Raghuveer Malik is the Business Head for Corporate Insurance at Policybazaar. With over 12 years of experience in insurtech & fintech, he has built & scaled businesses from scratch. Raghuveer deeply understands the Indian startup space, with expertise in end-to-end digital & retail distribution. In conversation with People Matters, he shares the incredible vision and practices of Policybazaar in making the corporate health insurance spaces accessible to all businesses, regardless of their size. He talks at length about their holistic approach to wellness, their emphasis on data and digitisation and how they empower corporates today to lead strategic and impactful wellness journeys in the evolving world of work.
How is Policybazaar contributing to the corporate insurance space to make it more unique and exclusive in terms of the offerings for MSMEs & several well-known brands in India?
When we look at the Indian Corporate Insurance space, we’re looking at a very large and underpenetrated sector in one of the fastest growing, globally large economies. As a result, many companies are bound to enter this space and address the ongoing challenges within. What we at Policybazaar are doing is solving the penetration problem. For large companies, it is easier to get access to corporate insurance because they have a solid team at the backend, plus it's beneficial for the broker to offer policies to such companies.
The problem arises with small companies where the insurance premiums are low, and the broker's profits are inevitably low. At Policybazaar, we have a playbook to address this gap by first looking at product creation, where we look at the MSME demand and feedback. Then, our in-house team works with insurance companies to co-create relevant and low-cost products which can be distributed across the country. Our next step after this product creation is strategising a transparent, user-friendly, multi-lingual, digitally driven, smooth and effective user journey. This also comes with the intention to offer flexible opportunities online to companies to modify and pay for their policies while keeping the cost of distribution down.
The third step is essentially cost-effective marketing, where we align ourselves with where our customers will be, for instance, tying up with companies such as Razorpay or Indiamart that are already providing solutions to SMEs in the market. Finally, because we are focused on solving the penetration problem in the insurance market, we’re trying to deliver the right products at a low cost through digital distribution as that is the only way to make the service available pan-India. Lastly, we focus on the service element by ensuring that SMEs can easily manage their insurance policies throughout the year. Through micro-interventions such as chatbots which make filing claims easier, we design products for SMEs with services that are similar to those availed by large corporations.
In conclusion, we aim to design technology and data-led interventions to keep the cost and distribution of insurance policies low, making it profitable for the insurer and viable for the client to buy the policy, thereby increasing penetration.
With wellbeing policies and programs on the rise, what is the value of investing in a corporate health insurance plan today? How does it impact employee wellbeing?
The biggest psychological change that has occurred post-COVID-19 is that it’s not a side hustle for the management to provide insurance policies to the company; it’s a full-time priority regardless of the organisation's size. Even employees today joining the company ask if you have insurance plans covering pre-existing diseases or parental inclusions, for instance. As employees become more aware of the terms and expected benefits from group health insurance schemes, corporates today are also buying into this awareness, which is why we see a rising trend in investing in such policies.
Secondly, corporates were already seeing a rise in sick leaves even before the pandemic, which can be attributed to several reasons from overcrowding, stress to nutrition and more. It has always been to the employer’s benefit to reduce this incidence; one of the ways is by offering incentive or non-incentive-based fitness policies, which can garner employee engagement and ultimately lead to increased productivity. Programs around mental health and cultivating access to therapists, specialist doctors, and general physicians show that the employer not only addresses the in-patient requirements of their people but also genuinely cares about their overall health and wellness.
Before opting for a health insurance plan, what are the key things, organisations must consider? In addition, what are some of the new features available for corporations today?
When we talk about the group health insurance program, it’s a product which covers employees and their families where pooling of risk is possible. So as a result, the cost per life becomes lower because the risk is distributed. Another benefit of a group health insurance policy is that it offers several features that might not be covered by a singular retail policy, such as maternity or parental coverage. It also covers pre-existing diseases and offers additional covers such as dental, vision care or OPD, which can be bundled up as offerings to employees. There is also no medical screening, no waiting period and disease-wise supplements are configured beneficially and transparently to corporates and employees.
One key thing to consider is understanding what kind of add-ons or configurations you want to make to your policy to deliver the maximum impact. We typically advise corporates on these supplemental covers, who they want to add to their policies, the payment scheme and the overall budget so we can structure a plan in the best way possible. We do this by running health risk assessments and surveys 15 days in advance, adding a wellness advisory layer on our end, creating cohorts of different wellness requirements and finally launching the policy to the employer using digital enrollment tools backed by a wallet-based system. This is broadly how we empower corporates to approach their wellness plans holistically.
Some new features include video consultations with 13 different categories of specialisations, backed by a panel of 30,000 doctors; fitness workouts; on-site yoga; mental health and meditation podcasts; access to therapists; and holistic health and risk assessments services which we offer to the corporates. Aside from this, we also have discounted lab tests, medicine deliveries at home and access to popular brands in India, such as cult.fit.
Given the rapid rise of digitisation and hybrid working models, how have group health insurance plans accommodated these changes?
Group health insurance is one of the most complex products from a service standpoint. When employees join or leave a company, there is an entry and exit financial formality that needs to be taken into account, which complicates the insurance policy's management. What we have done is digitised the entire journey for MSMEs, and large corporates where they can, in three or four clicks, configure their entire policy, get advice from our call centre agent, pay online, and their policy copy will be in their inbox along with a technology tool they can use to service their policy at the click of a button.
Once the policy is configured, we have integrations with HR Management Software such as SAP, Oracle, and Darwinbox. We are partnering with three more while also planning to add three such partnerships every quarter. When any employee joins the company; as a result, the data seamlessly flows to Policybazaar, and the insurance enrollment tool is launched to the employee through various channels. Through this link, they can complete their enrollment process, check their details, and add any potential top-ups. If the employee partially pays the insurance scheme, they can also make the payment in one go. Once that is done, an app is launched which includes all the insurance features and claim history and makes it easy to apply claims and raise tickets while also accessing doctor consultations, pharmaceuticals and more. An all-inclusive digital framework is thus created for both the corporate and the employee.
For the hybrid workforce, we have this switch-on and switch-off policies that align with the customisations of the companies. For instance, if a Swiggy rider switches on the app for seven days consecutively, the group health insurance will be active. If they consecutively switch off the app for seven days, the insurance will be terminated. We have also made a WhatsApp-based ecosystem for those who are not comfortable with an app-based ecosystem because after creating the products, our focus is to design the right services to suit the needs of the hybrid workforce.
What are some final words of advice that you would like to share with our community on designing an impactful employee wellness strategy?
The first step is for companies to realise that they’re not alone; everyone is facing the same problem of deciding the right policy for their employees. So my first piece of advice would be to get your broker to support you with a detailed industry benchmark to know what your peers and competitors are offering their employees.
Also, employees know what they need and want. Companies need to run an intelligent survey across the organisation to get people to participate so that they feel included in the process when you finally launch the policy. The third thing is to do a deep dive, detailed analysis into your organisation’s claims cause because understanding claims history will help you outline what policies require improvement, which supplements should be increased, and what should be removed to provide better support to your people. Finally, regardless of company size, one must lead measurable initiatives because that will help you design policies that will be more beneficial in the long run.