Tata AIG GI provides omni-channel experience, powered by SPA stack

The Single-Purpose-Application (SPA) stack strategy act as self-fulfilling, end to end transaction enablers that work in multi-mode and are capable from multiple application interfaces, says Dipak Nair, Chief Technology Officer (CIO) at Tata AIG General Insurance

How has IT been impacting your business? In which ways has the company achieved tangible benefits. Please share examples ?
Technology has opened up various digital platforms for customers across the engagement life cycle. Due to this progression, we have seen higher uptake on our digital platforms. Our policy issuances using digital platforms have improved to 95% of overall volumes in October 2020. Our self-service platforms available through website, Chatbot, WhatsApp agent named ‘Tara’ has empowered customer self-service transactions to move to 33% of overall service requests.

During the pandemic 100% of the workforce was enabled to work from home, which ensured uninterrupted continuity of our services. The technology enabling work-from-anywhere has also fueled a new growth engine for our business and we have opened 351 Virtual Offices as of November 2020 to enhance the geographical reach.

We conducted 50,000+ video-based claims inspections in the first six months of this financial year. Our app-based inspections/surveys are getting a positive response from our customers and between April and September 2020 we saw 2.3 lacs inspections happening via our app.

During Catastrophic losses, aerial imagery captured by drones used for property damage assessment, coupled with the use of AI/ML tools translating the images captured to meaningful information, helped Tata AIG to quickly access and release interim payments in a weeks’ time, which was a big relief to impacted customers. Conducting drone based aerial imaging for major claims reduces the turnaround time to settlement in such cases.

Enabling mobile and self-service platforms has helped us increase our front-line growth. With automation of our operational and decision systems, we have improved our TAT, time-to-market and reduced costs. Process and technology modernization allowed online consulting, collaboration and selling of insurance policies to customers. End to end fulfillment cycles were made available on digital channels across buying, payments, availing policy documents, renewals, change in policy and claim settlement.

This allowed us to engage with our customers where they need us and on a platform of their choice. As a result, more than 90% of transactions were conducted digitally during COVID-19 lock-down, an 80% improvement compared to pre-covid times.

Which digital initiatives are you currently working on?
Tata AIG, having driven an automation wave across business functions, has now embarked on a fresh journey of digitalization focused towards leveraging advanced technological capabilities strengthening business capabilities and enhancing efficiencies. Tata AIG aims to up its game by embracing the concept of Enterprise Architecture 2.0 and focusing on areas that exploit new age tech capabilities such as Data Science, AI/ML, Computer Vision, Robotics, NLP, Aerial imagery, eco system integrations, microservices architecture, cloud first strategies etc. to drive game changing use cases and become a true new age enterprise.

The initiatives include a new modern digital Front-End built on microservices and cloud based architecture, for B2C direct channel as well as B2B2C intermediary lead business covering quotes, proposals, multiple payment modes, policy issuance, renewal and self-service capabilities. The aim is to completely digitalize our product range and offerings to enable a smooth purchase process for the modern insurance buyer. Leveraging AI/ML for better decision making and automation based on robotic interface the turnaround times are now among the best in the industry, Our Agents’ App based interface is a unique offering empowering our agents with key engagement features. Our workforce is now capable to work from anywhere and geographic boundaries are being broken with Tata AIG’s reach expanding deeper into the countryside with the tech enabled virtual office setup.

How much does Tata AIG depend on data analytics when it comes to making critical business decisions? Please share examples where the firm is leveraging data?
The success of a product, viability, profitability, performance and definition of the strength of the organization are all dependent on the data and analytics. Tata AIG has built inhouse capabilities with a dedicated MIS team, Business Intelligence Unit and a Data Science team. All decisions are thus backed up by data and analytics, right from operational reports, tactical analytics to strategic decision-making including forward-looking projections and simulations. We look at these as a 360 degree possibility of usage covering not only regular BI/MI but also advanced Analytics (Descriptive; Inquisitive; Predictive; Prescriptive) and AI/ML use cases.

