"IT Supports All Business Strategies At Bajaj Allianz"

 "IT Supports All Business Strategies At Bajaj Allianz"J B Bhaskar, head - IT, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, details on the IT initiatives undertaken by the company to provide enhanced services to its customers and maintain an edge over other players in this segment.

Brief us on the emerging trends in the insurance sector in India.

With the opening up of the economy for the foreign players, the insurance sector in India has changed a lot. There is no monopoly of the public players. The customers are now more educated and they always ask value for their money. With the coming up of private players like us, there is much competition and you have to always remain alert to expand your customer base.

You have to use technology to remain ahead in this competitive segment. Some of the technical areas impacting the insurance sector are the emergence of BPML standards, the concept of SOA, availability of enhanced and integrated communication systems for voice, data and video combined with newer forms of messaging. The MPLS networking has now matured, enabling us to expand our network. This combined with wireless technologies has enabled insurance players like us to support remote branches.

How has IT enabled Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance to remain competitive in this field?

Life insurance business is not an exception with regard to the alignment of IT with business. On an average, an insurance policy contract remains active for 20 years and it is extremely important to keep the records in tact. However, it is not easy to maintain the records manually for several years. Being a long term contract, there will be diverse servicing needs starting from policy issuance to accounting of policy stamps to issuance of renewal premium notices to accounting for premiums received.

For Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, IT is an integral part of its business and supports all the business strategies to deliver the competitive edge in establishing its leadership among other private players. We strongly believe that the global practices have to be backed by local processes to sustain in the competitive world and to provide your customer best services in the industry.

What solutions have you deployed to track claims and provide 24/7 online support to your customers?

We have a help desk which provides 24/7 support to our customers across the nation. We have deployed iCRM, an internal helpdesk software to log all complaints and service requests. It also monitors and tracks the resolution of each case through unique token and ID. Expected Resolution Times are loaded for various issues and the system escalates the calls to the next level if ERT for that level is not met. The MIS allows us to analyse the trends and helps in fixing the root cause of various problems.

We have also developed a portal to provide enhanced services to our customers. This allows users to register themselves online to view their policy status using their PIN number and access all the information pertaining to their policy. We are also launching secure transaction area where they can send their requisition for secure transactions using T-PIN. Customers can pay their renewal premium online using a credit card by connecting to secure servers.

We at Bajaj Allianz have also integrated an SMS gateway to our environment which allows potential customers to seek information by sending the key word “LIFE” to 57575. Existing customers can also get their policy status on SMS. SMS gateway is extensively used to communicate messages from head office to branches and to the field staff. The response time for the new customer has also reduced drastically with the introduction of this service. This has helped our top level executives to coordinate with the field staff as and when needed.

What are the mission critical applications running at the back end of your IT hub?

There are various mission critical applications running at the back end to support other front end applications. Open Product Underwriting System (OPUS) is a core application framework used to provide customised business functionality developed by using the AGILE method. SUN Accounts is the accounting package software used by our employees to maintain all statutory accounting. We are also using actuarial software PROPHET, which is the modelling software for policy valuation, calculation of reserves and product profit testing; it has simplified the whole process of calculation. We have set up a "testing, evaluation and validation" methodology to evaluate all new technologies to check for the appropriateness in our business setup. We have also set up a centre of competency for Linux in collaboration with INTEL for open source solutions that has helped us bring down our IT operations cost. The easy usage and maintenance of open source software is also helping our internal IT team to expand its usage to other applications.

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Updated Date: Oct 11, 2007 13:16:49 IST