Sananda Bhattacharya ( )
The pandemic brought healthtech and insurance into the limelight, and almost everyone realised the importance of insurance coverage while witnessing their near and dear ones struggling for breath. However, even after this realisation, health insurance penetration in India is still abysmally low.
Ravi Ranjan, Head – Strategy, Pazcare, explains his game plan to navigate the winding road, in conversation with Ramarko Sengupta, Senior Editor at YourStory, in a fireside chat on the third day of TechSparks 2022.
Revolutionary technologies transforming organisations
Extending tech capabilities help service providers to tackle circumstances. However, it’s also critical to remain mindful of the trends that are driving insurance tech. Elaborating more on this, Ravi feels that technology adoption started increasing exponentially when the pandemic hit.
“But now, insurance and healthcare companies are using data to lower the cost and increase adoption. For this, like on the hardware side, you have got advanced robotic surgeries and advanced treatments that have emerged to make things less painful. So we have been embracing technologies on all fronts. But yes, even after this, we have seen a laggard in the insurance space,” he added.
Ravi highlighted how Pazcare offered critical solutions to employers to ensure each of their employees gets covered. While this was not an issue for the larger organisations, SMEs had to deal with major issues to get their employees covered, since most of them did not even have an HR.
“We realised the gap here and built a simple platform that has employers on one hand and employees on the other hand. Once the employer provides the insurance, everybody on their app can see what is available for them, what is covered, and what is not covered. So, we initiated a simple process and made sure that the claim process is also easy. Since all of us are using WhatsApp, we have made chatbots so that everybody can access those claims as well,” he added.
Modern-day insurance route
Insurance tech has thus evolved through the pandemic. Pazcare, Ravi revealed, started its operations 15 months ago and witnessed a considerable level of improvement.
“Whenever a person is hospitalized, or maybe has to seek healthcare treatment, and goes to buy insurance, he/she will notice that although inflation has gone up, the premiums have gone down. Second, the claims that time has gone down to minutes from hours owing to technological advancements. Now, while you get logged into Pazcare, you can check on the real-time status of what is happening with your claim or policy, and that’s the change we are pointing at,” he explained.
Talking more about the future roadmap, Ravi also added the idea of Pazcare emerging as a full-stack employee benefits platform. “When we say full stack, we realised that out of 100 people only five would use insurance, while the rest 95 would go to the doctors. So we are building healthcare on that front, so that, when you access either insurance or healthcare, everything can be done at one single app. Our model is B2B2C. So we start with businesses through which the employees come on board, and then we give them the ability to customise. But in the long run, we would like to solve every aspect with our 360-degree employee benefits solution,” he explained.
India’s insurtech penetration
India as a country still has to go a long way to ensure deep penetration of insurtech in the country. “Even our per capita income itself is low. So, we need embedded products. If you go in handing out individually the policies, people might not buy insurance. However, if you club it, for example, credit cards today come with a small cover together. So if you embed insurance in other products, people will buy it. So that’s one way of increasing adoption. Second is, of course, bringing the cost low, and third is, the digital method, where people have started using apps. So, unless things are done digitally, adoption won’t happen,” he added.
Technology has opened new gateways in mental health support and data collection. Ravi addressed mental health as a disorder that needs proper care and treatment, and also there’s no barometer to measure it. As per data, 1 billion people globally suffer from some kind of mental disorder, but do not have access to talking about it, and this is where data collection helps. So, to address this, opening up to friends or reaching out to guided sessions is recommended.
One of the initiatives Pazcare took, added Ravi, was they made psychotherapy and guided sessions available to all the 1.5 lakh employees present on the platform. “We keep it anonymous and do not disclose even to the employer. Also, there have been many times that people who opted for one session went on to take four or five of them. So, when you talk about AI, this part is playing out well, in the first half of wellness. However, when you come to the later stages of the mental wellness spectrum, you will need specialist support,” he said.