Social media to be monitored in absense of other data - Parijat Garg

Imagine you browse the website of a health insurance provider and read a few options available. You might subscribe to the e-mails or leave your contact details. After a while, you receive a call from a customer care executive. Technology can help companies know everything from your gender, preferences to age group. How?

"We can help companies capture customer behaviour based on what they click on. The database keeps getting updated when a customer clicks a particular link sent via e-mail while ignoring others. It can be done for websites, apps, e-mails, and SMSes," said VeerChand Bothra, CEO, netCORE Solutions. His company helps 'owned properties' like that of an insurance provider to help understand their customers better.

"There is also something called social listening in which a user's social media profiles are scanned. This can reveal drinking habits for example," said Bothra. He added, "netCORE Solutions doesn't provide this service but there are several IT companies in the space."

But what does that mean to you? On the face of it, tracking consumer behaviour can help the companies provide them customised options. Premiums for the health insurance depends on factors such as the policy, term, age of the insured apart from medical history and lifestyle. Gender, occupation, and marital status too play a role.

"While accepting/rejecting each of the proposal forms (application form) from our prospective clients, drinking and smoking habits of an individual are keenly looked at as an important parameter before granting an insurance cover," V Jagannathan, CMD, Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd.

"Insurance is a risk that the company takes and social media can help validate what the customer has shared with you in their declaration versus their undertaking," said Sapna Desai, head of marketing and communications at Cigna, TTK Health insurance. "Especially at the time of claims it could be useful to detect frauds as that is the time we investigate the claims. Though, I can't say for sure what level of role social media plays," she said.

Many insurance plans — whether health or life rely on the information that the customer has provided. Health check-ups are skipped in corporate plans or those in which the customer is less than 35 years of age.

It doesn't end there. Your credit score too could be affected by your online activity. "Youngsters who are just out of college will not have a credit card history that can be checked. India still has a lot of people who are not a part of the financial services and for such individuals, social media can give supplementary information in the absence of other data," said Parijat Garg, Vice President, CRIF​ High Mark, a Mumbai-based credit information bureau that caters to commercial borrowers.

Insiders say that experiments are on by different companies to check a customer's adventurous pictures on Facebook and the pages they like. While this is still in the nascent stage, what companies look for the most is the consistency in the information provided by the customer and that on the online profile.

Mobile apps are another category that supply data to other companies, especially those that ask for access to SMSes. "You might get your bank account statements in a message. Do you want that information to be available to the outsiders?" Garg asked.

Full Article : DNA India​