Acko Transforming Customer Experience: Underwriting to Data Protection, Empowered by Emerging Technologies

Venkatesh Gurumurthy

Could you share the key digital transformation initiatives you’ve led, and how they have enhanced ACKO’s ability to deliver innovative insurance solutions to customers?

The future of the “sell” and “buy” of insurance is going to be purely persona driven, backed by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning enabled technologies. Our continued investment in this area will reap multi-fold benefits. Enhanced multichannel customer interactions with an ecosystem of consumer and risk data from Data Providers, Sensors, IOT devices and unstructured data are available for the insurers to personalise coverage, provide exceptional customer-first seamless service, reduce risks, and thereby gain customer trust.

Distribution – Maturing AI algorithms creating risk profiles, Integration with Internet of Things (IoT) devices will help us identify risk in a much more granular and sophisticated way and will lead to a new wave of mass-market instant issue insurance products. Blockchain will enhance the insurance processing and payment verification, thereby reducing customer acquisition costs for insurers.

Underwriting and Pricing – Majority of underwriting will be automated and supported by a combination of machine and deep learning models. These models are powered by internal data as well as a broad set of external data accessed through APIs (application programming interfaces) and outside data and analytics providers. These information sources enable insurers to make near real-time decisions regarding underwriting and pricing tailored to the buyer’s risk profile and coverage needs.

Could you elaborate on the cybersecurity framework you’ve implemented at ACKO General Insurance and how it aligns with industry best practices to safeguard against evolving cyber threats?

ACKO has a custom leading edge security framework adapted from industry-leading frameworks to suit the dynamic environment which balances security best practices, and safeguards customer requirements. We are compliant with IRDAI cyber security guidelines in addition to the aforesaid. We continue to stay connected with industry innovators to the latest developments and take that as an opportunity to update our framework.

With the increasing reliance on cloud-based solutions and remote work environments, what steps has ACKO taken under your leadership to ensure data privacy, compliance with regulations, and robust cybersecurity practices across the organisation?

Our data is protected with industry leading security controls to ensure data privacy and protection. We have a well-oiled combination of endpoint security, email security, MDM, 2FA, access controls, cloud security controls, internet security, IDP/IAM, and contextual/ behavioural controls to safeguard our employees and ensure data privacy. Cyber security awareness program has been implemented to enhance security awareness and reduce human error.

How has your role as CISO evolved in light of these changes, and what strategies has ACKO adopted to maintain a robust security posture while enabling a flexible and productive remote work environment?

Continuous observability of an environment and proactive response to any event is key to enhancing ACKO’s security posture, while catering to our core ethos of a flexible and productive work environment. A 24/7 observability and reliability of infrastructure, automated event logging & monitoring, contextual/behavioural analysis of events, and increasing user-awareness are key drivers of our security strategy.

At ACKO, we prioritise cyber security controls as a non-negotiable aspect of our system. Since we handle critical insurance systems containing customer PII and SPDI (Sensitive Personal Data) as well as business-critical information, we require security measures to be implemented at the system design level. Our system design policies include key points such as adequate access management (especially for internal users with mandatory ZTA), pre/post-prod security assessments, and encryption for data at rest/motion and a few more key controls as mandated. Additionally, we are highly vigilant about zero-day vulnerabilities and proactively patch our system to prevent any potential impact. Investments in DevSecOps and manual ethical hacking are also a few key initiatives to strengthen our cyber security posture.

The insurance landscape is highly dynamic, with new market players and customer expectations continually evolving. What are your key priorities and strategies for maintaining ACKO General Insurance’s position as a leader in the market and fostering sustainable growth in the face of future challenges?

As insurance continues to grow due to the growing population, Few key priorities we foresee are.

Product and Distribution reconfiguration – Increased growth of newer social digital channels and distribution points via partnerships and embedded options are changing the way insurance products are sold. Flexible and creative products options and access are increasing and barriers to entry are easing.

Also Read | ACKO brings a Welcome Change to the future of Insurance; revolutionizes the customer experience with its Digital Technology

Reinventing Technology – Insurers are attempting to AI-enabled master data and its many sources to quickly assess and price risk, as well as serve customers when they need, learn about and purchase insurance. Majority of underwriting will be automated and supported by a combination of machine and deep learning models.

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