Dr. Puneet Kaur Kohli, CTO, Universal Sompo General Insurance talks through the extensive digitization in her organization and overall insurance sector.
What are the business and operating models of Universal Sompo General Insurance?
Our business model depends on marketing channels which are responsible to get business for us. We have our bank assurance with basically three main public sector banks, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Karnataka Bank. We also have a major share from Sompo Holdings which is Japan-based We have the CSV model. We also have the agency portal based model. We have OEM partners like Maruti, KIA, Honda and OLA as well. Then we also run our main business with the digital systems, which is the web integrations through the web aggregators like, Policy Bazar or Turtle Main.
Our different insurance offerings include motor and health. Then we have the travel insurance, marine insurance, home insurance. Apart from that we also run some other channels where we are looking forward to have digital integrations. This would be probably creating, co-creating the revenue models for us that incidentally is the operating model of business at Universal Sompo General Insurance India limited. We are headed by a highly regulated body in IRDA because of our presence in general insurance. We have the broker Channel who run our business and for whom we have committed volumes of business that we do. This is all about Universal Sompo General Insurance operating model.
What are the key technology solutions used by Universal Sompo General Insurance and what their causes?
Our entire enterprise architecture is being defined with the core applications, customer-facing portals and various internal facing technologies that we are using. I am responsible for running the complete innovation in the digital cycle for it. We recently launched our first app, an USGI app named as USGI ULZ app. When you login it is not only for the policyholders, but even the non-policy holders can also, subscribe to our mobile app and then probably they can use an array of value-added services like, mechanical services.
We have the patrol pump facility we have in terms of health. If you want to know where are the nearby labs or the nearby doctor on call or probably, wherever there is a need of the analysis, that we need to do, we are giving such kind of no value added services on them. So it is a complete bouquet Insurance wallet that we have given in our ULZ app.
We are also leveraging some technologies on e web portals, like when we do the bank assurance business, then all the customers can use theB2B and B2C models of these internally or externally developed applications. We are very highly on e GC basically which is a weekly genesis systems where the complete policy login and things are being taken care of. We have the call centres which are giving360-degree view of the things now. With the advent of total digital transformation which we are talking about policy, we are offering customers 360 degree services. We are revamping our technology belt in the front end with one of the CRM Solutions which will be integrated end-to-end from on go until service management. We will also be giving a device and technology agnostic approach as a convenience to our partner ecosystem– to our sub-agents. Basically our employees and our customers would be in form of any device. You can access our portals or web-based Services through mobile or tab or a laptop or desktop or smart watches. all So as far as end to end automation is concerned, more intervention would not be required by heavily utilizing robotics process automation.
We did a very advanced level, process discovery where the claims or the underwriting or probably the operations end-to-end and even the finance and accounts will be all integrated into one common discussed automation systems. We are running a big analytics engine through ETL. We have a very good ETL engine where we have the different data marks at the point where which is a sort of data warehousing but we will definitely slowly and gradually will be leveraging that as an enterprise data. So this might have a unique customer identification code and all that and it will be one view of a customer, one view all of employee one view partner ecosystem where interactions from whichever process has to be coming and it needs to be viewed through possible any one single window. In the back end we are using analytics on top of it artificial intelligence based robotics or robots which talk about customer engagement. We have recently launched for motor claims an AI powered bot which is giving a lot of customer centricity approach. It gives you lot of engagements. Some of these new initiatives that we are doing are particular to year 2021 as it would be the year of innovation and pragmatism.
Roles and responsibilities at Universal Sompo General Insurance:
My responsibilities and roles as the CIO is basically to enable business. Technology is just my tool. I understand the core business models when I sit down with all my business stakeholders, be it different channel heads, or maybe between different departmental head. The channel head, the department head has his own light from the branch of operations perspective or from the technology landscape in a board perspective. My back-end infrastructure should be read and embedded as a service of information security and data which has to run. So it is a convergence of people, process, technology and data which will talk and it will be basically be ‘reel in the deal] course and I would also like to leave, smart decision engine which will be powered by artificial intelligence and Deep Learning.
How are digital technologies helping Universal Sompo General Insurance to tide over the current COVID 19 crisis?
First of its kind like implementation of Teams, the model of Zoom, using the web basically for doing your in-person meetings after the lockdown and the pandemic situation, and everything is virtual and the flexibility of working from anywhere is what the pandemic has taught us. There were practices in some companies where once in a week work from home culture was acceptable but nobody knew that work from home will become the new normal. Nobody will be able to get away so the days where you have the need of a physical intervention is something which is substituted by virtual presence. Now _ there are these collaborative tools like team or video conferencing.
What it taught is basically convergence to work together and facilitate development. When you are working from home the work happens much faster. We do miss the physical part of it, but decisions are faster and technology and tools will collaborate to really making it convenient. Apart from that customers are also accepting it. When they needed a personalized touch through video-conferencing people are doing one to one relationship with them video branches. Physical branches are substituted by video branches. How is Universal Sompo General Insurance leveraging on newer technologies like AI, blockchain, analytics?
The blockchain as of now is still in pilot stage. We have not started yet. But though I will be implementing those in our organization, I had implemented the platform on mortgage on blockchain on a hyper ledger fabric. I would like to do the claims settlement basically with blockchain technologies.
But still it is in a very nascent stage and I need to have the convenience and sign of or a business buying from my CFO’ will have to be there for leveraging this technology. See We have to be effective where you should have a sponsor for the business technology that we are introducing. The buying should be there from that particular sponsor. Rather than technology reaching out to the masses, the business team should come and tell the CTO that we need to move on to cloud or something else. ROI gets achieved with the business stakeholders and then technology does not become only a tool it becomes an end user experience which gives you what kind of feeling one will have.
How has the pandemic impacted on the regulatory compliances for insurance players?
In pandemic I can say more focus has been on digital, accepting that everything going digitized is better and work from home everyone understand the technology is playing a very big role. There should be an uninterrupted business disbursement be it for loans in terms of lending because the physical branches were not open. More and more disruptive technologies like digitization disbursement payments selections, are getting digitized and integrated through wallet systems or third-party systems like, Paytm or Google pay or PhonePe. So one experience or one convenience to our customer is there should be array of basket or certain facilities as the consumer experience when should give a payment option or anything can else, but that would be one of the conveniences that the regulatory framework has changed.