The CIO Interview with MetLife Asia Pacific’s CIO Gary Teh: Driving innovation in insurance sector

Zafar Anjum

The value of MULAN to the business is significant.

  • Customer satisfaction: Meeting the needs of customers seeking high-quality anytime (24x7), anywhere, and any device access for their research, purchase and service interactions
  • Efficiency gain: Increase of self-service utilisation resulting in margin improvement achieved through cost avoidance of customer service at branches or call centres
  • Enhanced branding: Recognising MetLife as a technologically advanced company
  • Increased reach: Appeal to new generation of mobile savvy consumers
  • Improved retention: Help to retain and increase market share by contacting customers before their policy-renewal dates and allowing easy renewal through their mobile device
  • Increased margin: Ability to send push/personalised messages to cross/upsell to customers

With MULAN and MOS, we have responded proactively to a very dynamic marketplace in terms of mobile growth in Asia, with truly innovative and channel agnostic solutions.

What are the new trends and technologies on your radar that could radically affect your business? 

Social media and big data are certainly top on our radar.

Typically, customers are very concerned about after-sales service support after they signed up an insurance policy. We are looking to leverage the power of social media to push the envelope on our interactions with customers. We are currently building an app which will allow our customers to create digital legacy and share memories with the people who matter most to them and at the same time extending our connection with them.

Our innovative customer service application called "The Wall", brings together data from more than 70 legacy systems and merges it into a single record. It runs across six servers in two data centres and presently stores about 24 terabytes of data. The Wall was live in U.S. call centres in 90 days and currently handles 45 million agreements with 140 million transactions.

In Asia, we are now leveraging this proven big data experience for our data analytics and predicting modeling. This has allowed us to drive down the investment, complexity and time typically required to build a data warehouse and achieve early business results and greater ROI.

Increasing availability of analytics and big data tools

Regardless of device type, insurers are able to amass a great amount of detailed customer behaviour data. Over time, this reveals a unique behavioural preference for each policyholder that becomes the basis of telematics-enabled underwriting. Like data collection, data management and analytics required to identify and make sense of these behaviours are steep barriers for most insurers. While big data can help to unlock value, build differentiated underwriting and customer engagement offerings, it creates IT complexity and requires the development of new capabilities. It becomes a barrier for those who don't have the IT budgets to justify the big investments required to build big data capabilities.

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