Tata AIG’s renewed Data Lake and Information Architecture forms the ‘Single-Source of Information’ empowering ‘Single Version of Truth’ across business functions and use cases, be it customer profiling, financial transaction registers, or hosting the departmental and business data marts built as semantic layers on top of the data lake. We ingest customer, operational, transaction and behavioral data into our data lake which also powers BI/MIS and analytics. The data science and actuarial analytics teams run algorithms and AI/ML scripts/models on this data to derive insights and inferences in real-time and batch modes. Currently, we are also leveraging customer analytics and data science to deliver superior customer experience via the unified Customer ID and customer 360 profiling project.

In addition to the above, our motor product team uses IoT data sourced through our Telematics devices and related mobile app which enables future product development and enhancement to our usage based motor Insurance product. This will also assist in future claims adjudications and improvements to settlement processes. We believe that armed with data from sensors, insurance companies will enhance their capabilities across product lines and no longer be dependent solely on incident narratives alone by the parties involved in an incident to determine liability, future premiums could also be determined based on the data gathered from these sensors.

Data has traditionally been locked in large systems within an enterprise. In the new distributed enterprise, data will have to be made available to everyone?
The age of the Monolith is over, megalithic systems and architectures are breaking up into specialists-based core surround strategies along with systems built with microservices architectures getting orchestrated in business enabler journeys. Distributed enterprise needs unified assets too and that’s where the Data Lake and information architecture comes into play. Our architecture allows us to leverage the power of distributed computing without losing out on the capabilities of a unified system. This becomes an extremely powerful tool in the hands of the enterprise to enable need based access to anyone, anywhere, anytime in a calibrated manner balancing capability and control.

Tata AIG is using APIs to integrate with partners and ecosystem players. We have a robust access management framework to render data to only authorized users. Tata AIG has created a 360 degree single view of customers, that covers details like demographic information, policy details, claims and other interaction histories. The customer identification and authenticatication is based on key parameters across touch points (sales & service) to offer them personalized experiences and seamless omnichannel services. Recently, we launched a self-service portal for customers to view and manage their policies. Functionality to carry out additional endorsements and other features will be added shortly. Customer personas and profiles are being created to recommend the right products through the right channels. We are also curating customer-centric retention campaigns for private cars and health insurance segments to avoid lapses in much needed coverage/policies. We aim to apply analytics that inevitably help simplify customer journeys across moments of truth such as inspection and claims, while curbing fraudulence.

How has your cloud journey been? What is your approach to cloud computing? Which workloads are on cloud and on premise? How easy is it to scale your IT infrastructure with the rising demand and traffic?
Almost all of our infra is virtualized and thus gives us tremendous advantage in terms of cloud portability, migration and scalability. We have taken a hybrid-cloud approach where we have now chosen our core platform and system of records to be on premise, while the distribution front end and micro services-based solutions to be on cloud. Sales, Service, Collaboration platforms etc. are thus designated to be on cloud. We have taken a Cloud First approach for newly developed applications and are re-architecting some of our existing systems for Cloud. Lift-and-shift strategy has been adopted for some of our existing virtualized workloads.

Embracing cloud provides us the platform to elastically scale based on demand and traffic. Most of our newly developed applications are ‘Born in Cloud’ Solutions.

How are you enhancing customer experience using technology?
Tata AIG has embarked on a journey towards omni channel experience and for this a special architecture based on Single-Purpose-Application (SPA) stack strategy has been taken up. The SPAs act as self-fulfilling end to end transaction enablers that work in multi-mode and are capable from multiple application interfaces. The same app works in customer self-mode, agent assisted mode or employee assisted mode thus providing a uniform experience to all touch points for service. We believe that the quality of customer experience determines business performance and encourages a customer to stay loyal. We are thus enabling most of the functions through self-service for our customers and intermediaries.

Tata AIG Agents can engage with their customers better with easy product access, collaboration tools and promotions via the engagement mobile app in real-time along with instant notifications.

Our customers can directly interact 24X7 with the chatbot and self-service portal for policy, renewals, claims and service requests. Our retail products offer instant policy issuance and most of our decision-making is enabled through automated means. Operations’ being automated reduces transaction turnaround time and we are also working on personalization to provide compelling customer experience for our customers.

