Summary:Operating in one of the world's most competitive sectors, Bharti AXA Life Insurance turns to IT to introduce an industry first.Highlights:Chaitanya Nadkarni, AVP Strategic Systems, Bharti AXA Life Insurance, enabled the insurer to issue claimants a check within 48 hours of a claim.The Organization: Instant insurance. For much of 2010, insurers players couldn't get enough of telling customers how fast they could sell insurance to them. But no insurer-especially in life insurance-sold its ability to close a claim quickly-strange, given the sordid tales of people trying to collect after the death of a loved one. That was the insight behind Jeevan Suraksha Ka Naya Nazariya, a new campaign from Bharti AXA Life Insurance that promises to release the fund portion of a ULIP within 48 hours of a claim. The offering, say some, will change the industry. "We wanted to stand out from 23 players with an offering that was unique," says Chaitanya Nadkarni, AVP strategic systems.The Business Case: Insurance is a complex business with various success metrics. One, is how fast a claim is closed. Based on that parameter, Bharti AXA had a terrible track record. In 2008-2009, it closed only 22 percent of its claims in the first 30 days, putting it in the bottom five among 22 rivals, according to IRDA. Since then, it's improved, closing 47 percent of claims in the first 30 days in 2009-2010.Releasing the fund portion of a ULIP is not the same thing as closing a claim, but some of the paperwork is similar. And the fact that IRDA uses 30 days as the smallest unit to measure claim settlement is indicative of how hard it is for any insurer to push claim paperwork. (Editor's note: Some people play down the campaign's promise\u00a0 because it only releases the fund value, not the sum assured. But even mutual fund houses take at least three days to release money)."We wanted to stand out from 23 players with an offering that was unique," says Chaitanya Nadkarni, AVP strategic systems.It takes insurers time to release funds because of a lack of automation. Once a claim is made at any of Bharti AXA's 180 branches, the claims department used to be informed via e-mail. Other departments involved in releasing money also relied on e-mail. "The entire process relied on manual dexterity and that opened it up to human error and delay," says Nadkarni.The Solution: A new contact center CRM system from Talisma gives the insurer a central repository to log and clear claims. Once a claim is logged, a ticket-attached to a policy number-is raised. The system allows branch offices to share scanned copies of documents, like death certificates, making it easier for the claims departments to validate. Then, the system notifies the finance department, which calculates the fund value of a ULIP and issues a check. "It was a time-critical project," says Nadkarni. "The day for the launch was decided, leaving no room for delays. The entire project was accomplished in six weeks. Since various departments were involved, bringing everyone on the same page was a real task."But today the company is so confident that it promises to pay 1 percent of the check's value for each day beyond 48 hours. "Any lapse would mean a financial loss and would tarnish our brand," Nadkarni says.The project, which cost under Rs 10 lakh, gives Bharti AXA's customers peace of mind and the insurer an edge none of its rivals have."The entire project was accomplished in six weeks. Since various departments were involved, bringing everyone on the same page was a real task."