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Telecom Insurance: DPLI's robust communication system enhances operations

May 01, 2014
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DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance Company Limited (DPLI) is a joint venture between Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited, India’s second largest private housing finance company, and Prudential International Insurance Holdings Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of US-based Prudential Financial, Inc.

DPLI has a pan-Indian presence and a diverse product portfolio. The company’s key offerings include protection plans (covering death and disabilities), strategic plans (savings plus protection plans), group plans (comprising micro insurance schemes, group credit life insurance, etc.) and Shiksha Uday plans (covering education). Since its inception in 2008, DPLI has made significant investments in setting up a robust telecom and IT network to provide secure insurance services.

tele.net takes a look at the company’s telecom initiatives…

Communications infrastructure

The organisation’s telecom network is based on the hub-and-spoke model, which allows it to extend connectivity to multiple locations. At present, DPLI is using a mix of communication technologies such as MPLS, VPN and leased lines to meet its connectivity requirements. MPLS is used for meeting the majority of the company’s communication needs, whereas leased lines are used for establishing site-to-site connectivity and VPN for remote connectivity.

The company’s head office in Gurgaon is connected through a 12 Mbps leased line and its central office in Chennai is connected through a 24 Mbps line. The bandwidth provided at branch offices varies according to the volume of business at the particular location. Larger branches have a connectivity speed of 2 Mbps while the smaller branches are connected through 256 kbps lines. The company has deployed over 55 leased lines for establishing site-to-site connectivity.

It has also set up two data centres – the primary data centre and the disaster recovery data centre – which enable physical as well as virtual connectivity. They support the company’s core insurance applications, email and investment systems, besides hosting the website. Both the data centres are powered by servers sourced from HP and Dell.

Since the website is the first source of information for customers, DPLI has taken several initiatives to make it informative and interactive. “Customers can use various interfaces and applications on the website for secure logins, viewing duplicate receipts and making payments,” says Mukul Jain, senior vice-president and head, IT, Business Excellence and PMO, DPLI. Besides the customer portal, the company has a dedicated portal for its insurance agents. Agents use this portal to view complete details of policies and generate illustrations to suggest the best scheme for prospective clients. For network security, DPLI uses tools such as McAfee intrusion prevention systems, Microsoft firewalls and Windows antivirus.

Challenges and benefits

The company faces several challenges in operating its telecom network. “One of the key issues is frequent disruption in last mile connectivity. Fibre is often damaged due to maintenance works carried out by municipal authorities. This affects network connectivity,” says Jain. The high cost of bandwidth is also a major concern. “The cost of bandwidth must be reduced in order to ensure that banking and insurance companies are able to extend their services to customers.”

These challenges notwithstanding, the insurance company has benefited from the robust telecom set-up. DPLI now has an economical, scalable and secure network, which helps the company in meeting its growing business requirements.

The way forward

Given the role of mobile services in reaching out to customers, DPLI plans to develop an integrated mobile-based enterprise application, which will allow users to access their policies and receive renewal alerts on their handsets. The company is also looking to install the sales force automation application to enhance workforce productivity.

Going forward, mobility will emerge as the key area of investment for the insurance sector. According to Jain, data analysis and business analytics are the latest functionalities that can be leveraged by insurance companies to identify customer requirements and consumer behaviour. This would help them retain customers and target potential clients by offering the right products and services.

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