Mumbai: ICICI Lombard, one of India’s leading private general insurance companies, has joined Sahamati, a not-for-profit industry alliance for the Account Aggregator (AA) ecosystem. The company is the first non-life insurer to participate in the AA ecosystem and will be playing a role of a Financial Information User (FIU). With this foray, ICICI Lombard will be able to access comprehensive, customer-consented financial information.
The AA ecosystem is the Government-authorized Indian design for Open Finance. Built with the idea to foster healthy market practices, Sahamati will publish a code of conduct and market guidelines for its members. It will act as a common voice of the industry and regulators.
Joining the AA ecosystem will enable ICICI Lombard to assess risk and make the underwriting process simpler. It will also help in improving the turnaround time taken for policy issuance significantly. As a member of the Sahamati Alliance, ICICI Lombard can lend its voice to shaping market guidelines and ecosystem norms. Meanwhile, for customers, it simplifies the process of policy-buying by saving the time and effort required in providing financial information. The AA Ecosystem envisions customers giving consent for a total of 23 different types of financial information, including bank deposits, credit cards, mutual funds, insurance policies, PF accounts, and the likes. Having consent-driven access to this information should help customers experience tailored offers and better products.
Sanjeev Mantri, Executive Director at ICICI Lombard GIC said, “In today’s world, protection of customer’s data is at the core of our values. We have thus tied up with Account Aggregators to get access to the financial data of consenting consumers while ensuring its uncompromising protection. This ecosystem provides a level-playing field for all participants by sharing data securely and efficiently. By entering this ecosystem, we will be able to streamline our underwriting process further and ensure quicker policy issuance. Furthermore, digital delivery of services, using a trust, regulated framework and a strong focus on User Experience should help move the needle of insurance penetration in the country.” It might be noted that AAs are non-banking financial companies that will work as a technology intermediary between companies that seek financial data (Financial Information User) and companies that have this data (Financial Information Providers). With the customer’s consent, AAs will take financial information and documents from a FIP and provide them to an FIU. The future of ICICI Lombard (and any business, at large) will depend on harnessing the power of data but only with the consent of customers.
Mantri added, “What is of utmost importance now is effective consumer education about the trust framework underpinning the AA ecosystem, particularly the grievance redressal mechanisms available. Once they take the leap of faith to try out the new digital journey, the service levels of this ecosystem in terms of accuracy, safety and speedy delivery of data to FIUs will engender further trust in the rails. Overall, customers need to see the benefits in terms of targeted products, lower costs, and safer data privacy measures – through actual implementations.”
The digital transformation that is offered by the AA ecosystem is promising and expected to rub off very well on companies that adopt the AA ecosystem whole-heartedly.