It is not just people worldwide who are adjusting to the sudden, drastic changes in life brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, but companies are having to adjust too. If organisations manage to see the opportunity in this crisis, they can emerge stronger, more creative, and with a more loyal and engaged customer base.
Insurance companies, such as Aviva Life Insurance are crafting their response to the crisis and are continuously striving to improve their existing practices.
Amit Malik, chief people operations & customer services officer, Aviva Life Insurance, says, “Any crisis is an opportunity and I think that has been one key element of our response — be it towards our customers, partners or employees.”
The Company’s response to the Covid situation was guided by its crisis-management team. To ensure business continuity and stakeholder communication, the focus has been on its employees and customers.
“It has involved relooking at a lot of processes to enable remote functioning, quick adoption of digital means and educating our customers to do the same, increasing the frequency and nature of communication with our existing customers, and helping our employees manage their health and wellbeing in these tough times,” adds Malik.
Very simply put, there were three challenges that the Company had decided to focus on when the menace broke out.
The first challenge was to make sure that any new customer seeking a new policy is able to do so, and hence, the whole policy-issuance process needed to continue even while working from home.
Second, attention had to be drawn towards the existing customers. The Company had to make sure that they were able to reach out for any help they required with respect to their policies.
Any crisis is an opportunity and I think that has been one key element of our response — be it towards our customers, partners or employees
The third and most important challenge was to ensure that the employees, the Company’s driving force, did not experience any form of anxiety because of the ongoing uncertainty.
Living the value of ‘Care More’ in these challenging times, Aviva India continued with its legacy of ensuring the engagement and wellbeing of its employees and took no time to adopt social- distancing norms. Guidelines and best practices were shared with all employees to help them balance their mind, body, heart and soul as they continued to work, even while handling added household responsibilities.
The ‘Work Feeling Happy Campaign’ or WFH was launched to ensure that learning never stopped. The fun activities did not let anyone’s mental wellbeing be impacted during the testing times.
To handle this situation in a structured way, the Company came up with several strategies as a key to encourage everyone to embrace the new normal.
Learning via ‘Curious Learner Challenge’
Aviva India’s 1700+ employees have been provided access to 8500+ learning resources to identify their learning needs and enjoy on-the-go learning. People have shown interest in courses not only related to their jobs, but in various fields such as IT, coding, fine arts, photography, music, social-media advertising, mindfulness, leadership skills and so on.
Over the last two months, Malik shares, “We have curated and shared over 25 webinars and podcasts and received excellent feedback. It is indeed interesting to see insights from employees who attend webinars and live sessions shared by us, which encourages healthy debates on the WhatsApp groups.”
Engagement via ‘Work Feeling Happy Campaign’
This four-week campaign aimed to equip everyone with information, micro-steps, fun quizzes and webinars on weekly themes and complimentary access to a meditation app, which they could enjoy along with their families.
The initial theme was health and wellbeing, with the focus being to ensure that the disturbance in the daily schedule and reduced movement does not impact the physical and mental wellbeing of the employees. This was followed by mindfulness and gratitude, with an aim to de-stress everyone.
Gradually, the employees were offered online courses, along with activities to inculcate budgeting amongst kids and family, and understand the shortcomings while handling personal finances. The employees were also guided on being resilient in adverse situations similar to the current scenario around the globe.
The evolution of the video platforms has built a supportive ecosystem for the sales team.
Under such extreme conditions, the ability to adapt to digital platforms faster has helped its salesforce deliver even under lockdown conditions.
“Our ‘mobile sales tool’ has helped them log in policies without requiring personal meetings with the customers. Customers were encouraged to leverage the benefits of the self-service portal— that helps them with their policy renewals and so on, for which they would typically depend on their advisors,” Malik said.
The crisis and the related uncertainty of health and life have made the need for insurance stand out like never before — especially in a country, such as India, where people are prone to buying insurance not for indemnity, but rather investment.
The insurance company is living up to its purpose of ‘With You Today for a Better Tomorrow’, wherein it is operating with the goal that not a single customer’s policy should lapse for the lack of awareness or inaccessibility to our services.
In Malik’s words, “After the initial low in March, renewals have steadily improved — the top query in our call centres for the last month has been about renewal premium payment and our business numbers for the months of April and May are evidence of the same.”
Moreover, self-service portals for policyholders are proving to be game changers for Aviva Life Insurance.
Malik believes that insurers will need to ramp up their call centre operations to keep pace with the increase in premium payments, claims and other customer requests. Going forward, new- age solutions such as cloud telephony, AI-powered chatbots, and interactive voice response and so on will provide the customers with contactless service and seamless experience.
Now that the Company has got back to working from office, albeit with just a few employees initially, the challenge is to help its people imbibe social distancing as the new normal.
Aviva is meticulously putting in interventions for every single minute that an employee spends in the office to ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times.
An onsite doctor has been engaged who visits the office thrice a week to check on all support staff and any employee who is feeling unwell. Employees have to sign an e-health declaration every day before coming to work. For seating arrangements, a minimum six-feet distance is ensured between the work stations. Employees will have limited usage of common spaces, such as the cafeteria, lifts, meeting rooms and so on.
For Malik, employee safety is paramount, and therefore, even more than the numbers, it is about understanding who can contribute from home and who needs to come to office.