital platform for the betterment and prosperity of the entire industry.
Mainuddin feels it strongly that the insurance industry will find it awfully difficult to scale up without the digital platform and technological innovations. “There is no substitute for technology if you want to scale up because without technology you cannot gain efficiency. Without technology will be very hard to maintain a huge distribution channel. Manual distribution channel is always expensive and subject to error,” he said.
Traditionally in Bangladesh, the insurance markets function on a B2B basis but Green Delta wants to break this mould by expanding in the retail and SME markets. To Mainuddin, the reason for this is simple: reduce cost and provide convenience.
“At present, if you intend to purchase an insurance policy for your car, you must go to the insurance office, fill in the forms, pay the fees and receive the document in the end. Easier said than done since the time and energy you will spend in traffic to reach the office in the first place cannot be understated at any cost.”
“In the digital insurance platform, you go online, select the product that you need, provide the information for your vehicle, check the price and confirm the premium you are required to pay. To make the payment, you can choose Mastercard, Visacard, bKash, Rocket, UPay and iPay since Green Delta is affiliated with every mobile payment service provider in Bangladesh. After completing payment, you will receive a digital copy of the insurance in a few minutes which is as good as a physical copy,” he explains.
It means, he says, a person has just purchased the insurance for his/her car without stepping out of the room! It is as simple as that. The hard copy of the insurance will reach to that person’s address within 24 to 48 hours. In case of any problem, that person can get in touch with the call center of Green Delta or drop an email.
Mainuddin is nothing less than optimistic about the digitization of the insurance industry in the future. Green Delta is currently working with various stakeholders in Bangladesh for expanding the digital platform for all. It is working with the regulatory authority and is active with the ICT Ministry to help formulate technology-friendly policies.
It has been involved with the e-signature, e-stamp and NID verification projects of late. Green Delta is also working with a2i, the flagship program of the digital Bangladesh agenda set by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.