Digit Insurance to use funds to grow market share

MUMBAI: Digit Insurance, which recently raised funds at a valuation of $3.5 billion, is seeing an opportunity to scale up business in the current fiscal as several insurers are facing capital constraints in the wake of adverse claim ratios. With capital at nearly thrice the statutory requirement, the company also has tech infrastructure to support growth. The private insurer, which is already ranked 15th among the 30 non-life companies (including health), has recorded a gross written premium of Rs 2,196 crore for the first half of FY22, which is 67% more than the same period of the previous fiscal. Currently, around 55% of its premium comes from motor insurance. “We should end the year with a market share of around 2%,” said Digit Insurance chairman Kamesh Goyal. This is despite the company, which is only in its fourth year of operations, not engaging in crop insurance that forms a significant volume business for the insurance industry. “Our solvency margin will be around 300% of the statutory requirement once the present funding round is over. This gives us a big opportunity to grow our business,” said Goyal. According to Goyal, the ability to raise capital puts Digit in an advantageous position. “Last year, many non-life insurers grew aggressively. This year, the first quarter has been tough and some insurers had to release their claims reserves. We have been a bit cautious and had a good combined ratio in Q1 this year,” he said. The non-life industry is capital-constrained with three state-owned companies in loss and several Indian promoters not in a position to infuse capital. According to Goyal, Digit will use its capital to provide capacity to Indian industry including thermal power where there are capacity constraints with reinsurers backing out due to green reasons. Besides the opportunities for capturing market share, the small-ticket policies that Digit had pioneered are looking up after the pandemic. “We are seeing a pickup in travel insurance following the normalisation of air travel guidelines by the government.” The company’s investment in technology is facilitating growth. “We are moving towards self-service in a big way. We have enabled customers to conduct the pre-acceptance inspection of the car by submitting photographs and they get an instant decision in some cases. The advantage of this is that the customer immediately knows if the photographs are of acceptable quality and also whether the vehicle is accepted for insurance,” said Goyal. Digit Insurance has also reduced dependency on its call centre by enabling service requests on WhatsApp using artificial intelligence. “Earlier, for one lakh policies, we were handling 1,800 calls a day. Now, with 10x the number of policies, the call volume is around 2,300. We have, however, received 72,000 service requests on WhatsApp,” said Goyal.

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