Discussing what an AI-driven future holds in store for humans with Dr. V Kamakoti

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the focal point of a lot of debates in the technology industry. These debates range from ‘The benefits and challenges that accompany AI’ to ‘How AI can help pave the way to the future.’ TiE-Chennai and CAMS recently collaborated to host a discussion on the “Boons and Banes of Artificial Intelligence” with Dr. V Kamakoti as the main speaker. Dr. Kamakoti is a Professor in the Department of Computer Sciences and Engineering, IIT-Madras. The focus of this discussion was to analyze the extent of integration required to ensure Artificial Intelligence functions at an optimum level and how it could improve the efficiency of performing daily tasks.

During his talk, Dr. V Kamakoti highlighted the effect these AI-based technologies have on the way that businesses operate and succeed. He further delved into whether AI would overpower humans in the future – which is a growing concern with rapid advances in AI technology. Conversely, Dr. Kamakoti also spoke about the extent to which AI-based technologies can assist humans in the near future. He foretold that each technology that we see as AI right now would be democratized over the course of a few years.

However, the question about AI overpowering humans has spawned a long-drawn debate. As Dr. Kamakoti puts it, “If AI can solve our day-to-day problems, we will see it as a boon. But if it creates machines that can replace humans and affect their livelihood, we will consider it a bane.” But will all forms of AI intervention be considered a bane? Certain industries that thrive on automation, such as the manufacturing industry, would flourish if the factor of human error is eliminated completely. By introducing intelligent machines to handle mundane and repetitive jobs, AI can speed up business processes and make the entire operation cost-effective. This would boost the company’s bottom-line and improve the opportunity for success.

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In the Indian market, however, there is the issue of social acceptance. The recurring argument about this adoption has been the effect it will have on the employability of certain individuals in their current job-roles. While automation has already affected people in the same capacity, adopting AI-based technologies and tools would put the onus on humans to push their thinking forward and take up job-roles that require them to be more human. This would include jobs in psychiatry, counselling, teaching, and other intuition-based jobs. Jobs like manufacturing, coding, and data management could easily be automated and replaced with AI.

Nevertheless, by improving the proliferation of AI-based technologies across the country, we can also ensure there’s a deeper penetration of AI tools. Implementing these practices and making use of these tools can help transform the skillset of our workforce into a more creative or intellectual one. AI systems can perform well-defined mundane tasks at scale in less time. In the current scenario, adopting AI tools and technologies is the need of the hour to drive operational excellence and help businesses succeed.

On a concluding note, Dr. Kamakoti emphasized that the adoption of AI systems and tools can reduce human errors in every industry without removing the human aspect of each action. But this advanced level of automation can, in turn, affect the employability of the nation’s workforce. It is, therefore, critical to find the right balance between the new, ground-breaking technology and existing systems that are currently in place. With humans and AI complementing each other, the economic future of our country can be very bright indeed.

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BCP Assurance against the unforeseen

10-second takeaway: In order to constantly deliver exceptional service to partners, CAMS has launched a new site as a home for its Business Continuity Plan (BCP). The new BCP site in Coimbatore will ensure CAMS’s services are always available in a seamless manner regardless of any unprecedented events.

As a technology-driven business enabler for the financial sector in India, CAMS has had the opportunity to provide exceptional value to various BFSI players in the financial services industry.

CAMS processes nearly 20 crore transactions annually for the Mutual Fund industry on their proprietary technology platform and infrastructure, powered by a vast network of front offices across 270 locations and centralized back offices at Chennai and Coimbatore providing 24×7 accessibility around the year to investors and distributors alike.

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At the heart of its operations, the company believes in providing uninterrupted and seamless services to all its clients. With this in mind, CAMS has invested in setting up a specialized Business Continuity center. This center has been set up in the city of Coimbatore and acts as a supporting and disaster-proofing structure. This data center ensures continuity in business processes in the face of any natural calamity.

On the 1st of December, CAMS unveiled the new BCP center in Coimbatore as part of its drive to improve its technology infrastructure. The event was attended by the Heads of Operations and Technology of its various clients who interacted with the BCP team at Coimbatore. The clients expressed delight and satisfaction at CAMS’ preparedness and investments to assure business continuity at its highest standard.

The identical data centers in Chennai and Coimbatore are equipped to perform in all functions even in a stand-alone capacity, if the need arises. This also adds a layer of redundancy to the data, increasing data security. A site like this essentially states the major functions of the business, identifies which processes need to be sustained, and details how to maintain them. The focus continuity is bearing in mind the various possibilities of business disruptions. These could range from cyber-attacks to natural disasters, making it absolutely vital for CAMS to have a risk-mitigation plan to preserve the health and reputation of its processes. The functionality of the BCP site will be put through rigorous testing frequently through periodic simulation.

