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Most policies being issued via automated channels: ICICI Lombard’s Girish Nayak

Most policies being issued via automated channels: ICICI Lombard’s Girish Nayak
Girish Nayak, chief of customer service, operations and technology at ICICI Lombard.

ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co, the country’s largest non-life insurer in the private sector, has been embedding newer technologies into its core operations as part of efforts to promote efficiency and consolidate its leadership position. 

With the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and allied technologies, ICICI Lombard has been able to speed up insurance claims by drastically cutting down on paperwork and red-tape. On Monday, it announced the launch of an app that facilitates end-to-end claim investigation in a matter of hours.

In an interview with TechCircle, Girish Nayak, chief of customer service, operations and technology at ICICI Lombard, gets into the specifics of how these technologies have transformed operations at the insurance major. 

Edited excerpts:

How is ICICI Lombard using newer technologies such as AI to analyse data and make business decisions?

We recently launched an AI-based mobile platform to verify health insurance claims. We are looking at reducing the time taken to process approvals from a couple of hours to as soon as a minute in some cases. 

When you check into a hospital, your details like insurance, claim, diagnosis, doctor’s statement and the amount that is required for the treatment is filled in real-time. Earlier, insurance providers typically went through the papers and admission approvals would take anything from an hour to two-three hours. 

But with AI, the whole process is automated and the engine also makes a decision on whether the claim is admissible and the amount that is to be authorised. This whole process happens in a minute or two. 

How much of market research and policy issuance has been automated?

Around 90% of the policy issuance is completely through automated channels. 

Earlier, most of our agents used to go around filling forms and clicking photos of vehicles for motor surveys. A year-and-a-half ago, we started a virtual survey where a garage can conduct a video survey of a vehicle using a mobile app, directly video scanning the content to a claim processor who is sitting at a central location. This has made the process quicker. 

There’s a new feature on our app, too, where in case you have an accident, you can get in touch with an agent via video streaming and do the survey on the spot where you’ll get to know the amount that is applicable for a claim and get help with finding the right garage for repairing the vehicle.

Is ICICI Lombard working on blockchain technology or a related protocol? 

We have started the blockchain initiative in the country along with a couple of other peers in the industry. Unfortunately, since we are still in the process, I cannot give many details.

What kind of chatbot-based technology is being used to better customer experience?

We are using AI-based chatbots to allow customers to buy two-wheeler insurance, renew health and motor policies. Customers who don’t like to call can easily communicate via the chatbots. Payment facilities are also available through chatbots. 

We have introduced robotic assistance solutions using a chatbot platform called MyRA for issuance using natural language processing (NLP). 

Most of our backend is managed by RPA (Robotic Process Automation). Over the last couple of years, a lot of repetitive manual processes have been significantly automated using RPA. It has definitely helped in speeding up processes and reduced expenditure in that area.

How much have you invested in emerging technologies so far and when do you expect to see returns?

I think we are one of the largest investors in technology among our peers. We have used technology to make our processes more efficient in terms of reducing costs and also providing faster services for customers. 

For the standard automated project, we are supposed to look at the RoI (Return on Investment) and then make an investment. But when it comes to some of the newer technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain, they are presently a part of our R&D as we want to invest in them and see how efficient they are. Until you dirty your hands, you will not know how it works. That’s why we don’t want to look at RoI - we want to see how we can utilise technology.

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