Mobility, once perceived as security nightmare by IT teams, is today being employed by the same community to offer usable benefits to business. Top enterprises are embracing mobility not only to stay relevant to customers but also to improve productivity of their operations. In this case study, we examine how a leading insurance carrier from India, Chola MS General Insurance Company, managed to transformed its motor claims process, obtaining real business benefits with the help of mobility.
A JV between Murugappa Group and Japan’s Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, Chola MS sells insurance products across accident, engineering, health, liability, marine, motor, property, travel, and rural insurance categories. It has an expansive network of 105 branches and 9,000-plus agents in India. Targeting individual as well as corporate segments, Chola accomplished Rs 1,855 crore gross written premium (GWP) in 2013-14. The company wanted to streamline its time consuming and manpower intensive motor insurance claims process in 2013. For Chola MS, ‘motor claims’ constitutes a major portion (between 60% and 70%) of its total claims.
The process-related issues
The motor claims assessment function at Chola MS involved a site visit by a surveyor who would photograph the vehicle (at the accident site or workshop) with a Kodak digital camera. The surveyor would then return to office to scan suitable documents and to collate and feed claims information into the system. These scrutiny records would then be sent to claims team that either authorized or modified the assessments.
The old process was riddled with a few challenges. It took more than 24 hours for every claim to be assessed fully. The surveyor could barely visit three sites in a workday as he had to return to office after every site-visit and send a report to the assessment team. The multiple trips from site to office and then again to a new site proved time consuming as well as costly.
The business and IT teams at Chola MS felt a need to make the entire process efficient with the help of technology. The insurer’s key solution partner, Mastek Ltd, proposed the use of Android-based tablet with a surveyor app as a solution. Chola MS gave Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tabs to its surveyors. Mastek developed a surveyor app for Android platform and installed it on the surveyors’ tablets.
The solution enabled the surveyors take photographs, scan documents, enter information, or to easily create new surveys on the fly. The app provided for a smooth integration with popular scanning apps like Camscanner, thus simplifying the work of Chola’s surveyors. What’s more, since most application-features, barring data synchronization, could be used in offline mode, it allowed surveyors to work peacefully even in the remote areas that had zero connectivity.
The primary gains
Chola MS’s mobility solution implementation has eliminated the need of surveyors having to return to base after every site visit. Now the surveyors are able to perform all activities, such as data entry, clicking photos, scanning documents, etc., while on field. This change has had two-fold benefits. A surveyor can complete five site visits in a day, thus achieving a productivity gain of 66%. The solution drastically reduced travel-costs as surveyors do not have to return to office after every site visit.
As the app allowed for GPS tagging of images, senior officials at Chola MS can keep a close eye on surveyor-movement. The app has made it easier for back-office teams to view the surveyors’ current locations to assign nearby visits to them, thus saving time and cost.
Prior to the implementation, the claims data was spread across multiple machines used by surveyors at different offices of Chola MS. Now the synchronization feature of the app ensures that the claim assessment teams and senior officials get a centralized view of all survey data in near real time. This helps officials to recognize trends and take quick decisions if required.
Post-implementation, the surveyors are not required to carry multiple devices such camera, mobile phone, laptop, etc. with them as earlier. A light-weight and small form factor tablet is enough to do the work. The freely available applications such as GPS navigation help the surveyors to reach the accident / workshop site without delay. Having the latest technology gadget has also made the surveyors at Chola happier than before, thus boosting their morale.
Commenting on the mobile solution project, S.S. Gopalarathnam, Managing Director, Chola MS said, “This is a great achievement wherein technology has collaborated with claims in delivering a workable, cost-effective and simple solution to a complex issue of claims management and reduced turn-around time for settlement of the motor claim.”