The customer 360 profiling allows the customers to login and access their information easily via Mobile/OTP based login and getting a portfolio view across their policies with the company. With easy means to link/delink policies to their profile and able to transact and self-serve directly.

How do you ensure the safety of the organizations as well as users’ data?
Information security, health care and space exploration have one thing in common, “the more you know and do the more you know it’s not enough”. There is no limit to investments one can make in this domain and there is no one who can put his hand on heart and say I am 100% secure that no one can breach me. If one claims so then that will be a challenge to the expert hackers out there in the InfoSec domain to prove them wrong. Having said that one needs to ensure that no stone is left unturned and the proper processes, architectures, tools and techniques are put in place. This is an area of focus for all enterprises even more so as the laws are becoming even more stringent.

We are governed by regulation as well and it is thus also imperative to have the right processes and tools that protect the enterprise. It is a multi-faceted effort of initiatives that help the company improve its InfoSec maturity levels, ever evolving and chasing the changing benchmarks.

Domains such as data encryption, data classification, protection, application security, perimeter security, VAPT, SOC, access control, segregation of duties etc. are now hygiene components to a security architecture. We do have a layered security framework which encompasses Network Security, Application Security, Data Security and Identity and Access Management and conduct internal and external assessments to check our design and systems. We have great respect towards the InfoSec professionals and see this area as one of the key areas of foundational considerations.

What is Tata AIG’s approach towards ML, deep learning and AI for driving growth? Please share examples of how you are using it at your firm?
Information architecture, data science, computer vision, business rules’ engine, advanced algorithms and deep learning AI/ML scripting are all being experimented with to enable automated decision making across business processes, automation of process steps and improving operational efficiency. Some recent cases worked on are Customer 360-degree view with enhanced customer contact ability, Fraud detection, fraud analytics, automated claims adjudication assistance and underwriting risk indicators.

What are your future plans for Tata AIG w.r.t technology? Can you give us a peek into your innovation roadmap?
The future of Tech in Tata AIG is to create a totally Digital Enterprise pioneering in implementing emerging technologies into relevant use cases. Further leveraging cloud AI/ML enhancing data privacy and InfoSec controls, fine-tuning customer journeys and looking at enhancing omni-channel customer experience with end to end customer lifecycle management, having meaningful eco-system partnerships and enhanced value-added services for our customers. We will continue to explore IoT and Blockchain opportunities as also building our new systems on micro-services architecture. We will see higher levels of integrations with our partners and eco-system players.

Measuring the ROI about digital transformation is very difficult because many times the benefits are intangible and qualitative. How do you go about ROI justification at Tata AIG?
We look at any project with Why, What and How before picking up on the rest. The first step is to define the “Why” i.e., the objective/purpose of taking up an initiative and making the required investment. It is not necessary that each project be defined in a mathematical ROI template, but it is indeed important to list down the desired outcomes and objectives and bring in quantifiable metrics and measures as much as possible. The ROI mostly correlates to the business outcomes, and hence the business heads are thus empowered to take a call to go ahead with a project based on its desired outcomes which may vary from being a revenue enhancer, to efficiency driver, to new capability building, to new service level enabler, to building new product capabilities, to enhancing engagement levels or even to improvements for overall end user experience. Some may purely be experimental as well basis exploration of future capabilities.

A continuous improvement approach with constant reimagining, testing, developing and adapting is intended towards making Tata AIG, an organization that’s more efficient and productive offering best possible insurance solutions and experience. In listing down the benefits both quantitative and qualitative benefits along with metrics for measurement are defined. The answers to the question “Why” thus becomes an integral part of the project charter as the first step to taking up a project/initiative. The “why” drives the “What – i.e. the business requirements and thereafter comes the “How – i.e. the design and architecture part.

Tata AIG Technology team emphasizes on defining and owning the “How” part of the solution via active participation in the design and solution architecture aspects of the projects. This ensures that the overall control of the enterprise architecture is kept sanctified and one does not end up with vendor management and incompatible application stack issues.

Dipak NairTata AIG General Insurance
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