Enabling Personalized Solutions in Insurance Sector with Technology

Shalabh Saxena, Chief Operating Officer, Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance Company | Saturday, 16 December 2017, 05:00 IST

Technology as a ‘driver of growth’ is un­disputable. All future initiatives focusing on operational efficiency and seamless processing will ride on the ‘Technology wave’. Given this non-negotiable posi­tion, it is imperative that organizations place technology risk management at the top of the cor­porate agenda. The insurance industry is adapting itself to this changing market dynamics. ‘Digital threats’ like virus, ransomware etc are a reality and it is a global phe­nomenon. At an enterprise level, insurance companies have large data, it is critical that due care is taken at the design stage to arrest possible breaches. “Prevention is better than cure” and that applies perfectly to the current technology ecosystem & the associated risks. Hence­forth, technology will remain the pivot of growth across Industries. We have to adapt ourselves to ensure that the various risks associated are mitigated as technology eliminates/reduces layers. This is the biggest plus that ac­crues for an enterprise as it enables customer reach with minimum interfaces (hence direct & effective communi­cation). Technology enhances availability and reach to the customers. It also gives an opportunity to the insurer to refine and sharpen the solution effectively customiz­ing the offering and pre-empting the customer need.

Redefining Insurance industry

Insurance industry has been slightly slow to get off the blocks but is fast catching up. This has been facilitated by the evolving macro environment that the country has presented over the past few years. Increased inter­net penetration, billion mobile connections, and smart phone users by 2020, all point to a very promising fu­ture when it comes to insurance.

There are 3 areas that I feel will be substantially en­hanced through technology in the coming years –

(1) Seamless Sales process: Availability of customer data through UIDAI/Aadhar e-KYC assists in reducing documentation while still not compromising the secu­rity/validation aspect is a big win. Apart from this, with digital payment solutions being promoted across the country (mobile wallets, debit/credit card penetration, UPI led options etc), the sales process becomes seamless as that was one of the stages where the process used to break/halt. In my view, these two elements looked at in conjunction have eased the process for Insurers consid­erably. Companies are investing in these areas signifi­cantly to smoothen and further improve the UI/UX for the consumer. This is a game changer for sure.

(2) Servicing & Customer Engagement: Industry has already initiated various steps to build and strengthen the digital infrastructure at an enterprise level to capital­ize on the opportunity presented. Self service through digital platforms, use of NLP & other innovations for optimized service infrastructure, engaging customer through the life cycle for enhanced loyalty are areas that will see significant development over the next 2-3 years. These have a huge $ value both in terms of the bottom line and C-Sat levels.

(3) Big data, Analytics, Cognitive processing, Cloud computing and Mobility are other areas which will see big investment and movement in the next few years as it holds promise for the Industry.

The Indian market is a factor of the demo­graphics and the environment that the country presents. Hence any comparison to the Inter­national market would be misplaced. However, the digital landscape has rap­idly evolved over the last few years and the ecosystem is warming up to a potential ‘high growth’ era. The consumers are now more receptive to technology and we are moving away from the physical world to the ‘e-world’. The political establishment has played a critical role in this and it is a matter of time before we start see­ing the benefits of “joining up the market place through technology”.

The Differentiator-Generalized or Customized Solutions

The biggest differentiator is that insurers are moving away from offering generalized solutions to customized solutions. This will be a game changer as technologi­cal solutions will lead to better customer insights thus leading to defining/designing personalized solutions. The solutions will be much sharper based on the spe­cific needs of the consumer and his future requirements. This applies to all Insurance streams be it general, life or health. Technology is the only solution which would bridge the diversity that the country offers and both companies & consumers will have to hasten the progress of walking this path.

We at Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance are adapting to the new reality and in maximum possible ways. We are a fully automated work­place. We are using mobility to handle the geographical challenges, are leveraging various technological solutions to reach out to our distributors & customers real time. The country today presents an opportunity through the various ‘start up’ technology firms for specific targeted solutions which we are already in the midst of exploring & building. We do feel that these technological inter­ventions offer huge value to both - consumer & us as we will be able to adapt better to the requirements.