India: Experts Help MetLife Develop Web-Based Benefits Platform

Last Updated: 27 January 2005
Article by Mishra MISHRA Kailash

MetLife's Institutional line of business asked experts to work with the eBusiness application development team to help it establish and build an integrated service portal. The new portal would provide a single point of access to all products and allow individuals to perform online self-service such as enrollment, benefit inquiry and other transactions using electronic signatures. Based on experts' industry-specific knowledge and technology experience, MetLife asked the experts team to concentrate on the development and implementation of an Internet-enabled enrollment and service system. Expert team worked with MetLife Institutional Business leadership to:

  • Analyze current enrollment processes
  • Identify opportunities for leveraging technology across the various product lines
  • Develop business requirements
  • Participate in the technical design and development
  • Present a proof of concept using Web services that allows for integration with MetLife's multiple back-end systems
  • Implement an initial online Internet enrollment application
  • Deliver the contextual application framework
  • Share knowledge with MetLife employees

Improving the Customer Experience

With the new integrated portal and the online enrollment system in place, MetLife is now able to provide group customers with a single destination for product information, enrollment, and other transaction processing. Completed on time and within budget, the successful project implementation helped MetLife Institutional Business:

  • Improve the customer experience
  • Reduce processing costs
  • Enhance service capabilities for plan sponsors
  • Increase operating earnings
  • Implement cutting-edge technology
  • Enrich and energize MetLife employees

"MetLife's employee benefit portal allows employees to make the most of their benefits by providing access to personalized information, empowering employees to make benefit-related decisions and manage their benefits themselves through self-service. This benefit portal provides a multi-product solution that's easy for employees to use. This new technology, delivered with experts, supports MetLife's leadership position in the Institutional Benefits marketplace."

Cohort Study

The insurance industry is undergoing rapid change. Globalization and consolidation mean that organizations need greater versatility. Companies are increasingly focused on managing and cross-selling financial services products, accelerating revenue growth, developing new products and exploring the integration of multiple distribution channels. At the same time, companies need to lower operating costs and more effectively define and realize the benefits of strategic information technology investments. How do companies create successful outcomes for these challenges, keep the organizations running at optimal levels and stay ahead of growth demands? Experienced insurance executives understand that, in order to maintain their competitive edge, organizations must meet these demands by making the best information technology decisions. Industry experienced professionals can help companies implement best-in-class systems with reduced risk and realize efficiency improvements, take out costs and increase employee productivity - all in record time. Such industry professionals should average several years of experience, possess unmatched technology know-how, and are organized around specific business areas to offer end-to-end results in:

  • Personal lines
  • Commercial lines, reinsurance and large brokers
  • Individual life, annuities, long-term care and disability
  • Group benefits

Performance Improvement and Cost Takeout

Commitment to operational efficiency and fiscal responsibility means that many insurance companies, particularly those heavily invested in information technology, are focusing on profitability with a renewed interest in achieving and measuring real returns on their information technology investments. The heart of information technology performance is linking technology and business impact. With well-established Performance Improvement and Cost Takeout solution, experienced insurers help organizations focus on rapidly reducing costs while improving their business performance. They use a proven approach that systematically monitors information technology expenditures using defined and relevant metrics while critically examining what is being done to enhance the business.

Go-To-Architecture and Legacy System Migration

Speed-to-market is critical for competing effectively in today's changing market. It's time to move the insurance back office to a straight-through-processing, once-and-done environment and enable company's front office with the tools and information that build revenue. Extending the legacy platform's Web services architecture can help companies business grow. Insurance experienced team can help a company quickly integrate its applications to a common environment that becomes a business enabler. The resulting application portfolio can allow company to improve its expense ratio, realize a return on investment sooner than expected, reduce time-to-market, eliminate redundant processes and streamline the entire systems development process.

Experience insurance executive teams leverage technology solution to significantly reduce the cost of servicing and processing customer and producer requests. In addition, they can help company:

  • Integrate existing legacy applications
  • Service multiple distribution channels and customer support functions
  • Consolidate client information from multiple sources
  • Exploit the latest open architecture designs
  • Achieve rapid time-to-value

Processes, workload, staffing levels, systems and assumptions can be quickly changed by experienced insurance executives to evaluate expected operational impacts. Such experienced executives apply business simulation capabilities directly to the insurance industry due to their extensive knowledge in the following functions:

  • Claims
  • Customer relationship management
  • Customer service and back-office operations
  • Call centers
  • Client information management

For example, insurance companies and technology integrators can redesign claims processes to reduce claims expenses and payouts and boost customer service levels. Such experienced teams use simulation models to enable claims organizations to:

  • Provide a financial baseline for current claims processing
  • Link Claims functionality and company's existing system functionality to specific tasks
  • Simulate current and future claims environments
  • Identify loss-adjustment expense reductions
  • Identify information technology return on investment opportunities

Decision Support

Such experienced decision support team can help company develop a full financial data warehouse and integrated analytical environment. Such approach focuses on building a scalable warehouse that addresses business requirements and the decision-making process. They blend functional and technical expertise to produce a robust application with relevant information that allows them to achieve short term success and build the momentum required to extend and enhance the warehouse on an ongoing basis.

Treasury, Cash Management and Investments

Insurance company executives are under pressure to increase income and reduce costs. Cash-management optimization is more important than ever. Such experienced executive teams use proven methods to benchmark key cash management practices within an insurance company. This can enable the company to add value to its bottom line by uncovering and implementing opportunities with hard-cash benefits and highly attractive returns on investment. Such experienced team can help the company modernize its investments, as well as its treasury and corporate risk management structures to:

  • Increase investment returns and cash interest income
  • Improve risk/return equation management
  • Enhance treasury and investment functions to support strategic initiatives

Such teams are made up of highly experienced professionals who have worked with some of the leading insurers and reinsurers.

Security

Many insurance companies are evaluating efforts to protect their technology, business processes, client information and workforce. It is imperative that insurers' disaster recovery or business continuity plans address these critical areas in order to prepare such organizations for a catastrophic event. The experienced executives take a holistic approach to protecting company's intellectual capital and the systems that maintain it. Such team will guide the company from strategy, planning and design through implementation and operations, and they will provide the company with a comprehensive view of current security practices along with a best-practice recommendation report. They can also identify ways to achieve potential cost reductions, increase client information accuracy and enhance customer satisfaction through improved security programs.

Privacy

Leading companies know they need to address privacy in a strategic, organizational and customer-oriented framework rather than solely as a compliance issue. Proactive companies will allow customers to choose their privacy preferences and honor those preferences accurately and efficiently, thus instilling consumer trust. Such experienced executives help clients use customer privacy to create competitive advantage while protecting data assets through privacy services that address people, policies and procedures, and technology. In addition, experienced services strategically address the privacy issue, consistently honor security preferences, maintain customer trust and loyalty, and assist the organization in its ability to capture the full business benefit of information sharing. The approach of experienced executives is to make privacy work for company's business rather than allowing it to constrain the business.

"Experienced executives bring three specific things to the table: first, a proven track record of delivery; second, industry-specific knowledge, both in terms of traditional competitors and emerging technology-enabled competitors; and finally, they not only deliver the point solution to the specific business problem that companies are looking to address, but also architectural and knowledge frameworks that they can re-use and re-deploy over and over again through succeeding efforts within the company."

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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