Post-budget 2018 Reaction Mr. Pushan Mahapatra, MD & CEO, SBI General Insurance

As the Union Finance Minister makes a pitch for the ‘technologies of the future’ in his Budget speech today, we can certainly expect to see more excitement for investing in areas of Aritificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, Big data & Quantum communication, etc.

Since Insurance industry today is at the forefront of technology adoption if not technology innovation, there are good number of takeaways especially on the tech innovation side for those who wish to make the most of the opportunity thrown open by the government of the day.

As Niti Aayog sets up a national program to conduct R&D on Artificial Intelligence & machine Learning, more advanced forms of algorithms will come into existence and it will make the adoption of these technologies easier and more reliable. As an immediate effect, Insurance industry which has seen umpteen number & varieties of ChatBOTs, which are direct application these technologies, becoming more user friendly and sounding more & more like a human. Advanced forms of Machine learning will take a way a lot of manual work involved in Insurance operations like document scanning, extracting data from forms, matching customer profile with Government ID’s, etc. It’s not hard to imagine a more automated, customer centric and cost effective insurance operations in days to come.

A very high speed of Data transfer in an eavesdropping protected secure environment is an insurance companies dream. The introduction of 5G & quantum communications technologies, will revolutionize the world of network communications in their own ways and the insurance industry will be able to rely more on open networks for sharing sensitive data at a very high speed.

While virtual currencies like Bitcoin remain illegal for all purposes in India, the Government’s declaration that it will explore the potential use of blockchain technology is a very good news for the Insurance industry. We have seen very limited application of Blockchain technology in insurance mostly limited to Travel Insurance. Blockchain operates like a distributed ledger used on mutual trust and breaks the centralized processing into independent distributed nodes carrying their own copy of a common verifiable ledger. Its waiting to disrupt the insurance industry globally by giving it a more distributed mode of operations which eliminated the need of intermediaries and manual processes and ultimately leads to higher efficiency, lower cost of operations and better quality of service.

While the BharatNet project will bring high-speed fibre internet to rural areas across India, Government will set up WiFi hotspots in urban areas. It will not just bring more customers to the online market but also lead to creation of an always-connected environment where IoT devices can thrive. Insurance industry which has already adopted IoT so well in form of wearable devices will then look at other applications in Motor, Weather & Crop insurance segments where continuous flow of real time data on the ground will revolutionize the way we price the products today and will make it more affordable for masses.

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