The Evolution of the insurance industry



In Conversation with Shiney Prasad, President, Digital Enterprise Asia



December 10, 2019

The Evolution of the insurance industry

CiOL spoke to Shiney Prasad, Senior Vice-President, Enterprise Services and Digital Business Initiatives – Asia, Sun Life Financial Asia Services Centre (ASC) to understand technological development in the insurance industry and how ASC is delivering increased value through path-breaking technology.

How would you describe the evolution of GICs in the last 20 years to where it is today?

The Indian GIC landscape has evolved significantly over the last 20 years. The advent and growth of disruptive technologies within the digital environment can be accounted for the reinvention of GICs in India. India, today, has a robust service provider ecosystem which is investing in building global delivery centres and COEs. As per NASSCOM’s report on IT-BPM industry, India accounts for 70-75% of global digitally involved FTEs based out of India.

The Global organizations are today looking at their India centres as hubs for digital technology transformation. Therefore, GICs are hiring for product engineering, research and development; and AI and Data analytics: skills they weren’t actively looking for a few years ago. For the first time, captives have beaten the hiring numbers of India based technology service providers. Almost all these developments can be traced to technology innovation activities by these GICs for their global markets.

We have been able to do significant work for Sun Life and today, 50% of Android development on Mobile for the Canada market is being done at our Service centres in Gurgaon and Manilla. A big portion of our digital assets for Sun Life Asia and globally have been created by these service centres.

How do you think the role of captives have matured and how is technology driving client value to Global organizations?

In terms of role maturity, evolved GICs take end to end ownership of processes and provide knowledge services to deliver real-time value to their global organizations. Data analytics and use of cloud-based solutions along with web and mobile applications enhance customer experience, increase agility and rationalize costs. Today captives are becoming drivers of creating and sustaining competitive edge by way of digitizing functions in the business value chain. Along with the rest of global locations, captives are focusing more and more on understanding client expectations, deploying technology to deliver value to end customers.

We are doing a lot of work in the space of Data analytics, AI, Cloud and specialized services like Actuarial to bring value to our business partners. At Sun Life, we believe in our purpose statement of “Client for Life” and hence a lot of decisions or innovations that are taking place, whether it’s towards increasing process efficiencies or adopting newer technologies are made to increase value and experience for customers.

What has changed in the internal ways of working within GICs and what are some of the methods industry leaders are deploying to make a bigger impact?

Even within the workings of GICs, a lot has changed, and organizations are adopting Agile methodology along with the use of DevOps paradigm to achieve value creation faster and leaner. There is tremendous focus on building operational excellence with automation and AI, maintaining high standards of cybersecurity and accelerating enterprise digital transformation.

We have launched a program called Digital First to bring in seamless digital experience to our employees throughout their career journey. A lot of new-age concepts like design thinking, interactive user experience is going to come in play and we hope it will change the way we work internally as well.

How has the new evolution changed the way GICs have been looking at Talent market?

Since the talent mix is evolving for GICs, newer models are being brought to attract and retain a highly-skilled workforce. Today talent is getting increasingly mindful about choosing their employer and they expect organizations to have a great culture of innovation where they can get themselves poly skilled and also do some cutting-edge work. This means organizations must develop newer sourcing strategies and create personalized experiences for the talent in demand. Providing integrated learning opportunities and building leadership profiles are also key focus areas in the area of talent development.

We have ourselves started building greater focus on hiring more people through social media and bringing in more GIG workforce soon. We have also made our Learning programs more flexible and personalized to individual growth aspirations. For example, we launched a Digital Learning Wall wherein employees can come in and select any topic of choice on this digital screen and experience bite-sized engaging learning modules with a touch.

What does the future look like for GICs in India and what do you think they need to keep their focus on?

Going forward, GICs need to have an integrated approach towards their aspirations to grow in terms of scale and complexity of work but also evolve their customer-facing and engaging business models. Today, the conversation has grown from cost and capacity arbitrage to knowledge arbitrage and that would remain the mainstay for coming years. There are notable metrics where GICs would be compared to third party vendors and GICs would continually need to invest on enhancing leadership quality, attracting multi-skilled talent, creating robust in shop technology practices and keeping digital at the heart of it.


About Sun Life Asia Service Centre

Sun Life Asia Service Centre (ASC) in India provides Business Processing, IT, and Investment Research shared services to Sun Life's global businesses. The 24*7 centres also offer contact centre and enterprise infrastructure to Sun Life’s businesses. ASC India and ASC Philippines work in perfect harmony to support Clients through all stages of Client and software life cycle for Sun Life in Canada, the US, and Asia. Over the years, the ASC has achieved scale and operational maturity by integrating closely with Sun Life’s corporate functions. The centres support Individual Insurance & Wealth, Group Benefits, Group Retirement Services, Document Services and Client Solutions services for Sun Life.

For additional information on Sun Life ASC, please visit:


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