Swiss Re COVID-19 Consumer Survey: Indian consumers second most active in APAC in seeking insurance during COVID-19, driven by financial and mental health concerns

  • Almost one third of consumers in India are feeling overwhelmed / anxious about their financial future – the second highest among APAC markets surveyed
  • 64% of the consumers surveyed are concerned about their mental health – the highest of all surveyed markets
  • Indian consumers are the second most active in APAC when it comes to searching for and purchasing new insurance policies
  • More than half of the consumers (61%) had been contacted by their insurer, with 65% intending to purchase insurance as a result

One in five Indian consumers in Mumbai or Bangalore are feeling anxious and "barely coping" when it comes to their finances as a result of COVID-19, while a further eight percent are feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. This total of 32% is the second highest of any APAC country surveyed behind Japan, according to a new survey from global reinsurer Swiss Re.

To make up for this financial strain, many Indian consumers were happy to sacrifice home / motor insurance (28%) while a quarter would cut life insurance premiums (25%) to help ease the burden. These were some of the highest figures in the region.

When it came to health issues brought on by COVID-19, social disruption was the biggest concern (71%), followed by physical fitness (67%) and the inability to care for others (66%). While it was last on the list, mental health issues resulting from isolation and loneliness was the highest of any other market – for 64% of Indian respondents.

A huge majority (68%) felt that insurance helped to ease their stress and provide financial support during this time and 78% said that their claims experience matched their expectations.

"Indian consumers are among the most active and engaged when it comes to insurance, trailing only China when it comes to researching new policies and satisfaction levels, proving the potential and importance of insurance in this growing market," said Amitabha Ray, Head of P&C client markets for India, Swiss Re.

 

Mainland China

India

Japan

Other markets' average*

Searched for new policies

73%

62%

13%

28%

Bought a new policy

56%

28%

7%

15%

Made a claim
(those who hold a policy)

 

23%

25%

5%

11%

*Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia

More than any other surveyed market, a higher number of Indian consumers noticed additional benefits after researching policies recently, with 63% saying they discovered new features such as COVID-19 testing and unlimited hospital cover.

"Along with being proactive, Indian consumers' trust in insurers paying out on valid claims is high, with 61% agreeing with this statement and almost all (95%) felt that insurers are being just as proactive or more so than similar providers during this time."

"The figures support this, with insurers in India reaching out to a large portion of respondents (61%), mostly via email and text and when they are contacted, a large number (65%) intend to buy insurance as a result. Again, these results are the second highest in APAC," said Ray.

Unlike other surveyed markets, Indian consumers said the flexibility to mix and match coverage was the most important feature when choosing an insurer, followed by the ability to process online. When asked about value-added features, respondents said having priority access to products like face masks and medication would be most appealing, followed by healthcare services such as virtual GP sessions.

In the event of a similar health crisis, Indian consumers echoed the sentiments reflected across APAC – higher value is placed on a faster claims process, more flexible conditions and the ability to purchase online. When it comes to future insurance purchases, most will look more closely at coverage details (54%) and be more vigilant about having a broader range of cover (47%).

"These findings have given us a unique opportunity to better understand consumers' financial and physical wellbeing needs during a global health pandemic. It shows the change in consumer behaviour as they face times of stress and instability and the role our industry can play as we look to close the protection gap and build societal resilience across the region." said Victor Kuk, Head of P&C Reinsurance for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

The Swiss Re commissioned poll of 1000 residents in Mumbai and Bangalore was conducted by global market research company, Ipsos, in the last week of May 2020. The same survey was conducted in the APAC economies of Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Chinese megacities of Beijing and Shanghai in April. The data was collected in local language via smartphone, laptop or tablet devices.

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