Iffco Tokio CIO Brings Down Personal Car Claims Settlement Down to Hours from Weeks

Seema Gaur, Executive Vice President and Head – IT, Iffco Tokio General Insurance works by a very simple philosophy. “You will always meet two kind of people – those who always find faults and say no and those who are forward looking. My philosophy is to always identify the latter, catch hold of them and push my ideas through them as these are the people who will be vocal enough to speak for you at the board meetings rather than getting bogged down by people who are not supportive,” she explains.


This mantra has given her the confidence to experiment with some of the new technologies and niche use cases despite apprehensions by naysayers.


The insurance industry was opened up in 2000, marking the entry of private players into the industry. The result was that a lot of people from the public sector insurance companies joined the private organizations and are today working at senior levels. Many of these people still carry on the old mindset of caution and apprehension. Therefore, it won’t be very uncommon to find a lot of these naysayers in the insurance industry who are opposing of radical and forward looking ideas.


Gaur reminisces one of the management meetings a few months back, wherein Iffco’s promoter remarked as to why the customers have to wait for days to settle their claims and why can’t it be done instantaneously. Gaur decided to give it a shot despite a lot of people around her disapproving, saying it will lead to fraudulent claims and how the conventional process of insurance claim can’t be broken.  


Fast forward today, the company is able to successfully settle all personal car insurance claims, except for those with major damage, within a few hours of filing the claim. This has been made possible by Gaur through an effective and simple use of digital.


All that the customer has to do is call the call center, which directs him/her to the quick claims settlement team which sends a link to the customer’s mobile phone for downloading the quick claims settlement app. The app guides the customer through the step by step process, that includes filling the policy number and other details, clicking photographs of the damaged portion of the vehicle and uploading it along with a scan of the driving license, RC and insurance papers. The moment its submitted, the quick claims settlement team at the backend does the assessment of the damage basis the pictures sent by the customer. The settlement amount is then fed into the software and the customer is sent the notification. If the customer agrees to it, he/she is asked to fill an agreement form and bank credentials along with uploading a scan of the cancelled cheque through the app. Once the details have been filled in and documents uploaded the money remitted to the customer’s bank within 30 minutes.


On an average, the entire process of claims settlement, right from downloading the app to the money getting remitted to the customer’s account gets completed within six hours as opposed to a minimum of a week’s time earlier. However, there have been instances wherein the process has been completed within one and half to two hours. Currently, the company has been settling a minimum of three claims in a day.


This B2C mobile app is just one of the many instances. Gaur’s forward looking streak continues as she works on two more futuristic projects – chatbot and IoT.


To begin with, she is planning to roll out chatbot on the company’s portal by January 2018. This will be able to serve better and handle more number of customers without investing further into the call center operations. Gaur is targeting to handle around 400 calls per day with the chatbot as opposed to the current 50.


The chatbot will initially be helping with post sales servicing for all insurance products and with new policy issuance for the health and motor line of business. The bot will be able to answer queries and meet requirements relating to any kind of servicing post the insurance policy has been issued. For instance, if someone has not received the policy document, the bot will be able to pull out the document and send it to the customer. Or, if the customer wants to know when the policy is getting expired, the bot will be able to help with that. For those who are planning to buy a new health or motor insurance policy, the bot will be able to handhold them through the entire process like informing about the different products, calculating the premium under different permutations and combinations, etc. And, once the customer has decided to buy the policy, direct him/her to the real time back end system for purchasing the policy.


Though starting small, Gaur will be looking at AI integration into the chatbot in the future. Looking at the future, she believes, that one may even expect claims settlement happening through bots in the insurance industry. And, she is ready to tow that line if need be. The chatbot initiative is targeted to cater to the present generation that prefers and is increasingly moving towards self service.


On the IoT front, Gaur has started a pilot with the personal car insurance business. The Idea, she says, is to have quick claims settlement supplemented using an IoT device by integrating it with the Quick Claim Settlement app described earlier. In the event of an accident, instead of the customer calling the call center, the device sends a signal to the call center, which in turn can then proactively calls the customer. It can then not only provide help with the claim settlement but also help in terms of guiding the customer to the nearest hospital or garage or ambulance or other services.


The IoT device can be connected on to the OBD port or the cigarette lighter port of the car. For the device the company has tied up with 2-3 companies on a pilot basis. Currently, the data transmitted by the IoT device includes time and location of the vehicle, extent of damage and the direction of impact. The pilot, which started in August 2017, is currently being conducted in the National Capital Region.


The one thread that binds all these initiatives together is creating service differentiation for the customer. “Today, the customers are more aware. Gone are the days when the agent would recommend a particular policy and the customer would buy that. Hence, in the present highly competitive insurance landscape what really differentiates one company from the other is the service and experience it offers to the customers. Through our various digital initiatives, we are trying to give the customer a good experience and create delight, leading to retention of existing customers and attracting new customers,” explains Gaur.   

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