Three Pronged Approach For Digitization In Life Insurance

Ekhlaque Bari, EVP & Head Technology - Max Life Insurance

In a country like India, where life insurance is synonymous with the major Public owned insurer, there is little ground left for the private players. However, of whatever share that is left, the competition is fierce among private players to grab the maximum share of the pie. Max Life Insurance through its focus on value rather than volumes has created a niche for itself amongst the clutter of private players in the insurance industry. Ax Life Insurance owes its competitiveness to quality of advice, sound investment expertise and service excellence backed by a digital transformation that has not only made the processes more efficient but also more transparent.

Our journey on digitization began in 2012. Given that footfalls seem to be getting replaced by eyeballs, it was the natural way to progress in the life insurance industry and in doing so, Max Life Insurance insured that it was at par with the rest of the financial world. It is important to understand the distribution sales channels. Agency, Bancassurance (banca) and third party distribution are amongst the major channels of distribution of insurance products with AXIS bank being the most significant bancassurance relationship and ecommerce being the most promising emerging channel. Hence, the digital journey for Max Life Insurance is largely built around transformative and digitization initiatives across these channels. One thing that binds all these initiatives is the fact that digital is being seen as a big differentiator for the company in the future not only in terms of helping with the usual things like cutting costs, improving productivity and customer experience but actually in terms of improving the growth and top line to meet the market demand and uphold customer sentiment, it was imperative that we needed to deepen our penetration in the digital space and thus evolved our Digitization transformation strategy. As part of the transformation, a three pronged approach of digital customer, digital seller and digital employee was envisaged for a sharper, faster and seamless experience to all.

Customer digitization

During our discovery phase, we realized that our existing website that catered to the same segment of customers was cluttered with redundant information, putting a huge cognitive burden on online customers while traversing their buying journey. Thus, with an objective to Improve the Omni-channel consumer experience, enhance online sales and providing a superior user experience, we arrived at 4 distinct personas of Insurance buyers ‘Independent’, ‘Well Informed’, ‘Safety Seekers’, and ‘Support Seekers ’across multiple channels. This was followed by experience led and yet data informed UX design that was completely clutter free, bold and breaking the mould for Indian Insurers. Technology platform chosen to implement these journeys was state of the art product ‘Adobe Experience Manager’ coupled with the most comprehensive Analytics powered by Google. Architecture was kept completely modular using granular APIs to keep the system scalable to cater to ever-changing business demand. Finally delivery methodology chosen to deliver this program was a combination of agile and iterative development. To expedite the development cycles, DevOps platform was thought through to automate build, testing and deployment process. All of this has led us to bring down longer release cycle from 3 months to 1 month. As a result, the eCommerce revenue grew by 65 percent. The overall Policy issuance TAT reduced from 20 days to 10 days and completely moving towards a paperless journey thereby reducing costs significantly.

Seller digitization

A major requirement in the digitization journey was to enable and equip our front-end sales force with a suite of mobile/tablet apps. This may seem run of the mill and an SOP for most big life insurance companies who also mobilize their agents via tablets but on digging deeper, one sees a clear edge in the way the whole initiative of enabling the agents through tablets at Max Life Insurance pans out. The value proposition for most life insurance companies seems to be around using these tablets to process an application quickly and get speedy issuance and commissions fast. However, we didn’t want to restrict the technology only for that. For us, providing the tablets to our agents is not about just application, though of course, we get speed and application processing. Rather, it is about how to know the customer better, use analytics and give almost an institutional recommendation of what product to buy and why thereby enabling the sales interaction between the seller and the buyer.

The capacity to process new business rose by 3X, enabling Max Life to register its best financial performance in history. The March numbers grew by a whopping 40 percent.

Employee digitization

At Max Life, we measure success by the happiness quotient of our employees. With the aim of bettering the lives of our team, we initiated iHEP – Happy Employee Program, with ‘i’ addressing the technology aspect. A major facet of the iHEP program was creating a digital platform for employees to interact, learn, and stay updated with the internal happenings at Max Life. To facilitate this, we developed an all-inclusive intranet portal. ECube - Max Life’s internal employee portal - handles everything from email management and leave application to attendance and recreational activities. Our goal was to create a single portal that assisted employees with day-to-day functions.