Nimish Agrawal, Senior Vice-President & Head Marketing, Niva Bupa Health Insurance speaks about how the health insurance provider has aligned the new brand purpose with the consumer needs exposed by the pandemic. He shares that the company plans to introduce products that he thinks will be game changers in the sector.
Q] How is the brand Niva Bupa different from Max Bupa?
For our transition journey from Max Bupa to Niva Bupa, we took a calibrated approach in terms of understanding, ‘if not Max, then what?’ What should be our purpose and mission, and what are we going to do in the next 10 years? We started off with an extensive partnership exercise with our existing policyholders, prospective buyers, community of doctors, and healthcare providers. Three trends emerged against the backdrop of the pandemic. First, the category of policyholders is getting younger. A lot of consumers in the age group of 28 to 32 years were impacted by Covid-19 and were looking for some sort of health insurance. As an effect, even first-time job holders, 23-25-year-olds working in metro cities are now buying health insurance for themselves, besides looking for a family policy to include their parents in native towns.
Secondly, blame it on gender biases, women have never been a part of the health insurance talk, but the pandemic has shown us how important it is to include them in the category. Thirdly, there has been a lot of skepticism about health insurance companies that they do not pay full claims.
In the last 12 years, Max Bupa has come up with many innovative products, whether Health Active, Health Plus, a senior citizens’ product, or ReAssure — an unlimited-sum insurance. We redesigned our purpose according to our research. In the thick of Covid-19, when a worried lot were wondering how to survive the crisis without a health cover, we were planning our unlimited-sum-assured scheme. We also decided to democratize health insurance and informed our 6,000 employees, 50,000 advisors, and about 25,000 partners that we will reach out to every segment of society, including women, millennials.
Q] What was the idea behind the campaign Zindagi Ko Claim Kar Le
We’ve designed three ad films, two of which are meant for women. All of them hold as much an appeal for a millennial as for a 50-year-old. From the brand standpoint, one usually comes across pushy ads that try to sell the vulnerabilities of life. They are, in a way, ominous, highlighting life’s uncertainties and untoward incidents — “Anything can happen to you. So, you should have a health insurance.” Our philosophy is — health insurance is not for constraints, but for freedom. Take a good health insurance policy to live life the way it is to be lived. Hence, our brand proposition is ‘Zindagi Ko Claim Kar Le.’
Zindagi Ko Claim Karle is made to add a fresh perspective to the category. Our intention is not just to push a transaction — that is the output. We want to present a different point of view from the brand perspective.
Niva Bupa has recently launched its ad campaign ‘Zindagi Ko Claim Kar Le.’
Q] Did the pandemic emerge as an opportunity for you to create a renewed brand purpose and vision?
The pandemic hasn’t been an opportunity; it has been an eye-opener for more reasons than one. Some of us working in the health insurance sector have never claimed any insurance for ourselves. The process is cumbersome and we can understand claimants’ pain points. The language used to set the terms and conditions is unnecessarily complicated. We believe in driving positive emotions instead of invoking fear to improve people’s perception about health insurance.
Q] Can you share the details of the media mix for your brand-building efforts?
Our brand-building efforts follow a 60-40 pattern in terms of spends. So, 60% of the budget is allocated for TV and radio advertising — the traditional way. The remaining 40% is for ad campaigns on digital platforms.
Q] What challenges do you come across on digital platforms as all health insurers are competing for the same set of audiences in the space?
The challenge is to stay simple and relevant while pushing the sales figures. We want to promote a point of view rather than just cracking a deal. Our aim is to present a philosophy because dull and repetitive commercials put off viewers. As marketers, it is important for us to stir up the creative stimulus in sync with our consumers’ wants. Consumers must first approach, like and believe us, transactions come later. The call to action happens only after the first three steps materialize. Our philosophy is, “Let’s build a reality, preference, trust, and a call to action will happen.”
Q] What are you doing differently to build trust among your customers?
We follow three rules diligently. First, we are perhaps the only company in Indian health insurance sector to be completely devoted to digitization. We have done away with hard copy of claim documents. One doesn’t need to send us any proof of the documents once attached on a mobile application.
Secondly, we follow a system called the ‘30-minute claim’. In as less as 30 minutes, we tell our consumers whether their claims are accepted or otherwise. Our team is working to reduce it to a 20-minute and, subsequently, a 15-minute process. Thirdly, our cashless and reimbursement schemes help clients meet their healthcare expenses hassle-free and without waiting for days. Clients who do not opt for our network hospitals must submit their bills and the required amount will be reimbursed. Currently, we are working on our ‘Insta Reimbursement’ plan to recompense clients the same day they submit bills in a digital format. That’s the power of simplification. We want to build on the trust factor, too. At the same time, we are careful enough to eliminate cheats as sometimes people try to misuse this trust. But as a large organization and a significant player in the space, we do want people to trust us. We want to build a solution that will genuinely help our clients when they are desperately applying for insurance claims in trying times. We are striving to make our processes effective for a prompt resolution of claims.
Q] Would you like to share some insights on your future growth targets?
We are presently focusing on tier-II, tier-III and tier-IV cities to launch massive expansion drives. We are active in 350 cities. Over the next two years, we want the figure to reach 600 if not more. For us, productive innovation plays a very important role. We want to improve our product portfolio to cover every citizen of the country, literally.
Ours is the first company to introduce a product solely for senior citizens. Senior citizens do not have a very strong lifetime value, in our parlance. But they do need health covers. In the middle of the pandemic, we’ve launched three products — Health Plus was meant solely for the elderly people. The second was ReAssure, and the third was a personal accident plan. Recently, we’ve launched a travel insurance plan and are planning a scheme to cover lifestyle diseases like diabetics. Our idea is to introduce a health scheme to include treatment of diseases which do not get any insurance cover. We want to make our profit far more inclusive.
We have also introduced Second Medical Opinion, an app service, which helps patients with critical illness book appointments with the most reputed doctors in various hospitals in the country.