The high tech strategy for fighting insurance fraud

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sai Prasanth C, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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One of the biggest challenges that the insurance sector faces is that of fake claims. According to industry experts, the insurance industry is annually hit by fake claims to the tune of 20-22%. The latest amendment in Section 45 of the Insurance laws Amendment Ordinance means that no life insurer can repudiate a claim from a policy holder three years after the issuance. This means that a policy can’t be canceled on the grounds of miss-statement of facts—even fraudulent claims are protected.

Sunder Krishnan, Chief Risk Officer, Reliance Life Insurance, decided to take up the issue of ‘fake claims’ head-on. With many years of experience in handling claims in the insurance industry, he was in a position to understand the general strategy adopted by the filers of false claims.

Usually the insurers begin their investigation after the claim has been filed, but by then the fake claimant is prepared to prove himself innocent. A surprise check is important as it leads to the fraudster being taken by surprise. It should be noted that filing of fake claims is in essence a team effort—the doctor, pathological labs, lawyer, hospital all work in tandem to perpetrate the fraud. At times, surveyors, investigators and agents too get involved in the shady deals.

 

However, the possibility of Krishnan’s pro-active strategy of going after the fraudsters, having an impact on the honest customer could not be ignored. The drive could lead to the cancellation of the account of a genuine policy holder. To ensure that such mistakes did not happen, Krishnan used cutting edge IT to evaluate the customers. The company is now using SAS data analytics to develop information about the locations from where frequent bad claims are generally generated.

The maximum number of fake claims is being filed by organized syndicates operating out of selected pockets in the country. The first priority is to identify the locations from where they are operating, and this must be followed by the verification of their details like occupation, age, product, etc. Krishnan says, “SAS data analytics helps us mine the data and it throws up the list of the most likely negative locations, from where customers who plan to file fake claims in future are operating.”

The risk teams across the country constantly engage with the underwriting team. The underwriting department is responsible for checks and verification of the details in the customer forms filled by the agent. They escalate forms with suspicious details back to the central retail team. The suspicious cases are colored in red, amber, green, based on the risk matrix, which is linked to the parameters of location, age, occupation, product

Having successfully deployed PIRV to detect insurance fraud, Krishnan now wants to take the system to the next level. He is in favor of the Insurance industry putting up a collective fight. “I have organised joint meetings on fraud prevention. We have brought this to the regulator’s notice to look into this area. We have also done a lot of spade work for putting in common systems for the Industry so that the system gives lag and lead indicators,” says Krishnan.

The lag indicator is based on past data. For instance, the data on disproportionate claims from certain locations, which is higher than the LIC table. Lead indicator is predictive in nature, based on analytics systems, which predict the persistence issue about who is more likely not to pay the claims next year.

 

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“Andho me kaana raaja”-Raghuram Rajan

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Aman Pasari, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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RBI (Reserve Bank of India) Governor , Raghuram Rajan gave an initiative to a storm by his one comment : India is a one-eyed king “ . Though, he later said that it was an offhand remark and was misinterpreted beyond its context. Well such a strong comment from someone so influential is bound to create a storm around it and especially in a country where people seek opportunities to criticise others on every single occasion.

In his defence, he said that “I was speaking to a foreign journalist who asked what is felt like to be the bright spot in the world economy for which is used the phrase: andho me kana raja ( in the world of blind , the one eyed man is the king ) My intention was to signal that our out performance was accentuated because world growth was weak. But, we in India are still hungry for more growth. He also said that the quote could have been another one that is “Revenge reduces collective welfare as it is short, in offensive and pithy but he also added that it is meaningless for a larger amount of listeners.

With the world economy in a weak position and the future also seems to be bleak for most of the developed countries , India continues to outperform its counterparts.
The comment was not made in the context of growth in India but the presence of a weak global economy which makes India a silver lining in the World Economy.

However, all said but the problem remains that we Indians are always quick enough to jump to a conclusion without getting our facts clear about the intentions behind anyone’s comment.It’s time that we grow up on and see the larger picture and paint a beautiful India on a larger canvas.

Banning Inebriation

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sonal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

 


