Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance : Edging out Competition

Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance is a joint venture between
Kotak Mahindra Bank, its affiliates and Old Mutual plc KLI, as it is popularly
known. Offering life insurance to retail customers and also to group businesses,
the company employs around 20,000 people and has over 1,350 offices across 370
cities and towns in India. Despite being a late entrant in the insurance market
in India, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance has grown significantly on all fronts.

According to Dhiresh Rastogi, CTO, Kotak Life Insurance,
"IT creates a mechanism and means for Kotak Life Insurance to work effectively,
efficiently and profitably."

Being a late entrant has helped Kotak understand what IT
applications are suitable for the Indian insurance business and customers.
Hence, for the past few years, there is a constant endeavor to provide
improvements and solutions for customer facing and front facing services.
Currently, there are self service portals for customer, advisors, channel
partners, employees available for most activities. These are supported with
touch point technologies like SMS and e-mails.

Some crucial IT projects that Kotak Life insurance has
undertaken over 2008-09 include a workflow and straight through processing (STP)
for improving the efficiency of operations and the under-writing department. The
company won the EDGE award 2009 for this project. In addition, it has deployed
I-Rec, a full-cycle recruiting solution to automate the recruitment process
involving various stakeholders and making it more efficient. Then there is the
customer portal for providing self service tool for customers. To streamline its
financial accounting, management and budgeting, Kotak has also recently deployed
Oracle Financials and a sophisticated Anti Money Laundering System for
automating compliance.

Business can get a
real time view of synchronized data, data flow between applications has
become more streamlined and easier

Dhiresh Rustogi,
CTO, Kotak Life Insurance

While all these applications generate tonnes of data on an
everyday basis, they were managed in silos in servers that were disparately
arranged. This caused problems on the IT manageability front, also leading to
increased costs.

Hence, the company decided to migrate to LPAR for workflow
server, implemented VMWare to virtualize and consolidate physical servers and
carried out database consolidation to AIX.

As each application used within the company was an island,
there was a huge challenge to synchronize or replicate information between them.
There were EOD day processes, batch processes which were run to synchronize the
data between application and still the business could not get a real time view
of synchronized information. Now with the centralization of the databases, these
processes have become redundant.

Server consolidation has also solved the space constraints
faced in the data center. It has freed up rack space up to 16U with the help of
LPAR where two servers are now carrying out the function of four. Kotak has also
deployed VMWare virtualization solutions which has brought down the number of
physical servers from fifteen to just six. These efforts have resulted in power
consumption savings of 1.4 KVA (before 3.2 KVA & after 1.8 KVA).

The entire server and database consolidation exercise also
brought about savings on Oracle licenses and backup licenses; and reduced the
need for OS patches and antivirus updates thus minimizing downtime. This
particular IT project has improved system performance at Kotak Life Insurance by
approximately 30%.

Going forward, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance plans on
exploring technologies such as customer analytics and business intelligence as
part of the evolving IT framework.

Priya Kekre

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