A Glimpse into the Heart of AIA, Sri Lanka’s Best Life Insurance Company – Chief Technology Officer of AIA Insurance Lanka Ltd, Umeshi De Fonseka

According to AIA’s Chief Technology Officer, Umeshi De Fonseka, the organization has always recognized the value of technology and had commenced its digital transformation journey even before the Covid-19 pandemic made it a must for any enterprise. Due to the excellent foundation AIA already had in place, operations and customer service had minimal repercussions during the days when the pandemic wreaked havoc around the world. The team has responded to ever-changing client needs with agility and in alignment with the new reality, thanks to continued technological advancement, and preparedness. The team’s flexibility has allowed them to develop a more personalized approach to customers, allowing them to feel at ease while addressing critical topics. One notable milestone in this mechanism is allowing customers to self-serve through digital channels. 

As Umeshi further pointed out, “It was imperative that we responded with innovation, agility and effectiveness in situations such as these so that we were able to meet any claims and were ready to help our customers while continuing to provide a superlative service.” 

He added, “We continue to introduce and innovate a host of automated services through our contact centre, customer portal and other online channels.” AIA’s fully integrated IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system, which was launched in 2019, was the latest and an industry first at the time, continuing to provide clients with 24×7 uninterrupted automated services in all three languages. He believes AIA is the only company that uses Adobe’s cutting-edge technology for client portals which are focused on giving customers a secure and consistent experience across all of their devices. The project follows human centric design principles, and it was built from the ground up with the objective of intuitiveness and user-friendliness.

The newly revamped end-to-end AIA sales solution MyPoS has proven to be a game-changer for Wealth Planners and Financial Planning Executives’ in connecting with their customers. The platform also covers various critical areas including integrations with workflow, automated underwriting, real-time analytics and dashboards. It also enables AIA’s Wealth Planners and staff to support financial planning through a robust financial needs analyzer with advanced features. According to him, technology is one of the main focuses of the AIA strategy. The plans for the next four years are mapped out, and while the team works towards achieving the sales goals, they take technology with all it offers. As Umeshi noted “We managed to digitize the entire customer journey from the point of solicitation to policy issuance within a period of 100 days making customer convenience the focus of our efforts.

One of AIA’s main advantages, according to Umeshi, is that it is a multinational corporation and can draw on a global, highly experienced IT team to bring the best technology to Sri Lanka. The team comprises a varied group of bright professionals that excel in their respective fields and help bring specialized skills such as cybersecurity, cloud infrastructure, analytics etc. to Sri Lanka rapidly. As per Umeshi, one of the main focus areas for solutions in cyber security is benchmarking with the investment banking industry. When it comes to innovating and benchmarking, AIA has been in the lead for a long time. According to Umeshi, Microsoft Teams and other collaborative platforms were long in use by AIA before it became the new normal for the rest of the country. AIA’s seamless transition in the face of the pandemic has also been featured as a Microsoft customer story last year. 

AIA was also one of the first to industrialize RPA, or Robotic Process Automation, in the industry. He claims that this technology improved the productivity of the team as it worked around the clock when the pandemic hit and was essential in ensuring seamless and faultless work in their daily operations. The company’s flagship Point of Sale (PoS), integrates workflow, document management, payment, and policy admin systems to deliver fast and smooth policy issuance. The ease of access through IOS, Android devices or a web browser and the availability in all three languages is specially designed to cater to the best of local requirements. 

Umeshi also believes AIA’s first enterprise-grade, secures digital signature solutions to be fast, safe, and convenient for both Wealth Planners and customers. Among their many, more firsts are Data Lake on Azure Cloud and using Data Bricks, which plays a vital role in the Analytics pillar. In addition, their first digital payment solution, QuickPay, launched in 2019, making AIA the first to introduce a standing order set up on Quick Pay. 

The latest and the first of its kind Hackathon initiated by AIA was in joint partnership with ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN), a company sponsored by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the International Financial Corporation (IFC) and the ASEAN Bankers Association (ABA). The event will be hosted on APIX and marks itself as another vital step in the AIA revolution with technology. He said, “We are proud to be able to introduce yet another industry-first initiative that will not only help AIA Sri Lanka to find solutions to provide a superior and efficient service to our customers but will also help fintech and insurtech companies to implement their amazing solutions as part of our transformation journey in embracing emerging technologies. Despite most companies struggling due to the challenges brought about by the pandemic, we continued to innovate across multiple disciplines and AIA was able to drive sustainable growth to cater to the evolving needs of our customers. The ‘AIA Sri Lanka Hackathon Challenge 2021’ is a reflection of our continued commitment to laying the foundation towards building a more digitized and stable organization that continues to lead from the front.” 

As Umeshi pointed out, AIA is always expanding their Technology, Data and Analytics landscape and is leading the industry in revolutionary transformation. He concluded that AIA is always on the lookout for extending their horizons and welcoming fresh talent that can add value through innovation and expertise in areas of customer touchpoints, payment collection options, health and wellness and efficient processes.

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