India could be a $500 million device insurance market by 2025: Report – ET BFSI

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India could become a $500 million device insurance market by financial year 2025, an over three-fold growth from the current estimated $140 million, RedSeer Consulting said in a report shared with ET, driven by smartphone sales increasingly moving towards organized retail and e-commerce channels.The demand for insurance for smartphone devices would be driven both by rising demand, with 78 million new users likely to purchase these devices, and an increased push by insurance companies to market product insurance through channel partners, it said.

The market is expected to post an annual growth rate of 29% between financial year 2020 and 2025, which could soon necessitate specific regulatory action by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, and pricing parity by the industry at large, according to the report – ‘The $500 Mn potential Indian Smartphone Insurance market – But are the customers’ interests truly protected?’

While customers are getting increasingly aware of the product, general insurance could face challenges in scaling the market without requisite regulatory support, said Abhishek Chauhan, head – India consulting at RedSeer Consulting.“… regulatory intervention and clarity are really important to ensure success of this industry, as it would bring in consistencies in customer experience, and drive increased satisfaction, which at times has been a challenge in this market. Protecting customers’ interest is critical to ensure growth,” he said.

Bajaj Allianz, HDFC Ergo, Digit and Acko are among the leading insurers currently selling these covers either directly through retail channel partners such as Croma or Amazon, or through third-party intermediaries such as Servify, Onesitego or One Assist.

These insurance policies typically reimburse for thefts, screen damage and unintentional damage to the device, even as the report pointed out that several insurers have lagged in honouring genuine claims.

“…not all of them come under the strict purview of the regulator (IRDAI), which has led to multiple incidents of customer complaints as well as few players going out of business,” said Anil Kumar, CEO of RedSeer, in the report.

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