Manoj Kern, CIO, Prudent Insurance Brokers explains how they have benefited from digital revolution in the insurance sector.
Prudent is one of the largest innovative and technically inclined insurance broking company with pan India presence. We work primarily with mid to large size companies across all their insurance needs which include property, casualty, employee benefits, specialty, and all kinds of international business programs.
We provide risk management services as well as insurance program placement and management. We partner with our clients as their trusted consultant to help them achieve their risk management goals on a long-term and sustainable basis.
What are the digital revolutions that have taken place in the insurance industry?
As Earlier insurance used to be purchased and serviced through a physical process where a paper document outlining the nature of the insurance would be issued to the person making cash or cheque payment at their billing counter after visiting the insurance company personally, or through an agent.
Through the digital revolution, everything is moving now into an app and cloud. Even the cop who stops you for a violation of any traffic rules, checks in their system whether your details are updated in their RTO systems, PUC, Insurance, Tax, everything today are synced. So while there are specific requirements of the industry, digitalization and adoption of technologies are for ease of using or consuming the service is key for all those in the service industry. Today an individual can choose the nature of policy coverage and pay the premium all from the convenience of his home or the place of his choice.
Not just that, if any of the family member, or any insured person is to be hospitalized, an intimation to the insurance company and by sharing policy details at the hospital, one can immediately avail treatment without any interruption, such is the power of digitization. So everybody is leveraging new age and emerging technologies.
In B2B engagements, a customer wants to know whether they are getting the value against their spending or should they reduce their exposure. For this, one needs to perform analysis of the data, right from categories of employees, their age brackets, ailments, claims based on various categories. It is possible to do some level of analysis using Microsoft Excel. But if you want to slice and dice information over several years and would like to add additional complexities by comparing with different parameters like geographical area, income status, industry, etc, for that you need analytical tool built for such purposes. Humanly, it is not possible to do that. Obviously, a human can do it but artificial intelligence and machine learning fits in this space very nicely. Big data analysis and all of that.
Cybersecurity now is in great demand and then it requires us to look at large number of logs and feeds to make meaningful understanding of what is happening in our environment.
Today, employees need a raise and are willing to step up in the tasks they perform. It would be very silly to underutilise them at new cost that is incurred to keep them. Hence they need to be repurposed. All their routine and repetitive tasks can be automated by implementing bot solutions, depending on the business strategy, adoptions will happen sooner or later.
What are the technology trends forming in the insurance sector? How does Prudent leverage on newer technologies?
The need for leveraging newer technologies are dependent on several factors like industry trend, legal and regulatory requirements, client requirements, business strategies that focus on creating a differentiator and thereby a competitive advantage. We are very technologically inclined and have already adopted the new age and emerging technologies to suit our needs.
How did you meet the challenges of confronting customer needs and managing work flow of call centre agents from home during lockdown?
We were able to switch to work from home in a very short span of time. For us remote working was not new at all. We had enabled the set-up for most of our teams to work remotely. For long, we have been working in remote environment ,only the scale was minimum but with marginal efforts we were able to run business as usual even during the lockdown. In fact, our productivity increased during the lockdown and saved a lot of time from commuting. Everyone had the flexibility to attend to personal and work commitments.
Another reason why our clients were seamlessly serviced is due to our technology adoptions. All their information was readily available to the team members, and account manager provided assistance and support remotely.
How is the information security roadmap drawn at Prudent?
We are already an ISO 27001 company. And we are now using this as a base to achieve and fulfil other aspirations like privacy framework. We take information security very seriously and have enhanced our security posture holistically through a thorough introspection and cautious spending on technology and adoptions.
Which all digital payment platforms you are providing in addition to paying protection premium online and how automating claim management?
Our business model is B2B. What we do is provide insurance advice along with various options to our clients as per their requirement enabling them to take decision as per their preference. They decide with which insurance company they would like to go, obviously we work closely with our clients. As I have mentioned earlier, we partner with our clients as their trusted consultant to help them achieve their risk management goals on a long-term and sustainable basis.
We facilitate the process and support our client in managing their insurance needs. As of now, we don’t initiate the premium payment at our end , so no digital payment platforms have been subscribed yet.
For claims management, we are having the best of the technological solutions in place which is in sync with the TPA and Insurance Company to provide world-class and best of the industry standards services to our clients.
What sort of data centre infrastructure is there in Prudent? What sort of cloud model do you follow?
We have taken a conscious call that rather than increasing our loads, we will adopt the strategy such that the core expertise is with us and other operational aspects can always be taken as a service. We leverage different models to right from IaaS and SaaS.
What has been the economic and business impact of COVID-19 on Prudent Insurance Brokers functioning?
We have learnt a lot during this crisis but I can say this proudly that we have managed the situation so far very efficiently. In fact, we have done good. We have provided support to our clients in a very efficient manner during this phase. Circumstances like these act as a wake-up call to many of us as it gives us a view of the insurance coverage and the kind of expenses in today’s times. Many have reviewed their coverages and increased it to their suitability. From a functioning perspective, we were not affected at all. We were well equipped to work virtually.