Alok Aggarwal, ED, Corporate, ICICI Lombard General Insurance
The year 2021 has started. This year is full of expectations. The COVID-19 vaccine will prove to be helpful in bringing the global economy back on track and digital transformation will take India into a new phase of economic growth. Executive Director, Corporate, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Aalok Agrawal Said these things in an email interview with Business Khabar (online). Aggarwal says that COVID-19 has brought companies to an important turning point of technology. It has changed the business forever. It has taken the pace of adoption of technology many years ahead. Here is a key excerpt from this conversation:
Question: The world is eyeing the corona vaccine and the pace of economic recovery. So what is your assessment about the Indian economy and industry?
COVID-19 is perhaps the most devastating event in history. No aspect of life has remained untouched by this. This global pandemic has completely stopped the pace of the global economy. With this, this incident is also telling that such incidents and their effects will increase further in the future. The insurance sector did not even imagine such a terrible crisis. COVID-19 also left behind the horrors of natural disasters and the financial crisis of 2008. We have known the views of many industry leaders about how Coronavirus has influenced us. In my view, this global epidemic has left a huge economic and social impact.
De-Risking of Supply Chain: As a matter of fact, the dependence on China in terms of logistics had increased considerably. Along with this, the way the lockdown has been imposed by different countries also posed a huge risk to the supply chain. Now the world is taking steps towards reducing these risks.
Accelerating digital change: The lockdown stopped people from leaving their homes. With this, people prepared themselves for the digital world very fast, so that they could work from home. Consumer behaviour has changed significantly through digital tools. It also brought changes in the business model of some industry. For example, it made a big change in the education and healthcare sector.
Promote corporatization: Due to the current uncertainties, people have started to pay attention to corporate companies than small companies. This has increased and strengthened corporatization. That is, now SME and MSME will need more help from the government so that they keep their important role in our economy.
Part of the Remote Working Business Model: Remote working means working away from the office is no longer a temporary system. Business and other organizations have found that remote working is an advantage for both employees and companies. Many organizations have begun to consider remote working as part of the business model. Many big companies such as TCS, Axis Bank, ICICI Lombard etc. have also started considering it as part of the business model. Although the issue of climate change or climate change has always been important, the increased awareness here has made companies rethink the growing impact on society.
Question: How has technology helped the common man in this challenging time. How do you see this change from jobs to transactions?
COVID-19 has brought companies to an important turning point of technology. It has changed the business forever. It has taken the pace of adoption of technology many years ahead. COVID-19 has not only made major changes in consumer-related services of the institutions but has also impacted its core internal operations (such as back office, production and R&D processes). It has also affected the activities related to each other in the supply chain. Many changes in this period of crisis will remain intact for a long time. Such as increased remote working, increased spending on data security, moving assets to the cloud, increased demand for online products and services from customers, artificial intelligence tools and machine language to make decisions and drive operations better Use etc.
Big companies (corporate companies) will have to show proactively to handle such situations. In this era of COVID, many companies showed great agility in adopting the technology. This work was done on a large scale. This has made these companies stronger than ever before for competition. For example, some companies adopted remote working. Movie production companies shifted to the OTT platform. The IPL created a digital experience for the audience. Pharma companies made global agreements for the need for vaccines. IT companies such as TCS adopted Secure Technology. Many courier companies like DTDC started picking up the packets from the houses and delivered zero contacts. The majors of Edutech sector BYJU, Vedantu and Unacademy attracted a large number of students. There was a huge increase in his business.
Question: There is a lot of discussion on the corporate wellness program in the industry for the last few years. Now the whole world is struggling with new challenges, but there are also new possibilities. Do you think that this program should be started afresh or should it be made more employer oriented?
COVID-19 has recognized remote working. A large number of people are working from home. Working from a location away from offices. This has become our new way of life. Due to this change, people are not able to differentiate between work and personal life. There are a large number of cases of burnout. Problems related to mental health have also increased significantly. I believe that progressive companies will come forward to help their employees in this change. Will provide a holistic wellness solution for them. Companies are already looking for integrated service providers in such an environment. Who can manage technology-based solutions?
Question: What is your outlook on 2021?
There is a lot of hope for the global outlook in 2021. The COVID vaccine will prove to be helpful in bringing the global economy back on track. Some international reports say that global GDP growth can go up to 6.4 per cent. Such growth will be led by an emerging economy like India.
The entire thrust of the government in India is to spend on sectors that increase employment. The government wants to increase investment in the infrastructure sector. Apart from this, digital transformation will take India into a new phase of economic development. Our growth outlook says that recovery in the informal sector of the economy will be slightly weaker. Micro and small enterprises may suffer significant losses. As far as the insurance sector is concerned, we believe that with increasing awareness of health in the country, the market of medical insurance will increase significantly.