The enhanced center in Coimbatore will take Business Continuity to the next level with dedicated resources carrying 30% of critical activities simultaneously on a permanent basis. Alongside the data center, CAMS has also reinforced its technology infrastructure by building improved redundancy which includes better network connectivity between Chennai and Coimbatore by subscribing to NLD (National Long Distance) lines and extra bandwidth for MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) lines.

This development stands as a testament to CAMS’ dedication to ensuring there are no interruptions in the many services it offers to its clients, investors, and distributors.

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The overall goal of such a site is to eliminate or minimize the impact of an event on the business. The new site in Coimbatore also plans to improve the employment opportunities by creating an additional 450 jobs by March 2018.

The BFSI Industry is constantly making new headways into the digital realm and the need-of-the-hour is seamless and secure digital services that are available when clients and customers require it. This need is enhanced by critical functions being in play around the clock, across the globe. CAMS meets this need through a robust Business Continuity Plan paired with state-of-the-art infrastructure, the latest technology and highly committed personnel to deliver value to every stakeholder, even in the face of disasters.

How leap-frogging technology can help reshape the insurance industry in India – S. V. Ramanan, CEO-CAMSRep

10-second takeaway: Technology is evolving rapidly and many insurance organizations are challenged to keep up the pace.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) held the 10th edition of their Global Insurance Summit on the 22nd of September, 2017. This event was held at the Hotel Taj Land Ends, Mumbai, and hosted key stakeholders and thought leaders in the insurance industry. The discussions held at this event aimed to highlight the impact of technology on the insurance industry.

S. V. Ramanan, CEO-CAMSRep was part of a panel discussion at this event where they discussed “The impact of technology on the life cycle of products, lead generation, acquisition, KYC and service settlement”. This discussion was also attended by R. M. Vishakha, Samrat Das, Trevor Bull and Srinivasa D (Moderator). This panel discussion focused on how technology has disrupted the insurance industry impacting their product lifespans, lead generations and service standards. Technology is growing by leaps and bounds, and industries such as insurance need to be prepared to adapt to these developments. Innovations such as these would require the vendors to modify their offerings and would improve the expectations of their customers.

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During this panel discussion, S. V. Ramanan highlighted the pace at which technologies have evolved and how many insurance organizations are now being challenged to keep up with these changes. Further into the discussion, he spoke about how insurance repositories have turned into a platform which would help insurers underwrite better and identify gaps much faster. Along these lines, not only has CAMSRep has worked on improving Customer Service and Claims, it also has deployed predictive analytics to help improve persistency for life insurance companies.

In simpler terms, it helps companies simplify the customer on-boarding process. He further added that CAMSRep makes the most optimal use of current technologies rather than awaiting potential future developments. We have all seen success in cases where social media has helped allocate agents to potential customers. A similar focus helps these agents have conversations with customers beyond insurance products, in turn, building a level of trust and a better bond.

In the end, the key takeaway from the panel discussion was that technology is evolving rapidly leading to process improvement while opening new avenues for customer engagement. It is critical for insurance organizations to keep up with these developments so as to ensure customer centricity and business growth.

Cafémutual Confluence, 2017 – Anuj Kumar, COO – Asset Management Services, on how there is a need to improve the number of distributors

10-second takeaway: There is a dire need to better train the distributors to understand and utilize the technology at their disposal to better meet constantly evolving customer expectations.

Cafémutual Confluence is the largest mutual fund distributor conference in India, attracting close to 400 distributors, and many other thought leaders and stakeholders across the industry. The sixth edition of the event was held on September 22nd at the Sahara Star, Mumbai with “Play big, think bold” as the central theme. The deliberations aimed to set the agenda for AMCs and distributors to work together to expand the industry and set new standards.

Anuj Kumar, COO-Asset Management Services, CAMS participated in a panel discussion at this event. The topic of this discussion was “Reinventing Distribution – Top distributors will look at how regulatory actions, evolving customer expectations, and technology will require a re-engineering of the distribution/advisory model”. This discussion was also attended by Dhruv Mehta, Jignesh Desai, Nitin Singh, Rajesh Krishnamoorthy, Suresh Sadagopan and Sanjay Sapre (Moderator). The focus of this discussion was the decrease in the total number of serious intermediaries and the dire need to have a mechanism to improve the number of distributors. The need to improve this solely rested on the vacuum that exists due to the availability of data but the lack of actionable insights. Revamping the distribution model to attract and train smarter distributors would help AMCs and other stakeholders improve the sales of their offerings. In short, there is a dire need to better train the distributors to understand and utilize the technology at their disposal to better meet constantly evolving customer expectations.

