We talk to Sumesh Vijayakumar, Business Process Analyst at Allianz, about the digital transformation journey for insurance companies and some of the challenges they face.
Tell us a little bit about your current role? Where do you think insurance companies are in relation to banks, for example, in their digital journey?
I have been working with leading global P&C insurance carriers for the last 14 years, and a good portion of that with Allianz. Currently in my role within the Business Excellence function, primarily focussed on collaborating with core business functions (read UW & Claims) to facilitate Organisational and Process changes. While P&C is still an evolving area within the Insurance sector when it comes to digital transformation, Allianz has been in the forefront advocating and driving customer centric change. I have the enviable position to be involved in the conceptualisation and implementation of change initiatives, and greatly helped through best practices from InsurTech and Industry forums.
Do you think that insurers worry about the potential competition from innovative insurtechs in a similar way to other areas in financial services?
In general there is more openness and realisation within the Insurance sector to the fact that innovation and “keeping the lights on” present entirely different opportunities, we are still to see the required levels of commitment when it comes to resources, leadership mindshare and ambition. Having said that I am thrilled by the commitment from Allianz group in pushing the Digital Transformation / Digital Inclusion agenda.
What keeps you awake at night?
I am excited about the fact that we are in the midst of such a diverse and nebulous transformation story, I am equally paranoid that we might under-leverage the opportunities through lack of a cohesive (Incumbent – Disruptor) collaboration strategy.
Do you think that the insurance industry has a bigger challenge in attracting talent?
Some key challenges we face within Insurance industry are due to lack of public awareness on the relevance, not being visible in the local communities and “accumulation” risks (most of the jobs are in the square mile). Organisations like Allianz, Aviva, AXA are tackling these challenges head on through engaging local communities – industry forums – academia.
Do you like craft beer?!
While I am a wine connoisseur, I can appreciate the passion and innovation within the craft beer.