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Customer proximity is key: Chief Executive Officer of Munich Re India Branch, Hitesh Kotak, talks about the Indian market and his expectations for the future.
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Insurance Markets

We work closely with clients on identifying new opportunities

Customer proximity is key: Chief Executive Officer of Munich Re India Branch, Hitesh Kotak, talks about the Indian market and his expectations for the future.

01.02.2017

Where do you see the Indian insurance market going in the next five years?

There is likely to be a great deal of growth and competition as insurers seek to tap emerging opportunities. In the primary insurance market, we expect expansion across all segments – in personal lines business as a result of growing insurance penetration, in property and construction owing to the impetus from infrastructure projects and the focus on manufacturing, in agriculture due to the increasing penetration of crop insurance, and last but not least because of new risks emerging from trends such as cyber, autonomous cars, spas/health farms, and smart cities.  Reinsurance is expected to remain quite competitive too, with most of the leading reinsurers entering the market. Close ties with our clients will therefore be more critical than ever.

How would you describe your approach?

We would really like to get back to the basics and work closely with clients on identifying new opportunities and presenting solutions that can help them achieve their key objectives, namely customer focus, profitable growth and capital efficiency. We also need to ensure that we are able to offer the best possible reinsurance solutions. We would like to occupy the value-added space and work our way towards a preferred partnership.

Could you name some of the biggest challenges and opportunities?

Managing profitable growth in such a changing, diverse and competitive market is an ongoing challenge. But it also presents many opportunities. Our goal is to achieve a position as partner of choice with a mix of customised solutions and stronger client engagement. I already see many of my colleagues becoming increasingly comfortable with sharing our fresh perspective with clients. By the same token, clients are displaying more transparency, helping us to bridge the gap at a rapid pace.

What role do you see digitalisation playing in India’s insurance market?

India as a whole is definitely a nation of digital early adopters. People are very comfortable using technology such as smart phones for purposes other than communication and entertainment – for instance, for retail transactions. In terms of insurance, digitalisation presents a growing number of opportunities to improve market share and profitability. To realise these opportunities, insurers need to apply digital technologies in new ways and offer tangible value to their customers. In a country marked by low insurance penetration, with few touchpoints between insureds or potential customers and insurers, digitalisation creates new potential for dialogue and enhanced awareness. We look forward to working with primary insurers on entering the digital space and utilising these new channels of communication.

How important was it to set up a branch office in Mumbai?

I feel that our new office in Mumbai is essential in helping us gain a solid footing in the market. It sends a strong message about our commitment to the marketplace and keeps us closely in touch with regional trends and client needs. Munich Re is now aware of short-term developments and fully equipped to plan long-term solutions for clients, based on their individual requirements.

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