Abhishek Gupta

CMO at Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance

Demystifying Insurance Insights and Modern Marketing Strategies with Abhishek Gupta

Join Naresh, Director of Sales at Pepper Content, as he delves into an engaging conversation with Abhishek Gupta, CMO at Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance and a leader in the insurance industry with cross-industry expertise. In this illuminating interview, they untangle the intricate world of insurance in India and provide a detailed overview of how the general audience perceives it. 

Together, they discuss insightful marketing strategies to optimize campaign planning to reach the true potential of the Indian insurance market. Learn from Abhishek Gupta as he unpacks the complex landscape of life insurance, providing rare insights into its deep penetration and the surprising protection gap. This is a must-read for insurance and marketing professionals navigating the exciting and challenging Indian market.

1. One of the questions I had while coming for this conversation was, what is the real penetration of life insurance in India? Some reports say 3%, while others say 6%. What are your thoughts on this? 

Let's divide this question into two parts. The way most reports quote insurance penetration is as a percentage of GDP. In that context, India's life insurance sector is around three to three and a half percent. However, this doesn't make much sense to the general public. A simpler way to understand penetration is by examining how many out of 100 people have life insurance. Surprisingly, the number is close to 80%, which makes life insurance one of the most bought financial products. However, there is a caveat. The problem lies in the fact that many people are underinsured. The protection gap is the difference between how much insurance coverage one should have and how much they actually have, around 60-70%. So, while the penetration may seem high, adequate coverage is still quite low. 

2. As a marketer, does this make your job trickier? Not only do you need to spread awareness about insurance, but you also need to educate consumers about the right level of coverage they should have. 

Absolutely. It adds complexity to our job. The insurance market is divided into private life insurance companies and LIC, with the latter having a majority market share.

"The challenge for brands like us is to convince consumers to buy from us rather than gravitate toward established players in the industry. Our focus is on targeting financially aware customers who understand the importance of insurance rather than trying to create the market as a whole."

Our focus is on targeting financially aware customers who understand the importance of insurance rather than trying to create the market as a whole. 

3. What insights and trends have caught your attention in the insurance industry in the last five years? 

Insurance has traditionally been a push product. People don't wake up in the morning and decide to buy life insurance. They only think about it when someone approaches them, or they go through an important life event such as marriage or having children. These trigger moments make people realize the need for insurance. However, we have seen a shift in recent years.

"While insurance remains a push product, awareness about its importance has increased."

For us as insurers, selling the category has become comparatively easier. Additionally, digital platforms have made reaching out to consumers easier. However, with increased accessibility, there is also more clutter. So, while it is easier to reach consumers, it is more difficult to retain their attention in a crowded market. 

4. How do you plan your marketing strategy with the increased competition and clutter? 

It all starts with a clear understanding of our brand. At Edelweiss Tokio Life, we have identified our role as an enabler. We aim to help individuals overcome their limitations in life and achieve unlimited potential. Our brand attributes can be summarized as PAPA: Positive, Aspirational, Progressive, and Approachable. Considering these attributes, we focus on two key target groups: the distributors and the end consumers. For distributors, we create content that showcases how we make their lives easier and help them become more knowledgeable in front of customers. We aim to elevate the perception of insurance advisors and agents. In our content for end consumers, we emphasize the positive aspects of insurance and its role in protecting dreams and aspirations. We also anchor our brand around festivals and sports, which resonate with the Indian audience. 

5. What are your top three tips for someone young entering this field, treating it like a hack?

First and foremost, I'd emphasize the importance of insights. Everything you do should be rooted in wisdom. It's not just about making a good creative or marketing campaign; it's about understanding what works and why. Analyze past efforts and gather insights before diving into anything new.

Secondly, don't shy away from experimentation. Be bold, try new things, and don't be afraid to fail. Experimentation is where you'll gain knowledge and potentially stumble upon a game-changing idea that can propel your career.

Lastly, grasp the fundamentals of sales. Regardless of your industry, sales is the linchpin of business success. Dive deep into understanding the sales funnel because speaking this language and knowing how to impact it will be valuable in your arsenal. Getting your hands dirty with sales will set you apart and open doors to new opportunities. So, remember: insights, experimentation, and mastering sales basics are key to hacking your way to success in this field.

6. Why does the consumer journey for insurance products differ, given that they are intangible?

The uniqueness of the consumer journey for insurance products can be attributed to several deep-rooted factors. First and foremost, there's a cultural aspect. In many cultures, including mine, discussing life insurance is often seen as discussing one's mortality, which can be uncomfortable. So, while the need for insurance is felt, it's not openly discussed. Secondly, there's a prevalent feeling of invincibility. People tend to believe nothing adverse will happen to them personally; it's always someone else's problem. This sense of invincibility is universal and only briefly wavered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another significant issue is the mistrust associated with the insurance industry. Mis-selling has tarnished the industry's reputation, leading to skepticism. People often assume that insurance advisors are driven by hefty commissions rather than genuine concern for their needs. Lastly, insurance products are often perceived as complex, although not inherently so. This perceived complexity adds to the barriers preventing consumers from venturing into the category.

7. How do you distribute your content in a competitive landscape? 

Distribution is crucial, especially since the majority of sales in our industry happen through distributors. We create content that supports distributors and helps them appear knowledgeable in front of customers. Additionally, we try to elevate insurance advisors' perception by highlighting their noble and important role. Ultimately, we aim to create local heroes within the industry. By creating valuable content around these themes, we differentiate ourselves and make an impact in the crowded market.

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