Fo­cus on Tech­nol­ogy Plat­forms

How can In­surance Or­gan­i­sa­tions cash in on Knowl­edge Man­age­ment?

Insurance - - KNOWLEDGE MGMT - by Mo­han Babu by Prashant Bhide

Gen­er­ally, there is not much thought given into the in­tri­ca­cies and the in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness of knowl­edge that flows in­side ev­ery level of an or­gan­i­sa­tion as well as its busi­ness pro­cesses, let alone man­ag­ing the knowl­edge of it. Mo­han Babu & Prashant Bhide tell us all about it and how tech­nol­ogy has a sig­nif­i­cant role to play in this.


“If only HP knew what it knows it would make three times more profit to­mor­row” Lew Platt, ex CEO Hewlett Packard ex­plain­ing the im­por­tance of man­ag­ing knowl­edge within the com­pany.

With a shift from an in­dus­trial econ­omy to a knowl­edge based econ­omy, cus­tomised ser­vice and busi­ness ex­per­tise have be­come the core func­tions of or­gan­i­sa­tions across in­dus­tries. But this econ­omy is char­ac­terised by chang­ing dy­nam­ics and cut throat com­pe­ti­tion. To race ahead and win in this econ­omy, the dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fac­tors are knowl­edge man­age­ment (KM), in­no­va­tion, op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency and tal­ent man­age­ment.

In­surance or­gan­i­sa­tions across the globe are in­un­dated with in­for­ma­tion, both in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally pro­duced. But not much knowl­edge is avail­able ‘hands-on’ to bring in tan­gi­ble busi­ness ben­e­fits. So how are in­sur­ers turn­ing this wealth of in­for­ma­tion into knowl­edge they can use? They do this with knowl­edge man­age­ment – the process of cap­tur­ing in­for­ma­tion, or­gan­is­ing the col­lected in­for­ma­tion and pre­sent­ing it to peo­ple to take ef­fec­tive and timely ac­tion.

The ben­e­fits of knowl­edge man­age­ment can be seen across the in­surance value chain – right from re­duc­ing time to mar­ket for new prod­uct launches, im­prov­ing agent pro­duc­tiv­ity through col­lab­o­ra­tion tools, in­creas­ing cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion through es­tab­lished Fre­quently Asked Ques­tions (FAQs)/ self-help doc­u­ments, and re­duc­ing op­er­at­ing costs by stream­lin­ing and stan­dar­d­is­ing in­ter­nal pro­cesses.

In to­day’s world, more and more in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tions are ex­ten­sively lev­er­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy, to en­hance knowl­edge man­age­ment pro­cesses, equip­ping peo­ple with the right in­for­ma­tion at the right time, thereby achiev­ing in­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity, lower ex­penses and im­proved em­ployee per­for­mance.

Knowl­edge Man­age­ment and the In­surance In­dus­try

Knowl­edge man­age­ment helps the in­surance in­dus­try to gather and col­late; an­a­lyse and eval­u­ate; and present knowl­edge in the most suit­able, ac­cu­rate and ac­tion­able form. The re­sult is an­a­lyt­i­cal knowl­edge drawn from the in­surer's in­ter­nal staff, sys­tems and ex­ter­nal in­for­ma­tion sys­tems that aids the com­pany in mak­ing bet­ter de­ci­sions about ac­cept­ing and re­tain­ing clients, de­ter­min­ing ap­pro­pri­ate un­der­writ­ing fees, man­ag­ing the sales cy­cles, mon­i­tor­ing pol­icy per­for­mance and re­duc­ing the loss of clients due to pol­icy lapses.

In the Asian re­gion, the in­surance busi­ness is ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive, peo­ple-in­ten­sive and con­stantly adapt­ing its pro­cesses to cater to chang­ing con­sumer de­mands. The chal­lenges be­ing faced are:

