Summary:By the time IndiaFirst Life Insurance entered the sector, established insurers had already gone online. It did too, but with a twist.Highlights:Private insurer bring a unique value proposition to its customers.Philosophy of customer centricityReader ROI:Introduced an online live video chat facilityFive-fold increase in the number of policies it is selling onlineThe Organization: As the country\u2019s 23rd insurer, IndiaFirst Life insurance has had a lot of catching up to do. And catch up it has. Within 500 days of launch it roller-skated its way to cross the Rs 900 crore mark in new business premium\u2014a key indicator in the industry. \u00a0Launched in November 2009, the company today covers over 1.2 million lives across 1,000 cities and towns in India.\u00a0The Business Case: Initially, the insurer focused on the bancassurance model but it realized that in a fiercely competitive insurance sector, that strategy wouldn't suffice. For the company to hold its own, it would have to cast a wider net and improve customer satisfaction.\u00a0Getting online, like every other insurance company, would only get IndiaFirst so far. But providing its customers with a never-had-it-before experience could set it apart.So when the company\u2019s CTO, Vinayak Khadye scripted an online strategy, customer experience featured as its protagonist. He launched LifeStore\u2014an online platform where customers can understand insurance policies, buy them, and also get serviced.But that would only make IndiaFirst join the bandwagon\u2014not give a competitive edge.\u00a0The Project: To do that, \u00a0Khadye decided to enhance customer experience. \u00a0He designed LifeStore as a do-it-yourself platform where customers compare insurance policies, pick the one they want, and buy it online. That means, at no point do customers have to deal with intermediaries or insurance agents\u2014a luxury most players don\u2019t offer.\u00a0Also, for most insurance companies, the online medium is an alternative channel to sell insurance. Not for IndiaFirst. \u201cLifeStore is not an offshoot of our brick and mortar. \u00a0We treat it as a standalone entity and hence it is focused on providing end-to-end sales and service support to customers,\u201d he says.To provide that end-to-end support, Khadye has introduced an online live video chat facility with the company\u2019s representatives. These reps act like insurance advisors and guide customers to pick a policy that suits them\u2014a feature that\u2019s soon going to be available 24\/7. That's unlike most insures who only have text chat.The Benefits: LifeStore has offered a plethora of benefits to IndiaFirst. It has helped the private insurer bring a unique value proposition to its customers. \u201cWe wanted to bring three core values to the table\u2014simplicity, efficiency and transparency. LifeStore has helped us attain these three business values and weave them into our philosophy of customer centricity,\u201d says Khadye.Another benefit is the amount of information available online for the customer. "Customers can view important data and statistics which will give them an insight into the company\u2019s internal BI. They can now know, for example, which IndiaFirst product is leaping high in premium collection.\u201d\u00a0One of the biggest benefits is that because there are no intermediaries, the company saves costs on distribution commission. And, over the next six months, IndiaFirst hopes to witness a five-fold increase in the number of policies it is selling online.It's evident that IndiaFirst hasn\u2019t just caught up, it has gone a few steps ahead. \u00a0LifeStore has helped us attain these three business values and weave them into our philosophy of customer centricity.LifeStore has helped us attain these three business values and weave them into our philosophy of customer centricity.