Bajaj Allianz GI plans 4,000 virtual offices in 2-3 years

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Bajaj Allianz General Insurance today said it plans to open over 4,000 virtual offices spread across Tier 2 and 3 cities over the next 2-3 years.

The Pune-based private company, one of the key players in general insurance space, has already launched a dozen such offices on a pilot basis.

"We are looking at opening more than 4,000 virtual offices across Tier 2 and 3 cities of the country within the next 2-3 years. We have already launched 12 such offices in Pune and Bangalore on a pilot basis and our experience has been good so far," Bajaj Allianz GI Managing Director and CEO Tapan Singhel told PTI.

The general insurance penetration in India at present was less than 1 per cent and hence such offices are likely to help the sector increase its reach, he said.

"One of the major reasons for the low penetration of general insurance sector is lack of adequate distribution network. If the penetration has to increase then distribution has to increase. Today even if you have the best of products a weak distribution network may not propel growth."

Moreover, with low ticket size in several of the retail products it is not always possible to have a full-fledged office in small towns, Singhel said.

"However, using the right technology we plan to open virtual offices across the country. We have seen encouraging results from a pilot in certain locations and are now ready to replicate it in other locations."

To address the distribution issue, the firm is betting big on having virtual offices in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns.

"The concept of virtual office is an extension of our recently launched tablet-based application through which we can receive premium payments, issues polices and also settle claims. Currently, these are held by different stakeholders and a virtual office can integrate all these applications and provide a 24x7 sales and service to our customers," he said.

With a virtual office, insurers can service their customers with low distribution costs, he added.

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