Online insurance players may be the first to face the heat after Jio Financial Services’ proposed foray into the insurance space. Jio Financial Services will foray into the insurance space to offer life, general and health insurance products “through a seamless digital interface”, Mukesh Ambani told shareholders during Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting.
Jio Financial Services (JFS), Ambani said, will use predictive data analytics to co-create contextual products with partners and cater to customer requirements in the insurance space.
“Of course, it (JFS) will bring incumbent players under stress, more so I think the online players will get hit first,” an insurance industry analyst told FE, requesting anonymity.JFS is expected to leverage Reliance brand, its customer base and analytical tools to propel growth of its proposed insurance business.
“I don’t think they will attack pricing at the moment because in the financial services sector it is difficult to do compared to other sectors. Financial services sector is a very tightly regulated sector,” the person cited above said.
“There are sufficient boundary walls for the insurance sector, but then if a player is very serious and wants to build topline it can do it. But it is a long-term game,” a senior official at a large general insurance company pointed out.
On Monday, Ambani told shareholders during Reliance Industries’ 46th annual general meeting that Jio Financial Services will offer the insurance products by potentially partnering with global players.
According to industry observers, partnering with global players would provide JFS a lot of domain knowledge on insurance which the company lacks currently.
JFS, the newest group company, was listed on the stock exchanges on August 21.
Shareholders of RIL have received shares in JFS on a 1:1 basis following the demerger of the financial services business.
According to Ambani, just like Jio and Reliance Retail, JFS too will prove to be an “invaluable addition” to the Reliance ecosystem of customer-facing businesses.
He said JFS will be achieving success over the next few years as the digital-first architecture of the company is expected to give it a headstart to reach millions of Indians.
“This is a highly capital-intensive business. Your company has provided JFS with a strong capital foundation to build a best-in-class, trusted financial services enterprise and achieve rapid growth. Reliance has capitalised JFS with a net worth of 1,20,000 crore to create one of the world’s highest capitalised financial service platforms at inception,” Ambani said.
“It is good that they have deep pockets. Online retail space is the easiest and cheapest way to go to the market.
“These are basically the risks which can be retained, you don’t need reinsurance supports for it. But retail is service incentive. You have to have a good back-end servicing arm,” said another analyst.