Edelweiss Tokio launches ‘Transcend’: A digital based business transformation project

Nilesh Parmar COO Edelweiss Tokio

boxThis year Edelweiss Tokio is expected to grow at 80% YoY and this trend is expected to  continue, for the next few years. Project Transcend will create a scalable and flexible platform to cater to the increasing volumes

Nilesh has been with Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance since the last four years. Edelweiss as a group has an acute hunger for growth. It percolates down to Edelweiss Tokio too. The company launched ‘Transcend’, a digital transformation project to empower the company to change gears and manage the growth that will ensue. The technology landscape is in a constant state of flux, and correspondingly it is also leading to changes in the customer expectations and behaviour. “In this backdrop, we as a company should be ready to not only continue working successfully in a high growth environment but also match up to the demands of the customers. Technology can prove to be a lever. IT has become a big part of the conversation in the group as a whole. This year the focus is much more though. At Edelweiss Tokio too, the growth will be powered by IT such that the customer experience is superior and there is ease of doing business” says Nilesh Parmar, Chief Operating Officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance.

The company’s CEO and MD, Deepak Mittal, recently quoted on the company’s plans to invest in digital technologies after Edelweiss Tokio got a capital infusion of `670 crore, from Edelweiss Financial Services and Tokio Marine Holdings, “This capital infusion will support our expansion plans, and in particular, the development of our bancassurance channel. We are also significantly enhancing our technology and digital platforms,” says Mittal.

“Our IT budget is currently about 7-10 per cent of the overall expenditure, and a significant part of the budget will be invested in project transcend” states Parmar.

Investments in IT were made only in certain selected areas like actuary, finance, investment etc. However there was no presence of technology in the peripherals (where the customer interactions and processing of the requests happen. The solutions in the periphery request information from the core and get the response back). The company decided to partner with IBM for the business transformation to see the business as a whole and accordingly fit the technology architecture into the business processes to gear up the company for the high growth path.

The company has taken a call to demise the legacy systems and replace it with a consolidated platform from IBM. The objective was to gallop from point and piecemeal solutions to scalable and advanced platforms, which are enabled with new age technologies.

Digital Project ‘Transcend’ to bring business transformation

The existent solution portfolio will not stand the current growth run rate and the growth guidance expected in the future. “This year, Edelweiss Tokio is expected to grow at 80 per cent YoY and this trend is expected to continue, for the next few years,” says Parmar. Project Transcend, the company’s digital project will create a scalable and flexible platform to cater to the increasing volumes and customer demand. It entails multiple technology solutions viz. CRM, workflow, document management, mobility platforms, portals, analytics etc. The business functions will have access to these solutions over the next few months. The first phase involves the new business processes using these solutions in select branches. As they get stabilised, gradually they will be rolled out in all the branches.

The core solution used by the company is Ingenium. It will not undergo any changes.The core systems will not be touched. Applications like CRM, workflows, which are at times not seamless- when there are solutions created for each process. These will all be now integrated under a single platform. The document management platform is also more scalable than before. The homegrown portals evolved over the years without any underlying platform will be replaced by a dedicated platform to host new portals and also build portals on the fly. For tab based services, the solution will allow to run the application across different operating systems. Hitherto, the application was designed by a partner and it was operating only with certain configurations and on specific OS, however, going forward it will be flexible.

Data analytics is being used in different processes, sales, risk management. The newly bought data analytics and data management platform will congregate data from multiple sources. Subsequently data models can be run on the platform. There are multiple algorithms available to conduct experiments, etc.

Working with Fintech

As far as adopting new technologies is concerned, Edelweiss Tokio has been doing some exploratory work with the Blockchain Technology, however there are talks going on at the consortium level. Once there is a concrete decision taken by the consortium that the company will see this technology with much more vigour. “Chatbots is also being experimented upon and the company will go live with chatbots soon. RPA has been adopted in two processes,” states Parmar. Bots are used for pulling publicly available data / disclosures from all the life insurance companies in India. This information is being used for various analytical purposes. Another bot creates a policy bond, which contains the bond itself, the proposal form, medical reports, etc. The bot pulls these documents from different applications and puts it together as one single entity. From then on, it is despatched to the customer through email.

The company has started using machine learning to identify fraudulent customers at the underwriting stage. Edelweiss Tokio was the first company to do risk grading at the source. ML nabs the malicious information right at the underwriting stage and prevents fraudulent applications. It helps in risk modelling to give a risk score. If the risk score is high i.e if propensity of the application to be fraudulent is high, then additional due diligence is carried out and following the results, the applications are either accepted or rejected. The risk model is ML enabled and as new data is being run, the ML engine recommends the next action based on historical data. The engine is also taught in case if a parameter needs a change.

Wrapping the channel network with tab based selling

Formed in 2017, the Direct Sales Agents (DSA) channel was made digital from the beginning. The DSAs are equipped with tabs and all the activities, be it sending emails, lead management is all done on the tab. Even for the Bancassurance channel, close to 80 per cent business is sourced through the tabs. Earlier, the insurance forms were delivered physically, which took days to be delivered, however now, it happens instantly. Edelweiss Tokio has a bancassurance tieup with Catholic Syrian Bank.

The broker channel also uses tabs for business acquisition, however not all of them use tabs. Moreover, the Edelweiss group companies also partners to sell policies and they use tabs too. “Apart from tab based selling, we also use browser based selling. They are eKYC enabled. Aadhaar authentication can be done through them and thus KYC documents are not required. This does come with some caveat with respect to the challenges faced by the citizens but the Government is trying to solve them. Yet these facilities were not available a few months back,” says Parmar. For eKYC, the success is more than doing offline KYC registrations.

The linkage of the company with their channels is through APIs, “Our plan is to create an public API platform which will allow us to expose us to as many players as we can,” he adds.

Overall, 70 per cent of the business is acquired on the digital medium however, it’s not purely digital. It’s either digital or assisted digital.

Agency Portals Helps the agents to access information on theagent schemes, incentives, commission statement
Tab based application waslaunched in March 2017 60 percent of thebusiness is sourced through tabs on the agent side.

This is expected to reach 85-90 percent in the next

six months

Need basedselling Apps have been created for agentsto learn how do do need based selling. This is

separate from a sales app, which guides the salesforce

to understand the customer journey