“We started with evaluating the IT infrastructure and equipping our workforce with tools for efficient and productive work from home. From last year’s lockdown situation, we were prepared to tackle the current situation with better IT infrastructure, software and hardware. We have increased our data and information security solutions. We had to handle confidentiality of data and work, safety and security of personal computers and access to specific applications using VPN or cloud proxies. There were initial concerns on how the workforce would be able to work using this remote working construct, however, it was a relatively smooth operation since employees were already familiar with the applications that they had been using to fulfil their work commitments,” Girish Nayak, Chief – Customer Service, Technology and Operations, ICICI Lombard General Insurance told ETCIO.
Cloud is a must
Cloud computing has helped the insurance company to successfully manage remote working. ICICI Lombard started a cloud migration journey in 2013. According to Nayak, they were one of the first financial services companies in India to move to the cloud for testing and development environments. Over time, the company has added productivity applications including the Office suite and other applications along the way.
“Since the year 2016, we have been experimenting with machine learning capabilities and till date, we have several AI/ML solutions including our break-in AI and cashless health claims authorization solutions built on the cloud. As we speak, we have several of our core applications moving to the Cloud to help us build agility and flexibility around each of our applications. We have adopted a phase-wise migration strategy for each of these applications and we are well on track. The newer applications that we build are built directly in the cloud, for instance, our ILTakeCare app which is our one-stop-shop for consumer services and engagement has been completely built in the cloud,” Nayak added.
Ensuring data security
At ICICI Lombard, data security and privacy are of utmost importance. Major investments in technology over several years has resulted in the development of unique industry-first solutions.
“Recently when we transitioned to a remote working environment, we added significant software controls on applications as well as endpoints to ensure the security of the company data. Our strong information security team monitors these controls regularly to ensure compliance. Amongst other things, the team conducts regular simulated phishing attacks and runs awareness campaigns for employees regularly. Periodic security audits of applications and their endpoints are conducted to detect vulnerabilities as well as plug them. We have a risk management framework that gets reviewed and updated periodically by the senior leadership team,” Nayak said.
As soon as the pandemic hit, ICICI Lombard reinforced a work-from-home (WFH) policy. As a part of the policy, there are specific guidelines on how to handle confidentiality of data and work, safety and security of personal computers and access to specific applications using VPN or cloud proxy.
Technology modernising the business model and maintaining efficiency
Over time, the company has adopted several artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) driven solutions both in operations and sales, such as chatbots and RPA; and in service, image and video-based inspections, ICR/OCR and algorithm-based claims authorisations. These new-age technologies have added value to the top and bottom lines throughout the pandemic.
Motor Insurance Business
On the motor insurance front, ICICI Lombard is using Instaspect primarily to help in virtual surveys and evaluation of motor own damage claims. This technology has helped the insurance company in processing claims at remote locations without physically sending the surveyor to the location.
“To date, we have processed more than 1 million claims using this solution. With InstaSpect, a garage operator can conduct a video survey of a vehicle using our mobile app and an ICICI Lombard surveyor can instantly process the claim basis of the video survey. The solution continues to process around 1,200 surveys daily and almost 15,000 digital photographs are uploaded every day through the digital survey process. Capturing these images over the last many years has helped us in creating solutions that are leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning for solutions such as the break-in AI and the claims AI,” Nayak highlighted.
Health Insurance Business
On the health insurance front, in the event of an insured or a beneficiary falling sick and being taken to the hospital, the hospital typically requests a pre-authorisation form from the insurance company to start the treatment. This pre-authorisation is primarily to validate if the insurance policy is in force, whether the treatment that is being taken is covered under the policy and if the treatment costs are also covered.
“Typically, hospitals used to fax these insurance papers and a doctor at our internal TPA would look at these papers and authorize the hospital to start treatment. Such requests used to take us on an average of 90 minutes for authorization. This process is now completely digital where the faxed document is digitized using ICR/OCR techniques. An AI engine decides the admissibility of the treatment based on the policy terms and conditions. And finally, a machine learning algorithm helps to authorise the amount basis the prior history of such claims and treatments in similar hospitals and disease categories. Where the algorithm is not able to authorise the claim, a doctor takes a decision and that gets fed back to make the algorithm better over time. This complete process now takes 90 seconds, this has helped free our doctor’s time to help do more value-added work such as complex claims,” Nayak added.
Strategising IT spending
“As consumer expectations and behaviours change, we believe that the insurance industry will continue to change by embracing newer technology. There will be advanced AI chatbots for virtual insurance advisory; AI detection models that will act as a Digital Claims Adjuster; and ML model as a smart underwriter. The cloud continues to be at the centre of our digital transformation strategy as we continue to grow and adopt newer technology solutions. In the coming years, we will prioritize digital solutions and tech capabilities for maintaining an efficient remote working environment,” Nayak concluded.