Max Life Insurance's Rahul Talwar on building a proprietary narrative around trust

Rahul Talwar, Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance shares what Bharosa means for Max, how the insurance company has been targeting women, GenZs, the LGBTQIA community and the insights that came out from the studies - India Protection Quotient and India Retirement Index Study.

By  Indrani BoseApr 30, 2024 10:44 AM
Max Life Insurance's Rahul Talwar on building a proprietary narrative around trust
Rahul Talwar, Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life

Max Life Insurance has crossed the Rs1.5-lakh crore mark in assets under management (AUM) as of March 31, 2024. This reflects a growth rate of over 20 percent year-on-year. In the e-commerce market, Max Life holds the overall rank 2. The company has been leading the online protection market with a 28 percent share and ranks 2 in the savings market with an 18 percent share. Max Life's online channel continues to gain traction, with one out of every four new customers now acquired through this channel. Max Life maintains its leadership in the Claims Paid Ratio metric, with a ratio of 99.51 percent in FY23, as per the IRDAI Handbook on Indian Insurance Statistics 2022-23.

In an exclusive conversation with Storyboard18, Rahul Talwar, Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance shares what Bharosa means for Max, how the insurance company has been targeting women, GenZs, the LGBTQIA community and the insights that came out from the studies - India Protection Quotient and India Retirement Index Study.

Can you take us through the current consumer insights and industry trends at the moment?

When you look at the previous quarter from January-March, the category tends to see a good amount of seasonality. That’s also because of certain habitual moments which are there in the larger understanding of the category where there is a play of a tax phenomenon that kicks in towards the end of the calendar year. Every year, we have seen post festivals and specifically this year post festivals and after the euphoria of the World Cup, the category always tends to be in an upswing. There was an earlier heightened intent and interest in having the right kind of life insurance because of the pandemic.

We recently concluded the sixth edition rollout of the India Protection Quotient in partnership with Kantar. About 5000 odd respondents from 25 cities representing urban India were surveyed and we found out that the number of Indians serious about financial protection has increased. Currently, there is more awareness and knowledge about life insurance; people are understanding that having the right kind of life insurance with the right amount of insurance or cover is important.

There are various needs for which they’re picking up life insurance. Those needs could be around life’s goals, children and long-term savings as well. Therefore, if you look at the category as a whole, it’s fairly buoyant.

What role does Bharosa play for Max Life?

Life insurance per se has been fairly a passive conversation. The traditional narrative of life insurance largely has been attached to uncertainty and insurance makes an entry during the absence of the breadwinner due to an unforeseen scenario.

Max Life has tried to anchor itself on a positive narrative. India being a fairly young country and hence longevity being fairly high; the aspirations that that Indians have and as they grow in life, the risk they would also keep growing in that sense. Max Life is trying to anchor itself in celebrating the breadwinner in keeping the narrative fairly positive versus the burdensome narrative of the fear of death.

Secondly, Max Life is aiming to build a very proprietary narrative around trust because at the end of the day, our engagement and relationship with our present and potential customers is ideally for a fairly long duration. These relationships could start from five years running up to 40 years depending how soon do you end up buying life insurance or the right life insurance. Hence for Max Life, trust has been an important parameter to build itself on. We have tried to build out this entire narrative of Bharosa .

We rather try and land Bharosa in a fairly tangible way for our customers or consumers, and in the narrative, Bharosa gets manifested as the Bharosa of claims which is where Max Life Insurance is a beacon of trust where we have best in class claims paid ratio in the industry currently clocking a 99.51% as our claims paid ratio in FY 23, as per the recently introduced report from IRDAI. Second, in another category we would talk about the Bharosa of guaranteed returns which is again playing to this entire insight of Indians wanting better returns. On another long duration, looking at the lifelong income plans, we would speak about Bharosa of life-long income again when you try and look at your savings narrative running into retirement space.

For Max Life, Bharosa has to be delivered keeping an imagery which is fairly stemming from real life heroes which is why we realized that universally if Indians buy into the passion and the emotion of Cricket, we try and extend that into our brand as imagery and which why we partnered with real-life couple Rohit Sharma and Ritika Sajdeh. Max Life has ensured that this entire narrative which should appeal to a young family which believes in mindful financial planning is able to be projected on screen or in our storytelling using both Rohit and Ritika.

Could you help us understand the study?

We are keeping the customer at the centre of our communication and we want to be able to ensure that we are able to talk about the larger narrative for India, through thought leadership. We articulated two specific thought leader platforms. One of them was anchored in this entire space of protection or in a product category called term insurance. six years back we institutionalized this platform called the India Protection Quotient which is a partnership between Max Life Insurance and Kantar Research, giving us a barometer of how Indians are feeling around financial protection.

