InsurTech is the way forward

Sunil Rajguru
New Update

Girish Nayak, Chief-Customer Service, Operations and Technology, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, talks about how technologies like IoTs, mobile apps, RPA and blockchain are helping the insurance industry.


Risk management and IoTs

InsurTech is an umbrella term. What traditionally gets labelled as InsurTech is where you're using technology around processes related to on boarding, policy insurance, KYC and maybe even claims handling. There is one aspect which people generally don’t label as InsurTech: Risk management. For example in marine insurance, they are transiting goods from place to place on vehicles. High value consignments can be lost due to hijacking. If you send a refrigerated carriage, a malfunction or a traffic hold up could also lead to losses.

So right now along with customers we have a sort of management solution where we are able to track the consignment from source to destination, at what point in time it should be at what place. If we see it stopping for an undue period of time or even at some other place, we can send a trigger to the nearest police station. We have been able to stop hijackings in the last three to four years due to this. We have been able to save refrigerated consignments too. There are certain sensors inside which tell you whether the refrigeration is working or not. In motor insurance, we have been offering on board IoT (Internet of Thing) devices along with insurance for about a year now. This helps in tracking vehicles and understanding driving behaviour. Right now we have just 15,000 devices and it is just giving us the basic data to understand and work out these models.


Overall the value of goods saved is large. So IoTs are very helpful in situations like these and also in other places like factories. We work with our customers to try and develop the relevant sensors. For the IoT devices, we work with the partners and we also receive all the relevant data points. Integrating IoT devices is not a challenge, figuring out how to use that data to price the insurance is. A lot of customers like our value added services.

Mobile apps and invisible tech

Today an agent can use a mobile app, so he's able to issue a policy seamlessly in a paperless manner. Even when it comes to claims, when your car meets with an accident, you take it to the garage, which also notifies us with a mobile app. They can even speak it out via the app which gets transcribed. This is notified to the surveyor, who can do a remote survey. The garage just sends a video of the claim. We have done some 5 lakh remote surveys in the last year-and-a-half or so. As our reach increases, it’s very difficult for us to send a surveyor to every small location. Our entire health agency also works on the mobile app. All the agents all use it for the complete on boarding process. On the app, they can see the pending renewals, how they are performing as compared to their peers. Health claims are also

using AI to process claims faster.


So we may use a serious amount of technology behind every claim. But the customer may not know any of it and for him InsurTech is invisible. The only difference he sees is that something that earlier took 2-3 hours may now take minutes. Whatever technology we use, our main aim is to give service in the shortest possible period in the best possible way. We have been in this business long and have been capturing data digitally for long too. We have that rich data that we can feed to the AI models. We use open source and then we have our own team of data scientists that develops its own secret sauce to make our AI-ML models work better. Going forward they will become more and more customize for our line of work.

RPA and blockchain

Robotic Process Automation is also something we've been doing for the last 3-4 years. We have about 350 robots. One area where we are using RPA is for our SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) business. In the smaller towns, agents need quick response from the underwriting, which is usually concentrated in the hub locations. We can’s set up branches all over like most PSUs do, so we used technology in certain insurances where you have to deal with various permutations and combinations.

Using RPA, we based an entire process on email, one of the easiest tools available. So all the agent does is sends the client requirements on the email to a particular ID. The robot reads it, picks up the data, puts it into the system, gets a quote, sends that quote back, all within 4-5 minutes. The agent can even ask for modifications. Once the client is ok with that, he can issue a cheque. Those cheque details are sent back and the policy is issued. The idea is to give someone what they are comfortable with. They may not be comfortable with entering multiple fields in a mobile, which they find cumbersome. In certain cases an email may be better.

We have set up a blockchain concept and partnered with 5-6 other industry players for the no claim bonus. Basically, we have blockchain where we just notify our claims. So if you have a claim with me and you go to a different insurer one can immediately tell whether there is already another claim. Such data exchange can be useful using blockchain.

We went on the cloud about four-and-a half-years back. Before that, some of the cloud technologies were not robust enough to handle the size and complexity of the banking system. It's very critical for the customer that the service should be uninterrupted. There was also the restriction that your data had to reside within the country.