INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
INTERVIEW WITH MR. K V DIPU,
President and Head of Operations and Customer Service
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company
The term digital transformation has different connotations for different enterprises. What is your view of digital transformation? Do you believe that the term ‘digital’ itself has evolved in the past few years, and if so how?
While the term “digital transformation” is widely used in today’s context, and various people have their interpretations of the term, keeping it simple, it refers to the replacement of manual processes with digital tools, be it for employees or partners or customers. For instance, our team leaders can use RPA to get insurance policies issued. Similarly, our partners can use the portal to service customers. And customers can go beyond the call centre to get service from our AI-driven bot, mobile app, Whatsapp et al.
Yes, the term “digital” itself has evolved in the past few years. While the term is used broadly, it includes the entire spectrum of technologies that are at different levels of maturity. Initially, “digital” was used as an antonym for analog. As the world evolved in terms of the growth of the internet, availability of smartphones etc, the term has gained momentum for the increasing array of services available online and, with the added fillip given by COVID-19, now stands for a completely new way of working (& even living for that matter) when a few clicks get you to your destination, be it a service or a product.
What are some good practices to build an agile and effective digital strategy?
Digital and agile are complementary – without one, the other is not as effective. A truly agile and effective digital strategy enables the firm to spot white spaces and venture into hitherto uncharted territory. Secondly, one has to learn real-time from failures and apply the learning almost immediately. Thirdly, given the API economy today, and the shift from “me” to “we”, partnerships (via digital routes) with distributors and suppliers alike bring in nimbleness. Fourthly, embedding digital talent in various functions/departments helps create a digital echo at the bottom for the digital tone at the top. And, when it is part of the culture, agility is an immediate by-product.
How have enterprises leveraged digital for business performance?
Enterprises have leveraged digital tools for business performance across the spectrum. In the insurance industry, firms have trained distributors to use digital tools to issue policies and carry our post-sales servicing. Employees use digital tools to perform HR-related administrative work on the app & portal, bots to issue policies and Whatsapp for servicing partners and customers. Customers have an array of tools at their disposal – mobile app, AI-driven bots, Whatsapp et al. And as firms move processes for employees, customers and partners from the physical world to the digital world, a key benefit is the ability to track metrics in a far more seamless and holistic manner. And when you get a measure of what you manage, improvement journeys kick in and the firm is thus able to track business performance end to end.
There are several examples of lots of digital transformation initiatives failing. Is there any ‘rule book’ or equivalent that when followed increases the chances of success?
Two rules are paramount here. When followed, they enhance the chances of success greatly, and when not followed, they enhance the chance of failure in equal measure!
Customer First – Always start by listening to customers and figure out their real needs. Often, firms miss this simple but very important step by assuming that they know what customers want. It is not about latching on to the latest buzzword in town but solving your most important customer worries.
Do the heavy lifting right upfront: Stakeholder buy-in makes the difference in terms of successful rollouts and adoption @ scale. Often, teams develop new solutions in the comfort of a “lab” and then thrust the solutions at an advanced stage at unsuspecting stakeholders who are then likely to react in ways ranging from perplexity to opposition. On the other hand, if they are involved upfront, the partnership morphs into a co-creation model wherein objections are overcome, solutions are found and everybody is on board.
Could you please detail a few key digital initiatives that you led at Bajaj Allianz and what kind of business impact these have delivered?
Our digital initiatives have helped us not just survive but thrive when the pandemic suddenly forced all of us into a digital way of working. Below is a list of initiatives:
- Saksham: Bajaj Allianz has a large base of corporate customers and managing the huge amount of data generated from them was an onerous task. Taking an example of group health insurance, we need to collate details of thousands of employees and their families spread across the country which was a tedious task. Even after collating huge data, processing for inclusion, exclusion, and endorsements is a challenge. With the launch of saksham, we have moved from a traditional endorsement process to a tech-based innovative process with the help of ML algorithms. It is also integrated with the corporate portal for ease of access.
- Raftaar: Raftaar which means speed in English is the RPA based bot launched specifically for policy issuance. With Raftaar, the per-policy processing time has drastically reduced by 60%. In addition to speed, a quality check is maintained as less human intervention takes place and multiple sources of information are avoided.
- DigiSwasth: one of the challenges for underwriters is the pre-insurance medical check-up results. To introduce ease, we leveraged AI and IoT to develop an industry-first android and IOS application with an integrated lean medical check-up process. The integrated labs send the data directly to our database and Digiswasth enables quick analysis of the results leading to hassle-free and faster policy issuance. With Digiswasth, a huge number of cases get a straight through pass and only the filtered ones go for underwriting. This has enabled a seamless onboarding process and increased efficiency.
- Farmitra: we launched an industry-first farming app that caters to the specific needs of farmers. Through this app, we intend to help farmers address their worries and provide the relevant information which they can use in optimizing their farming practices. Users of this app can regularly check weather forecast specific to their area, advisories customized as per the selected crops, market position, news regarding agricultural developments and also locate seed/soil testing labs. In terms of insurance, the farmers can access the “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana” (PMFBY) portal to buy crop insurance and also register claims. They can also buy motor and health insurance policies offered by the company.
- CY App: our customer self-service mobile app “caringly yours” is technically our office at the fingertips of our customers. Every process is a click away. The customer can buy and renew the policy and also seek a claim over it.
- CDC: pioneered by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company “claim by direct click” is an app-based feature that allows policyholders to initiate and track their claim settlements in a hassle-free manner. To avail of this benefit, the customer needs to install the Bajaj Allianz Insurance Wallet app. Using this app claims up to a limit of Rs 20,000 can be processed.
- MOTS: we created the motor on the spot feature within our customer self-service mobile app “caringly yours”. Through this, customers can click images of their damaged vehicles and submit them for the claim processing. Through Motor OTS, claim settlement takes place within 30 minutes up to certain amounts by leveraging AI & photogrammetry.
- Drive Smart: Bajaj Allianz introduced a new telematics-based service called DriveSmart, which customers can opt for while purchasing policies for their cars. With this new service, a customer can monitor his driving habits through data feedback and also avail of a unique feature called geofencing to get an alert if the car is taken on an unsolicited route.
- Doc On Chat / Call: using the caringly yours app can even land an appointment with the doctor on chat/call without the need of physically going to the doctor. You can get online assistance for all general medical queries from certified and registered doctors.