Mehul Druva recently joined Jade as the Senior Vice President of our Financial Services & Insurance (FS&I) Business Unit (BU), bringing with him more than 30 years of industry experience.
As a leader focused on multifaceted industries, he has been integral to strategic business development initiatives to influence multi-million-dollar deals.Throughout his career, he drove revenue growth through strategic account management through global, cross-functional, & executive collaboration.
Here is an interview with him that captures his thoughts on the Financial Services & Insurance industry.
Q1: Tell us something about yourself, Mehul?
Ans: I have recently joined Jade as the Senior Vice President of the Financial Services & Insurance (FS&I) Business Unit (BU) to drive Digital transformation, working closely with customers, partners, service leaders, client partners, and strategic sales.
Before my current role, I was the Head of the FS&I Industry, North America, for Atos. I was responsible for $800 million in revenue across 80 customers to ensure Atos remained at the forefront of its digital transformations. I realized its business goals through technology, driving this across business services, modernization of Information Technology (IT) platforms, Digital innovation, and Foundation IT services.
Q2: What’s your perspective on the current global bancassurance environment?
Ans: All of PNC life, even health insurance from that perspective, has matured and has leveraged technologies now and then. In the initial stages, FSI was all about Mainframe, but modern technologies like big data, data lake, and data warehousing emerged as enterprises went further.
The data paved the way for Analytics and dashboards, which helped insurance access customer data and empowered the insurance agents. Slowly but steadily, enterprises started leveraging technology; started innovating significantly in the market to leverage things for a better customer experience and straight-through processing automation. Some of these technologies took shape as a practice in the banking and insurance sectors and have evolved over the last five to six years, and that is exciting.
Customers always look for the market to say, “How can I sell more?” “Can I leverage my relationship with the Bank?” “Can I go to the leverage retailer, like Costco, and use them as the market?” Then I can reach out to a more extensive customer base. Embedded insurance is rising with digital technologies at the point of sale and creating new experiences for customers and Insurers which was not available earlier.
Q3: Do you agree that FSIs are no longer easily taking the digital shift?
Ans: With the emerging digital technologies, enterprises are leveraging social status to collect process claims data. That means they also must take care of their fraud because if you process too fast, you must ensure that you are doing the right thing. Suddenly, you need to develop significant fraud capabilities using an IML, the latest available technologies, and those emerging technologies.
Enterprises still struggle with legacy technologies, especially regarding regulations and the right technologies to empower themselves. Insurance companies are slightly conservative in approaching technology, so they will not be the first mover but will watch and follow it. You will see customers who are directly selling are more advanced because they were able to adapt themselves to technology processing and stick to processing.
We also see Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and some products becoming Software as a Service-based (SaaS) products. A combination of technologies assists in faster Claims settlement and enhances the customer's overall experience. Therefore, many InsurTech companies are focusing only on customer experience. They are pivoting that because they do not have any legacy. The absence of legacy is helping InsurTech focus only on onboarding or straight-through processing and with a robust analytics perspective attacking the market. Once they capture the data, they will do backward integration and develop other capabilities where they do not have to compete in the market.
We also see a collaboration. Many enterprise companies are working with InsurTech on some cases and acquiring it with a soft investment. These newbies are not reinventing the wheel, but still, they are using the ecosystem to their advantage, thanks to hyper scalars like Amazon and other SaaS products like Salesforce, some of whom create verticalized solutions. Our team has vigorously implemented with clients like Canada Life and other customers. One can leverage a ready-made solution on SaaS and then focus on process improvements.
Q4: What is your take on the digital shift in the new normal?
Ans: First, I will discuss financial services and insurance. Before the pandemic, everyone was on that digital transformation journey. During the initial part of the pandemic, everyone was worried about how long this would be. The initial reaction was natural, to sit tight, but the recovery was amazingly fast, thanks to the overall global response, and the US did an excellent job as well. Suddenly, in two quarters, we saw a change of going back to investing in those projects and faster because they saw that during this time, digital companies were able to respond better, both for employees and customers.
The pivot of all those companies in that direction was much faster, so suddenly, we saw those projects getting kick-started faster, more money coming up, and more focus on that. You have a significant play of hyper scalars coming, which made an enormous difference because they are saying, hey, why are you wasting time in the data center? I can give you this processing in a zip, over time, and you must be careful of how the costs are managed. Gone are the days when one had to wait for 90 days to kick-start a project.
If you are ready to start, here is a server; you can test it out, and you are relayed out on a production. That means a time limit compared to the time we were working or, as you know, typically, the six to nine months it takes to take out a new product; now we are looking at four to six weeks, because of this dimension of infrastructure already being cloud-ready. It is fantastic that you start pushing that boundary from six to nine months, reducing it to 90 days, six weeks, or even four weeks. Significant enterprises have done that, which is fantastic because that is a massive transformation when you have disparate systems with disparate compartments. Testing issues that took two months have changed to four hours, which is significant. “So, I see the pandemic, in a way, drove this transformation to where it is today, to pivot significantly higher in their digital journey.”
Q5: Which emerging technologies have significantly impacted the FS&I industry?
Ans: I am seeing a lot of cloud type migration and trends, which will impact the industry because customers, including hyper scalers, are realizing that adopting products like Salesforce, which are SaaS products on the market, are helping enterprises to be cloud-ready and your data center dependencies significantly less. We do not know how quantum computing and some of those latest trends will impact us in the future. We see the emergence of IODP, where it is RP plus, and advanced OCR and NLP usage will also help.
Q6: You talked about Salesforce. Can you tell us how digital technologies have empowered the sales guys?
Ans: Sales is both science and art, and now sales guys are aided by documents straight-through processing. I know some of the information is readily available, they can answer it or query something and quickly get back to customers, and all that is enabled by the technology. Not only that, but they could also be mobile and do it right.
Thanks to modern technologies, the sales experience is getting very digital. It is fascinating for the sales leaders where we do not have to spend time on non-value-added activities, where earlier we had to fill in the form, and the design was improper.
Q7: How critical are digital technologies for Claims processing?
Ans: Claims are never an enjoyable experience for the customer; however, they constantly evolve. Thanks to emerging technologies, one can digitally talk about it. But at the same time, companies must be careful that fraud isn’t occurring. This is where you have various images captured, determining from multiple databases, making sure this is real, and then doing some analysis afterward. Because you are servicing quickly and with trust, you want to ensure you are not being taken for a ride. The whole idea is to take the pain away from the customer because they are already in some pain.
Q8: How do you see the FS&I industry evolving in the next 2-5 years?
Ans:As we shared earlier, the momentum around enterprises is becoming more fragile, and how digitalization has already started and accelerated after the pandemic, and that will continue. We will see more companies transitioning, those in the cloud will become multi-cloud, and those not in the cloud will go into the cloud, not only from a cost perspective alone but due to the combination of speed, agility, and more security. The whole velocity of the demands from the market is continuously being challenged, it is never enough, and one should keep doing it. You need to ensure you are healthy and profitable, but you will keep changing that perspective. We also see the line between technology and business blurring right because they are working very even. If you look at today in agile work, the product owners and the business side of IT work very closely together, each having a more significant role to play, and you will see collaboration continuously increasing.
InsurTech and FinTech, in a way, are challenging, requiring enterprises to innovate. And then, you know, we do not see how the quantum computing impact will come, but that is something I am sure will mature in the future.
It is an exciting time for everyone in this industry because it seems like the party just started.