SBI Life’s New CRM, a Model for other Insurance Companies

While most Indian insurers are busy re-architecting their IT to be compliant with the new and improved norms specified by Insurance Regulatory and Development Agency, SBI Life’s getting ahead of competition and future-proofing their success with a new CRM solution.

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Organization: SBI Life Insurance is a joint venture between State Bank of India and BNP Paribas Cardif., wherein SBI owns 74 percent of the total capital and BNP Paribas Cardif the remaining 26 percent percent. The company has 600 branches across the country but heavily leverages the SBI bank branched to cross sell products and as well as a significant touch point for the customers. Apart from SBI, the company also has tie ups with AP-Online franchise, MP-Online and Citi Union bank as well as the ATMS of the banks all of which serve as customer touch points for SBI Life Insurance customers.

Case Study Highlights

  • New CRM system has improved transparency, brought down complaint resolution time and cuts across all customer touch points
  • Allows a single view of the customer and follows it within the hierarchy, and offers a summarized view for the management to see

Business case: To help other bank systems function as SBI Life’s customer touch point, the insurer has created a service layer that connects to the bank system, which sits in all their branches as well as other customer touch points such as the ATMs. It integrates with the front end of the bank systems, such that when it is queried, it traverses to the SBI Life insurance’s IT systems to throw out relevant information. SBI had an in-house CRM system that would serve as a complaint and lead management system, but was soon found to be wanting by Parameswar Menon, vice president and head – Customer and Partner Channel Systems, SBI Life Insurance. The existing system would capture customer interaction recorded only at the branch level. “With the rise of the internet and mobility, we realized our customers need to be serviced through multiple channels; this could be either through mobile solutions, or maybe through an automated chat on our website, “explains Menon. “Our goal was to provide the customer a uniform and consistent service experience across all touch points. To allow this, the service agent must have the history of customer interactions,” explains Menon.

The existing CRM at SBI Life had reached an inflection point. “We wanted a system that could offer richer turn around time, be more scalable and that can create technical readiness for future requirements driven by mobility and social media,” says Menon. Around the same time as the company was debating upgrading their CRM, came the IRDA regulation that specifies the timeframe in which insurance companies must resolve complaint and also its process. To do enable this, insurance companies must have a complaint tracking model that can be integrated with the regulator, such that they can have a clear and transparent view of the status of customer service in the country.

Project: That sealed the decision for the company. The only other thing they had to consider was whether to build on their existing solution or buy a new one. “We decided to buy a new solution because we wanted to incorporate some of the best practices that we need to follow,” explains Menon. SBI Life chose CDC Software’s Pivotal CRM as their solution.

One of the biggest challenges was to integrate the data from the existing systems with the new solution. This was made relatively easy by the solution’s plug and play modules. The same module also allows integration with the IRDA portal such that the regulator can query the system to track complains. With the new solution, SBI Life can efficiently service any query/compliant because they have a consolidated view of all the past payments and history of customer interaction at their finger tips allowing for faster resolution and immediate escalation for problem that require deeper investigation. “For every complaint we receive, we have a corresponding token from the regulator which tracks the resolution and defines the turn around time,” explains Menon.

For example, the regulator allows for three days from the complaints being generated to the acknowledgement received by the customer from the bank. This is available for both the regulator and SBI life to see online. Similarly, IRDA has defined the complaint lifecycle of different types of complaint. “Certain complaint where there is investigation involved a certain breadth of time of defined.” With the new system, the company can record not just the queries of existing customer but also the initial interactions with potential customers. “This helps us understand customer behavior; what people are looking for, why they chose the solutions they do,” explains Menon.

Benefits: With a central monitoring team, the management can decide which complaints can be handled by the service agent and which need to be escalated to the next level. “It allows a single view of the customer and follows it within the hierarchy, and offers a summarized view for the management to see," says Menon. SBI Life now has a spanking new CRM system that has improved transparency, brought down complaint resolution time and cuts across all customer touch points. Moreover it is one of the first insurers that is compliant with the new IRDA regulation, allowing for seamless transfer of information and transparency. In fact this solution is being considered by IRDA to serve as model for other insurers who will soon have to comply with the norms. With the new solution SBI life is ready to take the next step of servicing customers through new and emerging touch points such as mobile and social media, giving it a definite competitive edge.