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Embracing Advanced Tech-enabled Solutions that Foster Innovation and Growth

By Steven Weinreb, CIO & EVP, Technology & Operations, Asia, MetLife

Embracing Advanced Tech-enabled Solutions that Foster Innovation and Growth

Steven Weinreb, CIO & EVP, Technology & Operations, Asia, MetLife

At MetLife, we have a world-class Cloud CRM capability - Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and we have major agreements with global Infrastructure-as-a-Service (laaS) providers that offer us cloud services from storage servers to applications to operating systems.

We see a lot of benefits in cloud computing.We use SaaS in Japan, China, Hong Kong and Australia. There are multiple features and tools including web analytics, online chat, social network and network testing etc. that helps us to deliver a better results in our operation and customer services.

“Agility” is one of the notable advantages in cloud computing. It offers us greater flexibility and shorter turnaround time for launching new initiatives. Our award-winning Social Network solution – “Infinity”, that we launched in China and Hong Kong, is one of the best examples to demonstrate the efficiency we gain in using cloud computing. Cloud solutions enable us to deploy “Infinity” in both places within just 12 months.

The cloud services also enable us to achieve a stronger collaboration across departments, thus streamlining the work processes, increasing productivity and fostering innovations. The cloud provides us an easy and time-saving platform for collecting feedback and exchanging ideas within the organization. It also allows us to understand our digital customers better and to meet their demand in real-time.

Reducing IT infrastructure requirements and associated costs is also a key reason in adopting cloud computing. It can optimize our resources to deliver effective and efficient solutions for our businesses and our customers. (243 words)

The Changing Landscape of Insurance Industry

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or "things" embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity. It enables these objects to collect and exchange data. It works like a conduit that allows us to receive a great amount of raw data across existing network infrastructure. The question is how we can turn this big data obtained from IoT infrastructure into meaningful insights that help us better understand the next generation behavioral economics, the industry trends as well as the evolving needs of our customers. To achieve this, we always use statistical modeling to frame the data into questions

Questions beneficial to our customers and our business; for example:-

•       Can we refine our pricing model?

•        Could there be new product blue oceans?

•        Are there new customer segments that we haven’t yet engaged?

•        Can we customize products to best fit the needs of millennials?

•        Are we able to understand what our customers need from us and connect them to the resources they are looking for?

Hence IoT is tied to the hip with “Big Data” abilities.

In our industry, we see the increasing value in using data insights for everything such as assessing and managing risks, pricing our products, innovating new business models and developing new value-added services for policyholders that actually shift the conversation from insurance to protection.

IoT facilitates effective work flows, business models and processes. Through the advanced data modelling and behavioral economics analysis, we are able to gain a holistic understanding of what drives a bigger value for our customers.

Other examples could be offering customers with IoT sensors such as Fitbit or mobile apps to collect statistics of exercise and health programs our customers are engaging in and reward them for their healthy behaviours. Such initiatives aim to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst policyholders, which ultimately create benefits for both insurance companies and policy holders in the sense that the premium rates are better for insurance policies and the claims rate will also be improved as a result.

Delivering Powerful Customer Experience

Market landscape has been evolving rapidly in the last decade. Competition does not only come within the industry but also from other industries such as digital and retail. We understand delivering great customer experiences is the differentiator in the competition. When it comes to enhancing customer experience, technology is one of the crucial means to achieve it. But more importantly, it is not just about technological applications, it is more about how serious a corporatewould wish to capitalize on its capability to address the real customer needs and create excitements for customers.

"It is not just about technological applications, it is more about how serious a corporate would wish to capitalize on its capability to address the real customer needs and create excitements for customers."

Our innovation is primarily driven by customer insights through empirical researches, data analytics and predictive modeling. And, strategies for technology, data analytics and innovation are gearing towards one single focus, i.e. our customers, through a collaborative innovation process.

In Asia, MetLife has established the Center of Excellence for Data Analytics to transform big data into customer insights. This year, we also established an innovation hub, called LumenLab, in Singapore. LumenLab is employing a thoughtful, structured and methodological approach in the process of incubating ideas and developing feasible new business models. It expands possibilities beyond the traditional boundaries of the insurance industry, by empathizing with customers’ concerns and needs, and finding solutions to real problems through leveraging partnerships, technology and data-driven, capital-efficient resources.

By combining the strengths and capabilities in technology and innovation, we aim to generate invaluable insights about our customers and capitalize on those insights to develop appealing benefits for our customers. Optimizing our resources, automating our business processes, streamlining the work flow and enhancing customers’ flexibility in interacting with us are those key areas that we continue to focus on when it comes to technology strategy.