Creating a win-win process

Physics tells us that friction opposes movement, increases effort and wastes energy. Same is true for business processes. Especially in customer facing processes, the amount of friction customers experience can make a difference in their buying decisions. Apart from slow processes, friction can be experienced by customers in the form of excessive documentation requirement, too many steps and too much contact. Let’s take the case of a Life Insurance company who set out to address this friction.

Life insurance Is a highly regulated business (even change in forms require approvals!). It is also a business of risk selection; insufficient due diligence can lead to debilitating payouts. But more than anything else, life insurance is a business of trust.

This company, with aspirations of becoming one of the most admired life insurers began a transformation journey by looking at its business through their customer’s viewpoint. It used customer insighting, surveys and detailed analysis of customer voice including Net Promoter Score (NPS) to identify the unmet and unstated customer needs. It Identified claims and issuance as the 2 journeys that most impact customer decisions on their next purchase and recommendations. They embarked on the theme “insta” for these 2 processes, attempting to complete these journeys in 1 day which would normally take between 3-15 days. In fact, less than 30% was getting done within 1 day.

The company mapped the value stream of each of these journeys to identify opportunities that required the most chase, had maximum rework and experienced most waiting times. It deployed a variety of people, process and technology fixes. On the claims process, one action was to fix accountability at both the front-end and for the case manager. It expanded the processing time at the Central Processing Unit to avoid overnight waiting. The number of documents to be collected were rationalized and non-value added activities eliminated. Similarly, in the issuance processes, the Underwriting team looked for surrogates like credit scores to minimize document collection for income proof. Templates and applications were deployed to minimize omissions and incorrect entries. Aadhar (UID) based authentication was used to autofill and confirm identity, minimizing both document collection and back-end verification. Robotic Process Automation was implemented to ease collection of documents through mail and WhatsApp. These are few of the many changes implemented.

The results were visible starting from the third month. More than 50% claims were decisioned within 1 day in the first phase. In the second phase, the claim remittance was completed in 1 day for more than 50% cases. Similarly, 60% of all policies not requiring a medical test were being issued in 1 day.

This along with other initiatives moved the company towards their vision. The impact was evident when the company was ranked No. 1 in an independent customer loyalty survey conducted by Kantar IMRB. The most important thing to note is that company improved both on revenue and profitability through these initiatives growing 30% in the value of new business. While investing in customer journeys may look like an expense, it finally pays to remove the friction.