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Insurance A Tech Savvy Sector

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Sunder Krishnan, EVP & Chief Risk Officer, Reliance Life Insurance and Member – ISACA India Task Force shares the latest developments in the sector

How has the regulations evolved in the life insurance industry?
Some landmark announcements by the Government have been liberalization of insurance in the year 1999 and opening up the sector to private sector. Unit Linked Insurance Plan guidelines 2005 – regulating sale of ULIP also ULIP guidelines 2010 post a turf war with SEBI for regulating profit margins of insurance companies and protecting policy holders. Spate of other reforms to protect policy holders including setting up of IGMS – Integrated Grievance Management System – a unique initiative in the international arena. In addition, Product Guidelines of 2012 sweeping changes in product margins – impacting all products being revamped with effect from October 2013. Compared to US who is an advanced economy and is on a consolidation phase, India health insurance industry is in nascent stages. However, it is a sunrise industry and has immense potential.

Your views on move by IRDA to include banks as insurance brokers?
This is a dynamic move by IRDA to provide freedom of choice to the ultimate customers of the banks. In the current system bank customers are forced to purchase insurance policies of the bank promoted insurance companies.

“India health insurance industry is in nascent stages. However, it is a sunrise industry and has immense potential.”

Tell us some of the innovative products at Reliance Life?
Reliance Life had launched several innovative products in the past. To name few of them, Automatic Investment Plan – a ULIP plan that automatically managed investments of the customers in a systematic manner. And second is Connect to Life – where customers were posed only seven questions and based upon their answers an appropriate insurance policy was offered. With sweeping regulatory changes and all products being revamped by all the insurance companies – the focus is now more on getting the basics right.

Tell us on the role of technology in managing insurance claims and frauds across hospitals to make it easier for patients to cover their medical cost?
Indian insurance industry is one of the top customers of the technology world. While on the architecture side companies use Service Oriented Architecture with multiple portals connected to various business applications, on the operating system space -OS400 – most insurance companies use sturdy and legacy systems running on AS 400 platform with DB2 database. Technology based applications which connect the hospitals and TPA ensure that policy holder details are captured in the systems and merely through a card customers are able to connect to the insurance company for lodging claims.

How an insurance organisation can gear up for best practices in risk management to keep up with emerging technologies?
To keep pace with emerging technologies insurance companies conduct IS risk reviews and IS Audits both at the pre and post implementation stages.

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