During this panel discussion, it was noted that inflows were coming in primarily from existing investors and a few newly added investors. Some of the suggestions made to increase the number and quality of distributors were:

  • Create an ecosystem comprising of the AMFI and the IFA which promoting it as a full-time profession.
  • Engage with the government and introduce mutual fund distribution in commerce and economics courses.
  • Highlight the enormous potential the business holds, to prospective entrants.
  • Instill a sense of pride in distribution – ensure that distributors understand that they are delivering an important service and that they are engaged in a ‘noble profession’.

During this panel discussion, Anuj Kumar underscored the need for a ‘superior enablement’. He went on to further highlight that this would entail imparting the right training and providing distributors with intelligence as to where the wealth and surplus lay. This training would comprise improving distributors’ ability to sell, developing their presentation skills, and ensuring they get the right inputs and pointers to succeed in the field. This would ensure that distributors not only feel more confident but also realize that they’re well appreciated by the IFA community.

72% of life insurance policies are not continued beyond five years: Know why

For the insurance industry as a whole, persistency ratio is crucial from the standpoint of customer retention and profitability. Persistency rate is the percentage of the insurer’s total insurance policies that remain in force without being lapsed. In simpler terms, it is the total percentage of all written policies that are renewed by the insured annually. For insurers, the effect of policy lapses is much larger. The lower the persistency ratio, the higher the operating expense ratio. The problem of low persistency is deeply entrenched and requires addressing product design, customer relationship management, and agents’ selling practices.

In 2015-16, the average persistency rate for life insurance policies in the 13th month was just 61% according to the IRDAI. This is quite an alarming state as compared to the global average of 90% for the same time period. This rate reduces to just 28% in the fifth year indicating the sharp decline in renewals on these policies. This low persistency rate is acutely low and is clearly hurting insurers. However, the influencers of persistency rate are all three key stakeholders: insurers, agents and customers. The question that arose next was about how we can improve the persistence rate in our offerings.

CAMSRep’s iCARE is a proprietary solution that was built to improve persistency for the life insurance industry. It enables the upload of data from insurer systems, analytics, seamless call centre operation and campaign management.  Its feature-rich tools provides insightful dashboards and real-time metrics to the operations team. The inbuilt communication engine/capabilities ensures updated to policy-holders through their choice of channels. This solution helps CAMSRep’s clients improve their CRM and identify areas of development. With the power of real-time data, insurers can now modify their offerings and services to provide the best experience to their customers. It provides analytics that help identify customer segments that aid in call prioritization and offers the customer’s unique history with the particular insurer. This further funnels into database enrichment and MIS, helping manage productivity and customer satisfaction. But the functionality of this solution is not just in identifying areas of development and offering solutions, but in helping resolve them directly with the customers. The communication channels currently offered by iCARE are SMS, email, phone calls and letters. The choice of medium rests with the client.

The revolutionary and industry-leading capabilities of CAMSRep’s iCARE was nominated and won the award in the Best Newcomer category in the recently held Asia Insurance Technology Awards, 2017.

CAMSRep is an IRDAI licensed insurance repository offering its services to a large number of insurers in India. With over 8 years’ experience in this field, CAMSRep helps policy holders buy and keep insurance policies in electronic form. In addition to this, CAMSRep also offers its expertise as a business solutions partner to large insurers.

 

Suresh Kuppuswamy, CEO, Sterling Software, speaks about the future of Bitcoins, Blockchain and Distributed Autonomous Organizations at TiE event.

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A TiE-Chennai event titled “Bitcoins, Blockchain and Distributed Autonomous Organisations” was held on 24th May, 2017 at IITMRP. The event was moderated by Mr. Suresh Kuppuswamy, CEO, Sterling Software Pvt Ltd (a CAMS subsidiary). The focus of the event was to discuss:

  •   The evolution of blockchain and bitcoin
  •   The reasons for a transition from centralised
    organisations to distributed autonomous organisations
  •    Applications of the blockchain beyond Fintech
  •    Future of organisations and the role of
    Blockchains

 

The two blockchain technologies experts in
attendance were:

  •  Mr. Karthik Iyer, India Ambassador, P2P Foundation
  •  Mr. J Mohamed Zahoor, Software Developer, Ethereum Foundation

 

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and digital payment system that has attracted the attention of financial systems worldwide and sent ripples across the financial sector. This system was created in 2008 by an anonymous person identified as Satoshi Nakamoto and was released as open-source software in 2009. According to a recent research by Cambridge University, there are between 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin. The transactions take place between users directly and do not rely on a central repository or single administrator. Instead, these are verified by network nodes and recorded on a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Due to this, bitcoins have become the first decentralised digital currency.

