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How Technology Powers IndiaFirst Life to go Paperless

For an insurance business to go paperless is remarkable. For most people, the word insurance brings to mind images of long forms to be filled out, and endless photocopies to be submitted.

Author:Sankaranarayanan Raghavan | Date:07 Dec 2023 | Time:08:35:00

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For an insurance business to go paperless is remarkable. For most people, the word insurance brings to mind images of long forms to be filled out, and endless photocopies to be submitted. We changed that at IndiaFirst Life by going paperless – living up to our CustomerFirst promise – much to our customers’ delight and convenience.

It helps that IndiaFirst Life Insurance was born digital. From day one (back in 2009), we've considered technology as an enabler in our journey of being CustomerFirst. Our investment in technology has not just allowed us to be highly competitive in the market, it has also enabled us to put our customers at the center and technology at the fore by simplifying the entire journey.

Take, for instance, our launch of the instant policy issuance facility. As the CTO, I still remember the day. It was January 2022 and the room was buzzing with excitement, the air thick with anticipation. The process of insurance application and issuance had been automated – an Industry-First, I might add – and the time taken for issuance had been brought down. For the customer, it was just a matter of minutes between our salesperson uploading the data and the policy landing in the customer’s inbox. Point to be noted: No paper involved.

The traditional way of onboarding a customer – a lengthy, cumbersome process involving cheques and manual verification. Now, with integration of UPI, bank account verification has become instantaneous, efficient and with a significantly lower chance of error. UPI has simplified the onboarding process while also cutting out a lot of paper. Our customers don’t have to worry about printing and attesting a laundry list of documents and then submitting them to their insurance agent any longer.

IndiaFirst Life has even made the claims process paperless. Typically, the customer had to submit hard copies of death certificates, medical reports or FIR reports along with a copy of a cancelled cheque at the service provider’s branch office; these documents would then be couriered to the head office, where they would be scanned and processed manually. This used to be a time consuming and error-prone process. Inevitably, given the thousands of sheets of papers in play, some documents would be lost or missing – which would lead to an additional burden on the customer.

By eliminating so many paper trails, we have immeasurably simplified the insurance process for our customers. For instance, we offered our customers the option to go paperless and email or upload documents to our website four years ago. For the customer, this is not just convenience, it’s also a matter of transparency. They are able to easily track which documents they have uploaded, and they can also track the progress of their claim online.

Going paperless has benefitted our employees and value chain partners as well. This ensures more error free transactions and less need for follow ups, allowing them more time to service our ever-growing customer base.

While our customers and partners are delighted with our paperless journey, we are conscious of the immense ESG benefits too. There are estimates that one ream of paper (500 sheets) uses 5% of a tree. By reducing paper requirements to almost zero (there are still a few instances where we need to store paper documents), we are able to save innumerable trees, thus enabling more carbon capture, reducing waste pollution, and creating a positive environmental  impact.

Going paperless has been an all-round win for all our stakeholders. And it definitely adds to the ‘feel-good’ feeling that insurance brings to our lives.

BY

Sankaranarayanan Raghavan

As the Chief Technology and Data Officer at IndiaFirst Life, Sankaranarayanan Raghavan is responsible for technology, data and data sciences strategy, implementation, and efficiency monitoring. He has over 30 years of experience in life insurance, digital strategy and business management. Prior to joining IndiaFirst Life, he was the chief operating officer of Aegon Life Insurance Company. His career includes stints with Aegon Life Insurance, HCL Technologies, Computer Sciences Corporation India and Life Insurance Corporation of India. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science and an MBA from Bharathidasan University. He has also completed the post graduate programme in management for senior executives from the Indian School of Business (ISB) and is currently a fellow of the Insurance Institute of India and the Life Management Institute.

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