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Getting the best of both Worlds: COO, Reliance Life Insurance

Shubhra Rishi | July 22, 2014
As technology and business become more interdependent, being a jack of all trades is inevitable. Srinivasan Iyengar, COO, Reliance Life Insurance, is leveraging his past experience as CIO to enhance the company’s operations and aligning business with IT.

COOs have a clear opportunity to help define this strategy that underpins a CEOs vision. How practical is this?One of the important aspects of a COOs role is to convert the CEOs vision into a concrete business strategy. For example, in our organization, the vision is to strengthen the quality of business which manifests, from a strategic point of view, into a few areas such as identifying various customer profiles and setting up on-board processes that need to be put in place so that the business can get the right customers in the right manner. At the same time, there will always be a number of ways in which one can approach this vision. Its the COOs responsibility to work with the CEO as well as other CXOs to choose the best available option. This helps in realizing the vision in a given timeline without compromising the principles of an organization and becoming the most practical way to get to the end deliverables.

From a COOs standpoint, how has the insurance industry evolved over the years?

The industry has undergone a huge transformation in the last 14 years. From its privatization in 2000, the biggest change that took place was the evolution of the insurance sectorfrom merely two private players to all the way up to about 24. Regulatory changes have contributed immensely to the growth of the insurance sector.The other big change that took place was the dynamism of the product offering. Instead of classifying policies to be traditional or annuity policies, the industry created different products catering to different customer segments.

Technology plays a major roleespecially analytics and market intelligencein designing a product for a particular segment and making it sharper and more accurate in satisfying a customers requirements. But the most important change that has taken place is that insurance is no longer seen as a tax saving element. Instead, customers are using it as a medium to satisfy their insurance needs.

So what has been your agenda since you took charge at Reliance Life?

At Reliance Life Insurance, we are very clear about the quality of our on-boarding process, and customer service and support. We implemented the pre-issuance verification calling system (PIVC) in more than 900 Reliance Life Insurance branches. With this system, as soon as a policy is logged in, the customer receives a call from us and all major proposal form points are read to him and his concerns are noted. This way, we have been able to reduce customer dissatisfaction levels.

We also revamped our underwriting model so as to reflect a wider spectrum of risk inputs. This way, we have been able to take a balanced risk call which enables us to identify the right risk, give preferential treatment to different segments of the society in terms of life insurance cover, and also helped us reduce the early claims that could come by putting the underwriting model in place.


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