Analytics provides a springboard to innovation in insurance industry: Nilesh Parmar, COO, Edelweiss Tokio
6 October 2017
As a late entrant into the insurance market, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance is up against plenty of competition. But the life insurer is all set to beat its later mover disadvantage and ensure a place for itself in the already cluttered insurance sector.
Nilesh Parmar, COO, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance is bound and determined to reap big dividends with a well-thought-out digital strategy centered around products, platforms and customer experience.
He should know. He has spent 20 years in the financial sector handling re-engineering, quality improvement of processes, service delivery, and change management. Prior to joining Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, he worked with HSBC for 18 years in various roles in operations and change management.
In an interview with ETCIO.COM, Nilesh Parmar, COO, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance lays out the digital strategy of the company and details how IT is helping them step up their game.
Let’s begin by talking about the digital strategy you’re pursuing and how it is driving transformation at Edelweiss Tokio Life?
We, at Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, have been capturing the market share steadily through our innovative ways. We have been one of the fastest growing players in the industry with a growth rate of 40-50% over the last 3 years and are fully geared to capture the opportunities in the times to come as well.
With easier access to the internet facilities and the emergence of digital technology, life insurance industry is witnessing a paradigm shift. While the online space is offering exciting opportunities for us in terms of business acquisition; it is also providing the customers an easier access to different companies. In such a competitive environment, what will matter in the future is how we treat our associates (partners/distributors and customers) through the life cycle which begins even prior to on boarding them.
At the juncture where associates’ interfaces are increasingly getting digitally enabled, we at Edelweiss Tokio Life, are leveraging these technological advances to assure Speed (TAT and accuracy) and ease of doing business to our internal as well as external stakeholders.
Our digital strategy has three main tenets- developing right products that are easy to understand and hence, easy to buy or sell, developing the right platforms that will bring in ‘ease’ within processes and create unique customer experience that will create reasons for long-term happy association.
How are you capitalizing on technology to drive digital transformation?
We started out by enabling all the backend processes with digital capabilities. It’s been a few years since we have moved to paperless processing. This change was primarily driven by the need for being operationally efficient.
Coming to distribution, we have launched an agency partner portal for our agency distributors. This enables the agents and supervisors to track their performance and income through online access to information on business done, actions to be performed, career progression etc.
Earlier this year, we launched a Tab based application for sourcing as well. Today almost 20 percent of our sourcing business is through Tab. Both our Tab and online customer acquisition journeys come equipped with Aadhaar based KYC enablement for customer convenience so that additional documentation can be done away with.
Putting technology aside for the moment, what have you done from a product political perspective to create a spur innovation and drive business transformation?
In last two years, we have taken special efforts on innovative products that are not only easy to understand but also cater to all the ‘wants’ of our associates. They are capable of serving both, digital and conventional domains.
As a philosophy, Edelweiss Tokio Life believes that finding and articulating the problem is the first half of any solution, and the other half is then to solve it. Our product Wealth Ultima was an outcome of this philosophy. A ‘need gap research’ identified the lack of a methodical way of managing wealth and unavailability of a single life insurance product to address various financial needs of the customers. Wealth Ultima bridges this gap by offering flexibility designed on the basis of the principles of Financial Planning. The entire pitching process, starting from need analysis to identifying appropriate products & presentation to cater to customers’ need is done.
The efforts have already won two very prestigious recognitions in terms of Wealth Ultima being awarded the ‘Most innovative life insurance product of the year’ at the Fintelekt Insurance Awards, 2017 and the ‘Best product innovation’ award by National Awards for Excellence in Insurance, 2017 Simply Protect, POS and Smart Lifestyle are a few other examples
What steps have you taken to be more customer-centric?
Today, the buying journey to has changed a lot. We have worked on UI/ UX to work around the customer expectations and provide a simple/intuitive journey to them. Our website has been upgraded for this.
Last year, we launched our online customer portal, which allows customers to log in and access much more information and services in a secure manner. The ability to self-serve has helped create more avenues for the customer to interact with us and access at his own convenience. This has redefined ‘ease’ of processes for customers.
These turnarounds had been a part of a long journey that was planned and executed with a strong strategic thought process. We’ve had an online sourcing channel for 4-5 years but the focus on e-commerce space came in 3 years ago when we launched our first online specific product. We had to relook at our processes to meet the online customer needs and learnings from these processes have now percolated to offline channels through our ‘Kaizen’ initiatives.
A strong analytics support at the backend has helped us in a big way through this journey. We started analytics with the risk team by creating risk profiles for customers and based on those profiles we created segmented underwriting processes. This helped in improving the quality of businesses.
Moving ahead from customer segmentation, now we are using analytics for various key initiatives such as automated underwriting, up-sell, cross-sell, persistency propensity, etc. Analytics provides a springboard to a whole lot of innovations in the insurance industry.
In these three years, we have moved from sub 50 to 70 plus in terms of persistency. Today we are one of the best (in top 3) nonbank entities from a 13-month persistency point of view. Our claim settlement ratio stands at 93.5% vis-à-vis sub 60, two years back. Risk analytics efforts helped us in identify customer cohorts and will help us drive the right kind of campaigns for customer acquisitions, improve backend process and risk enablement in the digital world.
Original Article was published here : http://cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/corporate-news/analytics-provides-a-springboard-to-innovation-in-insurance-industry-nilesh-parmar-coo-edelweiss-tokio/60957980