Neeraj Prakash, Managing Director, Shriram General Insurance Co. Ltd

”The company has made several well-placed strategic bets to drive growth through expansion in smaller towns footprint in ‘C’ and ‘D’ class cities, with plans to open 30 new branches over the next 6 months,” said Neeraj Prakash, Managing Director in an interview. Let’s see how he has enlightened various prospects of insurance.

How has FY21 been for Shriram General Insurance?

Shriram General Insurance has this vision to serve the unprivileged segment of society and fulfill the requirement of the people in the broader aspect. A year ago the ratio was about 90.92 percent that expanded to 104.17 in FY21, Strong solvency which stood at 3.63 as against the regulatory requirement of 1.50. The gross direct premium income attained at Rs. 2,139 crore in FY21 that has come down to 13.3% YoY due to pandemic lockdown. The company worked towards the expansion of channel partners, which rose by a steep 30% thus letting us hit into new areas. Under the new foreign direct investment (FDI) rules, our joint venture partner Sanlam strengthened the partnership and showed their interest in boosting its stake in the joint venture to up to 74%. To serve the increasing demand, we have innovated and digitally enabled our product suite, and have endeavored plenty of insurance products that cover almost everything that exists. 

What is the biz outlook for Shriram General Insurance for FY22? 

Shriram General Insurance is planning to focus on advancing the non-motor market, expand its reach to the rural areas and set up branches in smaller towns in FY22. In FY22, the company wants to raise the non-motor business to 10% from the current 5%. Fire, marine, and engineering insurance would be the key focus in non-motor. We are also moving towards the segments of shopkeepers insurance or fire-loss of profit insurance. We plan to roll out 5000 points of sales (PoS) in rural India to boost the coverage in rural areas. This is how we are planning to serve a large number of people in India. 

What are the trends in the General Insurance sector playing out post Covid? 

Due to COVID-19, the dynamics of our business have changed to an extent. With the increased awareness health as a sector in retail as well as on group size has increased across the companies and has emerged as one of the largest contributors to the industry. The commercial vehicle segment has been impacted significantly due to the restriction in movement. And, because of such reasons, the education centers have been shut due to which school buses insurance are shaken up as they are the major part in motor insurance. At the same time, the commercial vehicle graph has also seemed down. The industries like health and crop are losing money. The pricing pressure has intensified the competition.

Share some light on your Bancassurance partnerships? 

Bank partners are the most important support for the growth of the insurance sector. The company is adequately reconnoitring influential Bancassurance accomplices for the dissemination of the products for existing tie-ups with co-operative and regional rural banks. For our various insurance products, we can touch the banks’ large customer base as potential clients. Most of our partners are with us for the last 10 years and we value them. DCCB (District Central Co-operative Bank) is one of our valuable partners. 

Any tie-ups or partnerships or new product launches in the works? 

IRCTC (Indian Government Railway Portal) has a tie-up with Shriram General Insurance with the other two insurers. This is to provide insurance coverage to Indian Rail Passengers that includes a wide range of coverage. With 35,000 plus retail agents, Shriram General Insurance stands for aam-aadmi to offer various products to them. The Carriers Legal Liability Policy has been launched recently and is soon to introduce a Cyber Insurance product along with multiple innovative add-on covers. 

Digitally how advanced are your systems and processes? 

As the consumer’s needs are growing, the financial needs are going more complex in the new normal phase of a pandemic. That’s why with a payment gateway such as Paytm, it only takes few seconds to process. Well, our mobile app ‘‘MySGI’’ is available for all types of services and easy access insurance premium calculator. And, chatbots help customers to interact seamlessly with us. With the help of mobile insurance app, the customer services are going smoothly.