1. Brain Drain – One of the big­gest chal­lenges be­ing faced by in­surance com­pa­nies to­day is the high turnover of em­ploy­ees, agents, bro­kers and other third party as­ses­sors. When they leave, they take with them the wealth of knowl­edge ac­quired as a re­sult of their as­so­ci­a­tion with the or­gan­i­sa­tion. This re­sults in lower pro­duc­tiv­ity as the on-board­ing time for new hires is high. 2. Lack of Struc­tured In­for­ma­tion – Most in­surance com­pa­nies in this re­gion rely heav­ily on man­ual work. A huge amount of in­for­ma­tion is col­lected in si­los as part of em­ploy­ees’ on­go­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. This un­struc­tured in­for­ma­tion leads to loss of knowl­edge as it is not shared with peo­ple who need it. 3. Di­verse Mar­kets – The Asian mar­ket is very com­plex in the sense that, each of the mar­kets has their own set of busi­ness pro­cesses. Some are ma­ture whereas some are emerg­ing; some are well reg­u­lated whereas some are open. A global in­surance com­pany will have to lever­age their knowl­edge frame­work to stream­line pro­cesses across the mar­ket to achieve op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency. 4. Lack of a Sound Knowl­edge Plat­form – Cur­rently, the in­dus­try does not have a ro­bust knowl­edge plat­form, which can be used to pro­mote a knowl­edge cul­ture within the or­gan­i­sa­tion. With the out­burst of emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy plat­forms, there is a huge op­por­tu­nity for in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tions to ap­ply th­ese and build an in­no­va­tive knowl­edge frame­work.

KM Op­por­tu­ni­ties across the In­surance Value Chain

Knowl­edge man­age­ment is con­sid­ered one of the most im­por­tant pri­or­i­ties that in­surance com­pa­nies need to em­bark upon. There are tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties where knowl­edge man­age­ment can help in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tions de­liver mea­sur­able busi­ness ben­e­fits through­out the in­surance value chain – sales & mar­ket­ing, prod­uct devel­op­ment, cus­tomer ser­vice etc. The fig­ure above shows op­por­tu­ni­ties where a knowl­edge fo­cus, sup­ported by tech­nol­ogy en­ablers can de­liver sub­stan­tial re­turn on in­vest­ments.

Role of Tech­nol­ogy Plat­forms

Choos­ing the right tech­nol­ogy plat­form is a ma­jor de­ci­sion for an in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tion. IT plays an im­por­tant role in im­ple­ment­ing Knowl­edge Man­age­ment. In this sec­tion, we pro­vide an in­sight into a few tech­nol­ogy plat­forms that help in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tions achieve knowl­edge cre­ation, stor­age,

distri­bu­tion and most im­por­tantly, knowl­edge ap­pli­ca­tion.

Con­tent Man­age­ment: En­ter­prise Con­tent Man­age­ment (ECM) tools are used to cap­ture, cat­e­gorise, save, and sup­ply rel­e­vant con­tent and doc­u­ments re­lated to or­gan­i­sa­tional pro­cesses. ECM tools are also needed to au­to­mate pro­cesses in­volv­ing work­flows and doc­u­ment man­age­ment. The un­struc­tured in­for­ma­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion strate­gies would re­main in­ef­fec­tive in the ab­sence of a good con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem. Thus, ECM should be seen as a foun­da­tion to knowl­edge man­age­ment rather than an en­abler. ECM so­lu­tions will lead to higher process ef­fi­ciency in ar­eas such as new busi­ness, un­der­writ­ing and claims.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion: Es­sen­tially, knowl­edge man­age­ment is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort. An as­sort­ment of col­lab­o­ra­tion tech­nolo­gies like cloud and SharePoint can be used to sup­port knowl­edge man­age­ment prac­tices in in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tions. They al­low peo­ple to send se­cure emails, share arte­facts, par­tic­i­pate in dis­cus­sions, blog, web con­fer­ence and do se­cure in­stant mes­sag­ing (IM) – thereby sup­port­ing col­lec­tive learn­ing. A typ­i­cal ex­am­ple would be an agent col­lab­o­ra­tion plat­form, which would al­low agents to col­lab­o­rate more eas­ily with all the stake­hold­ers. Mo­bile tech­nolo­gies and so­cial me­dia have also seen un­prece­dented reach, adop­tion and im­pact. So­cial me­dia can help in­sur­ers pro­mote col­lab­o­ra­tion amongst agents, bro­kers and cus­tomers, while mo­bil­ity could em­power agents with in­for­ma­tion any­time, any­where and on any de­vice.