India Protection Quotient (IPQ) gives us critical data relating to the financial behavior, the savings pattern, attitudes and behaviours, and it also tells us how urban Indians are looking at their own financial preparedness. The one that we have just recently released talks about a significant increase in the knowledge levels of urban Indian respondents from 57 to 61.

We do a similar exercise in the retirement space. We understand that while today we are a younger country, retirement planning is an activity that should be undertaken by all well in time. For the same, we institutionalize another platform called the India Retirement Index Study (IRIS) which is basically an eye into the future.

The last edition of IRIS revealed that 9 in 10 urban Indians who are more than 50 years of age regret not starting early for financial planning keeping the retirement in mind. Another insight which was interesting was that 1 in 3 believe that their savings will last for only five years post-retirement, which is why they need to be prepared in terms of having better financial planning. Like IPQ, IRIS is also one of those platforms which allows us to understand nuances around these critical spaces of protection and retirement in a better way, and our product solutions, our customer experience plans, etc. then anchored around the insights that stem from these kinds of thought leadership platforms.

How are you guys catering to a diverse demographic of customers like working women, the Gen Z, the LGBTQIA community and such?

If you were to look at our stated vision, our stated vision would be articulated as wanting to be the most admired life insurance company by protecting the financial future of ‘all’ of our customers. The reason that I emphasize on ‘all’, is to be able to highlight the inclusiveness that we have for these newer cohorts which are newer in terms of their participation in these conversations, but they’ve always been there.

For example, working women, Gen Z, and now going forward even LGBTQIA+ community. One of the reasons of why we embraced our partnership with both Rohit Sharma and Ritika Sajdeh on the brand was to ensure an active participation of the women representation in financial decision making.

Again, initiatives like IPQ and IRIS would have a complete double click of not only the demographics or gender pieces between male female or urban tier 1, tier 2, but it would definitely be able to give us deep insights around working women, millennials, Gen Zs. And specifically, if you talk about IPQ sixth edition, we’ve truly gone a step further to become more inclusive by also doing a specific module around the LGBTQIA+ community as well and insights for that are going to be rolled out sometime later this month.

We also went ahead and did this entire partnership with the Mumbai Indians Women Premier Leagues team. The idea again being that women as a partner in this financial planning journey and their role in decision making needs to be spoken about.

How is Max leveraging new edge tech for better customer experiences?

We have been able to ensure that the tech enablers have allowed us to look at creation of end-to-end personalized videos, and messaging among others to be able to ensure that when we are making the right representations to our customers, either directly or via our sellers, we have customized selling pitches available. Moments marketing happens to be again one of those big marketing use cases where this technology has allowed us to ensure that we get to a high degree of personalization.

If you were to look at our relationships with our customer, these are for fairly long drawn durations and to ensure that over this duration, we have a good engagement going in with our customers we want to be able to use these technologies of AIs and personalized videos to ensure that we are delivering differentiated experiences for them.

Again, vernacular for a mass retail brand like ourselves is important because we cut across all geographies and we always know that vernacular tends to play that much extra when it comes to engagement. So, all in all, we are ensuring that we try and use technology to not only become better at the backend, but also to be able to ensure that we take the right communication mix to our customers.

First Published on Apr 30, 2024 8:57 AM

More from Storyboard18

Brand Marketing

'Indian market is witnessing a significant shift toward premium devices', says Qualcomm CMO

'Indian market is witnessing a significant shift toward premium devices', says Qualcomm CMO

Brand Marketing

Mark Szulc on how Adobe is streamlining brand asset management

Mark Szulc on how Adobe is streamlining brand asset management

Brand Marketing

Meghalaya's Bah Paul on carving space for the state's OTT platform Hello Meghalaya amidst streaming giants

Meghalaya's Bah Paul on carving space for the state's OTT platform Hello Meghalaya amidst streaming giants

Interviews

Cricket will inevitably get involved in esports in some form: Nodwin Gaming's Akshat Rathee

Cricket will inevitably get involved in esports in some form: Nodwin Gaming's Akshat Rathee

Interviews

Those who seamlessly integrate AI into their jobs will thrive: Oindrila Roy, Publicis India

Those who seamlessly integrate AI into their jobs will thrive: Oindrila Roy, Publicis India

Interviews

Fundamental for finfluencers to understand depth of promoting claims: Sharan Hegde

Fundamental for finfluencers to understand depth of promoting claims: Sharan Hegde

Brand Marketing

Marc Andre Palm on how hansgrohe is revolutionizing bathrooms for the discerning Indian consumer

Marc Andre Palm on how hansgrohe is revolutionizing bathrooms for the discerning Indian consumer

Brand Marketing

Fashion influencer Nancy Tyagi: 'Influencer success is a blend of hustle and heart'

Fashion influencer Nancy Tyagi: 'Influencer success is a blend of hustle and heart'