 

The event first addressed the concepts of bitcoins and blockchains, and mapped their impact on a larger scale before moving on to the importance of distributed ledger systems and how they might affect the centralised systems in existence today. Bitcoin, blockchain and other decentralized data technologies are not just changing the way some people transact and share data but could also transform the way global data is stored, shared and consumed. Their emergence and proliferation into the mainstream is set to create a radical shift in business, the social web and even in digital governance.

 

Sterling Software is a leading technology and software solution provider, largely for the mutual fund industry in India and overseas. They design software solutions and products to keep pace with today’s changing market place. Its software applications and products, support all participants in the MF industry, be it the fund house, the distributor and/or the investor. In addition to that, Sterling Software has a large pool of in-house expertise to regularly develop appropriate and advanced technology requirements. Their products have won various awards, including three consecutive “Best Financial App” from the Global Mobile App Summit & Awards for “myCAMS”.

 

About Sterling Software

 Sterling

Sterling Software Pvt. Ltd. is a software enterprise based in Chennai, India, offering products and services in a range of industries, with its specialty being finance and mutual funds. It is an associate of Computer Age Management Services (P) Ltd. (CAMS), India’s premier mutual fund transfer agency trading over 60% of mutual fund transactions in India.
Sterling Software is the company behind the software innovations offered by CAMS in the mutual fund space in India. The same technological expertise that powered the mobile apps, business analytics tools, lean software, transaction processing capabilities of more than 15 resource-intensive, mission-critical and time-sensitive mutual funds are now available for your business.

CAMSRep CEO leads a discussion on the power of creating your own market at the 2nd Annual Insurance India Summit and Awards 2017

 

For the insurance industry to evolve, it needs to cater to the needs of the digitised population. Of late, insurers have derived growth mainly by improvising product offerings as per people’s aspirations, adopting vibrant distribution channels and reaching out to potential customers through targeted promotional activities. Some of the factors expected to propel the growth of this industry are the ever-growing middle class, expanding working age population and increasing disposable income levels. Additionally, the Government of India’s initiatives that work towards attaining financial inclusion are expected to further offer support for this growth.

 

Given the increased focus on the customer, the “2nd Annual Insurance India Summit and Awards, 2017” held in Mumbai served as a platform for industry stakeholders to discuss how they can realize the potential of the sector in the digital age. The theme for this summit was “Future crafting the Insurance Industry” which covered several themes including:

  •  The ongoing changes in the 3C’s of the insurance industry – cost, customer and competitors
  •   Consumer values
  •   Re-insurance
  •   Technological disruptions
  •   Digitisation

 

These points of discussion were evaluated from the insurance industry’s perspective to help key players build operational excellence and work towards developing new products.

 

A key highlight at the event was a panel discussion on “The power of creating your own market-marketing and innovation, when two worlds collide”, moderated by Mr. S V Ramanan, CEO, CAMSRep.  The eminent panellists discussed a wide spectrum of topics such as

  •  Having a digital marketing presence that sells
  •  How to make competition irrelevant – rethinking marketing strategy
  •  Increasing investments in technology and digitization to create a harmonious ecosystem for all stakeholders
  •  Evolution of business from survive to thrive in a disruptive marketplace

 

The panel comprised distinguished industry experts such as  Shalabh Saxena, Chief Operating Officer, Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance,  Gunjan Ghai, Senior Vice President – Brand & Marketing and Product Development, SBI General Insurance,  Anamika Roy Rashtrawar, Senior President, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, Ashish Rao, SVP & Head – Customer Service, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and Mr.  S. V. Ramanan, CEO & MD, CAMSRep who moderated the discussion.

 

Other prominent guests at this event included:

  •   Vinit Goenka, CMO & CRIS Centre for Railway Head – Digital Information System
  •   K Sanath Kumar, CMD, National Insurance Company
  •   Tapan Singhei, MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance
  •   Ashish Mehrotra, MD & CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance
  •   Krishnan Chatterjee, Head of Marketing, SAP Indian Subcontinent

 

About CAMSRep

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CAMSRep is an Insurance Repository that helps policy holders open unique eInsurance Accounts (eIA), letting them hold all their policies in electronic form, under a single account. Electronic policies are convenient and safe, eliminating the risk of damage and loss of documents.

CAMSRep also acts as a single point of service for all ePolicies held by a policy holder, making it convenient to get service on demand – policy holders don’t really need to go to multiple agents or insurance companies for their service requirements in respect to each of their ePolicies.

Apart from repository services, CAMSRep also provides outsourcing services to multiple Insurance Companies in accordance with IRDAI regulations. We serve some of the leaders in the insurance industry and our service excellence has helped our clients deliver superior service to their customers.