E-Learn­ing: In global, multi-cul­tural in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tions, there is a huge amount of in­for­ma­tion present across mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions and lan­guages. There is a need for on-job train­ing to en­hance knowl­edge and skill bases, thereby avoid­ing re-in­vent­ing the wheel. Elearn­ing plat­forms are prov­ing to be a re­li­able so­lu­tion to this. Th­ese plat­forms could be used by in­surance bro­kers to en­hance their knowl­edge and skills. Through such cour­ses, in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tions can de­velop a cost ef­fec­tive way to on­board qual­i­fied/cer­ti­fied agents in their field force. E-Learn­ing plat­forms are also be­ing ex­ten­sively used to ren­der “Ap­pli­ca­tion – Knowl­edge trans­fers” to busi­ness users us­ing the IT Ap­pli­ca­tion.

Busi­ness Process Man­age­ment – The in­surance in­dus­try has knowl­edge-in­ten­sive, com­plex and man­ual pro­cesses prone to vi­brant changes of goals, in­for­ma­tion en­vi­ron­ment and lim­i­ta­tions. A typ­i­cal Busi­ness Process Man­age­ment (BPM) Sys­tem for an in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­ports the process life­cy­cle across the en­tire value chain – in­clud­ing process iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, def­i­ni­tion, de­sign, and im­ple­men­ta­tion and mon­i­tor­ing. Thus, in­sur­ers are achiev­ing op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency by build­ing a knowl­edge repos­i­tory of busi­ness pro­cesses and mak­ing it read­ily avail­able to busi­ness lead­ers, which has en­abled them to vi­su­alise and gain hands-on con­trol to im­prove their busi­ness per­for­mance out­comes. Some of the ar­eas where BPM suites help stream­line pro­cesses in­clude claims han­dling, new busi­ness and un­der­writ­ing and billing.


Knowl­edge man­age­ment needs to be deep­rooted in an in­surance or­gan­i­sa­tion’s cul­ture. To gain com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage, in­sur­ers need to make the wealth of in­for­ma­tion ac­ces­si­ble at the fin­ger­tips of peo­ple across the or­gan­i­sa­tion. IT and busi­ness lead­ers should agree upon a knowl­edge strat­egy and clearly de­fine the role that tech­nol­ogy plays. The over­all knowl­edge man­age­ment jour­ney be­gins with un­der­stand­ing the re­quire­ments and in­vest­ing in the right tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions that de­liver mea­sur­able busi­ness out­comes. i

Mo­han Babu is an As­so­ciate Vice Pres­i­dent and In­dus­try Prin­ci­pal who heads In­fosys’s In­surance Prac­tice. He has over 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in in­surance, IT and con­sult­ing and has led sev­eral con­sult­ing en­gage­ments for lead­ing in­sur­ers glob­ally, in the ar­eas of Runoff busi­ness strat­egy, sys­tems con­sol­i­da­tion and mi­gra­tions strat­egy, dig­i­tal strat­egy, op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments, busi­ness process out­sourc­ing as­sess­ment and data stan­dards. Mo­han has an MBA and is a Fel­low of Life Man­age­ment In­sti­tute and As­so­ciate in An­nu­ity Prod­ucts Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Rein­sur­ance Ad­min­is­tra­tion from LOMA. He can be reached at Mo­[email protected]­

Prashant Bhide is a Se­nior Project Man­ager with In­fosys’s In­surance Prac­tice fo­cused on the Euro­pean and APAC re­gions. He has more than 12 years of In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence with Global 500 clients in the In­surance do­main. Prashant’s ex­per­tise and in­ter­est ar­eas in­clude large scale, com­plex pro­gramme man­age­ment, busi­ness devel­op­ment and client en­gage­ments for in­surance cus­tomers. Prashant has a Bach­e­lor De­gree in En­gi­neer­ing from Mum­bai Univer­sity and is a cer­ti­fied Project Man­age­ment Pro­fes­sional (PMP). He can be reached at [email protected]­

With con­tri­bu­tions from Milind Mad­hukar, Se­nior Con­sul­tant and Malini Pandi, Se­nior Con­sul­tant.

One of our clients, a large in­surance com­pany spe­cial­is­ing in Life and An­nu­ities in Mid­west US, had a busi­ness need to change its Dis­abil­ity In­surance claims sys­tem. One of the key chal­lenges they were fac­ing was the lack of a cen­tralised repos­i­tory of...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.