Today, consumers have a plenty of choices for comparing and buying insurance policies online. But the smaller details of the policies often confuse consumers. In an interaction with Business Today, AS Narayanan, founder and CEO of McXtra, an insurance tech start-up, talks about how his company is simplifying the entire insurance landscape. Edited excerpts:
Business Today: How’s McXtra different from other insurance tech start-ups?
AS Narayanan: The insurance sector in India has traditionally been a jargonised and complex domain for policyholders with insurers laying a lot of emphasis on selling policies rather than supporting and servicing customers through the entire lifecycle of a policy. As a result, policyholders have often faced the brunt over issues such as missing the finer details of the policy cover, ambiguous wording, lack of clarity on products bought, lack of assistance in an emergency and arduous claims settlement. In fact, policyholders today are not fully aware of the benefits, and the coverage that they are entitled to. IRDAI, in July 2018, announced that Rs 15,167 crore unclaimed money of policyholders are lying with insurers. We aim to change this scenario and redefine insurance servicing. Unlike other insurtechs, McXtra is an insurer and intermediary-agnostic platform. We are India’s first personal insurance assistant. Our vision is to take away all kinds of insurance hassles of the policyholder and provide real time assistance, world-class service and data-driven advisory customised to the needs of an individual.
BT: What kind of services do you offer?
Narayanan: McXtra, a mobile-first app, offers several unique features. With the Policy Vault, the users can store their policies securely that they can access anytime and anywhere with a single click of their devices. The platform enables corporate employees and their families to consolidate all their policies in one vault. After downloading the app, policies can be uploaded either by emailing it to us or by taking a picture of the policy and uploading it on the app. Once the policy is uploaded on the dashboard, each policy is digitised and demystified within 72 hours and the policyholder gets a clear dashboard view of policy status, coverage, exclusions and shortfall. We offer these services across health, motor, travel and life.
Many insurance policies come with sub-limits and exclusions; we make users aware about these. In case of any queries, the user can connect with us via email, phone, chat or social media. We also provide our users the ability to video-chat over Skype or Google Hangouts. Health-related details such as blood group, emergency contacts, details of a family doctor, pre-existing conditions etc. can be stored within the app.
One of the most vital features of the app is “Red Button”. During an emergency, the user can hit the “Red Button” on the app, and in an instant, they will be geo-located and connected to our customer experience managers. The customer can talk to a doctor or get an ambulance during a medical emergency. In case of a vehicle accident, a towing van can be arranged. The app also allows its users to locate the nearest hospitals and garages. It also separately highlights hospitals and garages that accept cashless claim settlements according to the user’s policies.
BT: How did the idea to start McXtra came about?
Narayanan: Our genesis sprung from the need to offer a superior customer service experience to policyholders across India. We spent the first two years researching customer issues in insurance and built our network and technology around solving those problems. In March 2018, we raised a pre-series A round of $1.35 million from 12 reputed investors. Rakesh Bhatia, ex-worldwide head of HSBC Trade Finance, is a significant investor and heads our global executive committee.
BT: Do you have any background in banking or insurance sector?
Narayanan: I’ve been in the insurance sector for about 20 years. Before this, I worked with Bajaj Allianz, and during my stint there, I handled business volume of over Rs 5,000 crore annually. Before Bajaj Allianz, I worked with HDFC Standard Life and helped them establish their Bancassurance business.
BT: What challenges do you face as you scale up the operations?
Narayanan: We have built the technology and service delivery models in a very scalable manner. We keep learning from our experiences and consumer feedback. Our job is to continuously enhance customer experience and provide critical services in a seamless and efficient manner.
BT: How many insurance companies do you work with?
Narayanan: We are an insurer and a technology company. It means our platform standardises insurance and emergency assistance, irrespective of which insurer or intermediary the consumer has procured his insurances from.
We interact with insurers, brokers and TPAs (third-party administrators) wherever required by the consumer.
BT: How do you make money? Are you profitable?
Narayanan: The revenues come from subscription fees from the corporates. On the retail side, we have affinity partnerships who offer McXtra to their consumers. We have recently launched our B2C [business-t-consumer] product on our website.
We are focused on working extensively with our corporate customers and consumers who come through affinity partners. We are witnessing rapid growth in our consumer base, profitability is sometime away, we shall be investing in business development, technology and service and operations.