HomeFinanceIn conversation with Vishal Shah, Head of Data Science at Digit Insurance

In conversation with Vishal Shah, Head of Data Science at Digit Insurance



Today we speak to Vishal Shah, Head of Data Science, Digit Insurance to understand how Digit Insurance is shaping the insurance industry through its innovative product offerings.

Read the complete interview:

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TechGraph: Could you help give a sense of how far Digit Insurance has come since its existence? From when it began to where it is now?

Vishal Shah: Digit insurance was founded in October 2017 and over the last 5 years, the company has risen to various opportunities, becoming one of India’s fastest-growing private general insurers. We closed FY22 with annual revenue of INR 5,268 crore and over 2.6 crore customers.
Today, Digit offers attractive products across all major lines of business such as motor, health, travel, property, etc., with a healthy market share in the motor insurance segment.

Backed by a strong network of agents and partners, and a robust direct channel of distribution, we have serviced 99.56% of India’s total postal codes. From only a bunch of products under the travel and motor lines of business in FY18, today Digit has a wide range of offerings that cater to individuals and businesses across demographics.

The company has been a pioneer when it comes to offering new-age and need-based products such as a Covid-specific health insurance cover, EV insurance, flight delay cover, and so on.

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We were the first unicorn of 2021 and also the first Insurtech unicorn of India, which is indeed a validation of our efforts toward making insurance simple and accessible.

TechGraph: How is Digit Insurance facilitating the entire insurance process digitally?

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Vishal Shah: As a company, we realized quite early on that the industry was unable to grow at the desired rate because of the lack of tech innovation but we knew this was set to change. Since inception, we’ve been 100% on the cloud and have ensured that tech forms the backbone of all processes.

Technology has played a crucial role in our growth because it has helped in solving many issues that insurers have been infamous for. For example, long turnaround time, high amounts of physical documentation, complex onboarding processes, etc. Since day 1, our sales & service channels, and customer & partner touch points have been fully digital.

When it comes to customer service, we have been working rigorously to move towards a self-service model. An example of this is the automated AI-enabled pre-inspection process which empowers customers to upload photographs of their vehicle and receive an approval or rejection instantaneously.

Traditionally, insurers would take up to a week to inform the customer whether their vehicle will be underwritten or not. Further, given the popularity of WhatsApp and its user base, we have scaled up claims and service requests on WhatsApp to lower call volumes significantly.

Between June 2020 and March 2022, we serviced close to 10 lakh service requests through the messaging platform. As many as 15 key services can be availed through WhatsApp.

TechGraph: How is technology transforming the insurance industry? Do you think the trend had taken hold even before the pandemic-induced disruptions?

Vishal Shah: While Covid-19 gave the necessary fillip to insurers when it comes to transforming on the technology front, I would refrain from saying that the industry didn’t identify the need for tech advancements before the pandemic. Before Covid-19, though insurers knew that technology was the way forward, only a few of them took the necessary steps toward enhancing their digital ecosystem.

With the onset of the pandemic, the industry realized rather suddenly that it was now or never, and therefore, most insurers shifted their focus to developing the relevant tech tools and this switch has resulted in an unprecedented transformation of the industry.

The regulator, too, is now encouraging insurers to innovate in the tech space to further improve products and processes. The collective efforts of everyone will help the industry grow and in turn, increase insurance penetration in the country.

TechGraph: What are the new trends in the tech-focused insurance industry?

Vishal Shah: Adoption of automation is one of the most effective trends that have emerged in recent years. Some interesting use cases include the implementation of automated claims processing workflows, and insurance policy issuance based on pre-built robotic process automation (RPA) and automated underwriting.

With automation technologies replacing routine activities, insurers can dedicate more time and effort to providing a more personalized customer experience. In an age where essential documents can be easily duplicated leading to huge losses, RPA can be implemented to verify and validate insurance claims and other documents.

Processing unstructured data is one of the most cumbersome tasks faced by insurers. Insurers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to provide a more streamlined approach that is quick and accurate. It is also helping insurers process claims documents faster.

Further, cloud computing is providing a valuable delivery model for insurers to enable or accelerate business transformation. Companies can now use scalable service delivery models to support their business application requirements and to reduce time-to-market.

TechGraph: What is the roadmap for Digit Insurance going forward?

Vishal Shah: Since its inception, Digit has reported a strong growth trajectory. In FY22, Digit clocked in a growth of 62% while the overall industry growth stood at 11%. We have 49 active products launched since 2017 and continue to explore new business segments and widen our reach in untapped markets.

The aim is to stick to our mission of simplifying insurance and widen our reach because it is this that’ll help us sustain our growth in the coming years. Our strong distribution network comprising of agents, partners, and POSPs in addition to the online channel will play a crucial role in scaling our business. Given our focus on tech and innovation, and an agile way of working, we are confident that we will continue to grow at a consistent pace as we go forward.


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Krishna Mali
Krishna Mali
Founder, CEO & Group Editor of TechGraph.

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