WNS Case study - Insurance Center of Excellence

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Published: 16th July 2012
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The client a leading multi-line insurance provider working across life, general and health verticals was looking for innovative solutions to adapt to the dynamic operational landscape. The focus was on combining high levels of operational expertise, tight financial discipline and technological excellence to deliver stronger balance sheets.

To achieve these objectives, the client sought to improve its MIS functions to deliver consistent profitable growth. Its goal was to set up a Center of Excellence (CoE) that would harness the power of predictive analytics and help the company draw better insights into business operations.

The CoE would enable the client to achieve better returns on people investments, improve operational effectiveness and lower costs, leading directly to superior products, better claims and underwriting management. After rigorous due diligence, which involved significant knowledge-related assessment, the client decided to partner with WNS for building a CoE for the MIS function.

The Client's Challenge
The client's MIS team, spread across two diverse geographies, was providing analytics and reporting services to multiple stakeholders, generating close to 4,000 reports per month. However, complex and disparate data sources, and a silo-operating model led to duplication and resulted in 'multiple versions of the truth'. The consequence was unstable reporting to high-value corporate partners, causing discontent and an overall deterioration in customer satisfaction. The client identified people management and service quality as the main concern areas that needed immediate attention. In order to restore stakeholder confidence and customer satisfaction, the client had to surmount the following challenges:

Multiple stakeholders with varying degrees of experience in offshoring
Reliance on manual data collection and use of disparate measuring systems
Inconsistent data leading to ineffective insights from analytics
Lack of ownership of the processes
Limited quality and quantity of documentation and process undertaking
Adverse overall efficiency that distanced report generators from business context
Varied skill sets and competencies leading to ineffective resource utilization
Lack of synergies between the reporting and analytics team resulting in duplication of efforts and inadequate knowledge sharing
Shortage of resources hampering technology-driven reporting and insights delivery
Team focus divided between support and developmental activities
"We've made it difficult for ourselves and have over-engineered things for 'structural' reasons at the expense of being more effective"
- A Client Representative

The Premise
WNS conducted an on-site diagnosis to explore the depth of the client's challenges and suggest a new operating model to leverage an offshore Center of Excellence.
The key directives were to:
Enhance efficiencies: Eliminate redundant work, cut overheads, streamline processes
Improve compliance with global standards
Bring in globally accepted 'best practices'
A three-year transformation process was mutually agreed upon by the client and WNS, with the premise that it would be implemented in four phases.

Figure 1: Represents the four phases of the transformation process, completion so far and the way ahead

In the coming two years, WNS will work closely with the client towards building a single version of truth, bring more functions under the CoE umbrella, further automate the reporting and insights function; and finally move up the value chain with more analytical modeling.

The WNS Approach and Solution
Before designing the solution, analysis was done at three key levels:

Figure 2: Represents the WNS approach to the problem

The analysis threw up some insightful information and identified bottlenecks across four specific areas:
Positional:The MI team was not seen as 'critical' to business operations by key stakeholders and was placed in between data owners and end-users
Operating Model:An inappropriate operating model focusing on efficiency and quality, and in turn, moving the MI team away from the business. Incidence of human and process breakdowns and duplication of reports within and outside the MI team. Inconsistent planning across business units and limited insights
Technology:Ineffective MIS as a result of gaps in data availability, sub-optimal architecture and inefficient Extract, Transform and Load (ETL). Limited use of flexible reporting tools and methodologies
Governance:Governance concerns related to inconsistent definitions, inappropriate data governance and protocols, and high risk of failure between systems and MI production
WNS's Four-Phase Transformation Solution
Having assessed the business case, the WNS analytics team put together a solution to build efficiency and effectiveness by using a combination of people, processes and technology.

During the compilation of this case study, phase 1 had been completed; phase 2 was nearing completion; and the transformation process had made progress into some of the important steps of phase 3.

Phase 1: Setting up of the Center of Excellence (CoE)
After an in-depth analysis of the client's business, WNS assembled a 50 FTE team in Bangalore, India. The overall team balance is now 40% onshore and 60% offshore. While the offshore arm focuses on delivery, the onshore arm is customer facing and interacts with the client and manages the show at the client's end.

Figure 3: The Center of Excellence

Phases 2 and 3: Standardisation & Efficiency Gains. Building Economies-of-Scale / Leverage Business Knowledge
The second phase of the transformation process is nearing completion and some important steps towards implementing the third phase have been taken. WNS has delivered the following so far:
Established a strong transition, complete in all respects and steady-state business-as-usual
Re-aligned and optimized analytics resources - both onshore and offshore
Alignment to client's strategic goals
Established a strong transition, complete in all respects and steady-state business-as-usual
Decision-support by delivering actionable insights and analytics
Risk management and control via governance, program management and performance management using KPIs and SLAs
Improved efficiency through automation of standard reporting procedures and technology-driven data mining
A knowledge armoury establishment, which utilizes the knowledge gained through experience in addressing futuristic business requirements
Fraud analytics model built offshore in partnership with the onshore team
Benefits Delivered by WNS
So far, WNS's solution has yielded benefits and helped the client address issues relating to customer satisfaction and people management. Figure 4 provides a brief summary of the key benefits delivered:

Figure 4: Benefits Delivered by WNS

Enabling Outperformance
The implementation of the first two stages of the Center of Excellence is helping the client drive higher levels of business value through reporting actionable insights and analytics.

It is helping rationalise reporting while streamlining and improving control systems. The client is now able to use predictive analysis to drive insights in support of claim loss, fraud detection and loss prevention. The milestones achieved within a year of the project launch are as follows:
Two months after the go-ahead, recruits were being trained in the UK. Three months later the team was doing work offshore
By about six months, the team started adding insights and commentary
Additionally, the WNS solution brought several benefits that include:
Cost savings through labor arbitrage
Improved customer support and economies of scale through better resource utilization and improved controls
End-to-end accountability for business results and target transformation while jointly leveraging its internal assets and those of WNS
Consolidation and standardization of the processes and rationalized platforms across the business
Laurels for the team
A year into the transition, and the end state team comprising of 40% onshore client employees and 60% offshore WNS employees won the ACE Award (Customer excellence award constituted by the client) as the best internal team within the general insurance division. The ACA is awarded annually, in nine categories, including best internal team, best external team, best innovation and so forth. Within the client organization, many believe, that getting shortlisted is in itself a significant achievement. Winning the award is a milestone!

The award reflects the uninterrupted delivery performance during the transition, high level of motivation and engagement of the team and the significant rebuild activity for the key corporate partner deliverables which restored confidence in the overall service.

Author: WNS Global Services

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