Following suit of Gujarat, Nagaland, parts of Manipur and Kerala (banning alcohol in phases since 2014), Bihar banned alcohol sale on 5 April 2016. Country-made alcohol will be totally prohibited in the first phase while the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) will be banned six months after in the second phase. Currently there are nearly 6,000 liquor retail shops in the state. The Bihar government now plans to sell foreign liquor through government outlets. For this, the Excise department has initiated the process to acquire land for setting up outlets and the storage for sale of liquor. Earlier, the Bihar State Beverage Corporation Limited (BSBCL) was responsible for the wholesale trade of IMFL earning a maximum of 2% profit on sale price but now with retail shops it will earn 15% more on the Maximum Retail Price (MRP). According to Mr.Mastan , the state Excise and Prohibition minister, Country, spice and locally brewed liquor will be banned in the first phase while IMFL(foreign made liquor)  will be banned after six months in second phase. He added that the new prohibition policy will not place a complete ban on sale of liquor. The state excise department says that there will now be only 656 government owned IMFL retail shops of liquor in the state with maximum 10 in large towns like Patna, Muzaffarpur, Gaya while 4 in smaller towns like Madhubani, Bhagalpur and Darbhanga. Currently there are nearly 6,000 liquor retail shops in the state. These decions have drawn anger from people who are involved in the liquor sale industry amounting to around 4000 crores. As if this was not enough, the sale of toddy has been dragged  into ban as well. Turning this into a political spectacle, the opposition has claimed that many people belonging to the Pasi community have been arrested for selling toddy hence targeting these people belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) category for political reasons. Only time will show if this policy bodes well for Bihar or stays behind as a still another political propaganda.

 

 

Kejriwal-the odd even master

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Nikunj Mall, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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If you live in Delhi and listen to the radio, you can now phone your mum (uncle, boyfriend, guru or boss) to crib about being treated as a duffer child. Unless of course you are indeed a duffer child, in which case you deserve this treatment. If not, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s radio address about the forthcoming round of “Odd Even Scheme” in Delhi (planned between 15 and 30 of April) is like a candied pep talk for class three kids. “Ek khush khabri deni hai,” (I want to give you good news), starts Kejriwal in the charged tone of a kindergarten teacher. He could well be saying: come kids, let me tell you a story about Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. If you listen on, you soon realise that the magic lamp is the Odd-Even car scheme. It may be a good idea as one of the solutions to resolve serious issues of pollution and traffic, but it is hardly something that will make you want to jump in your seat.

“Fir se Dilli khaali ho jayegi”, “fir se pollution kam ho jayega,” (Delhi will become less crowded again; pollution will go down again) goes on the CM earnestly. “Fir se” should be “phir se”, and it doesn’t need a Hindi language scholar to point that out. But Kejri hasn’t got his diction right since the days he would campaign for the Aam Aadmi Party during the Delhi state elections. He would then tell his listeners (also on a radio ad) about his optimistic meeting with a “foolwalla” (flower seller). Sorry “phoolwalla”.

The CM’s poor diction apart, have these lines for radio been ghost-written for him by someone still in school? If they are, why won’t the usually triumphant leader of the common man’s party use his common sense to dump them? He jives between injected earnestness and limp lines as if he is himself unconvinced that the fairy tale he has drummed up for a bunch of kids is not as pretty and perfect as he is making it sound. Little else explains why a Magsayay awardee and the CM of India’s capital should think he can get away by telling citizens that “the whole world is talking about the Odd-Even scheme (now, really?) and that the “world is marvelling at how disciplined Delhiites are!” Oh, please. It’s such an uneven claim, that it is, well, odd.

Faulty pronunciation, lines with juvenile purport and an incorrect retelling. Someone really needs a class.

Freedom 251, A long way to go.

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Aparjeet Kaushal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Amidst many rumours and speculations, Ringing Bells a Noida based start-up finally unveiled Freedom 251 smartphone at an unbelievable price of just Rs. 251 on Saturday 25th of February. It has been the sensation of the nation from then. At a price this low this bounds us to think, is it even possible assemble a smartphone at such a low price. Although the company did receive nearly five crore registrations in just two days, the main task in front of the company is to fulfil the promise it has made regarding the prices.

Also, the phenomenal success of the Aakash tablet, one of the cheapest mobile tablet launched back in 2011 was also seen as an example of such promises made and fulfilled. The specifications provided by Ringing Bells about freedom 251 is way beyond its cost. A normal smartphone with 1GB RAM and 8GB ROM is normally around Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3000. Now the company has even given a front and rear cameras with flash. That is an add-on for sure.

Even the company officials claim to bring down the cost of the mobile to the stated price by cutting overheads like the advertisement, avoiding brick and mortar shop, operations, logistics but still it will be a struggle to cater to the colossal  demand it has created in the first few days. Currently, the company is saying that it will start delivery in the four months Touted as the world’s cheapest smartphone, allegations also made their way in the carnival with the company being alleged of showcasing Adcom’s phone as its own. The company is under the scanner of many government agencies regarding the matters like taxes, certification and emission standards followed.

The dreams of a smartphone at 251 seem charming but still it appears far-fetched. If in future the company performs as targeted making the common people realising the dream of a smartphone, it will be  considered as the first step towards their endeavour to success.

‘Marketing In The Moment’ By Mr. Anupam Dikhit, Industry Manager, Twitter India

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Anshuman Mahanty, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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On the 14th of January, 2016, VGSoM had the privilege of welcoming to the campus Mr. Anupam Dikhit, Industry Manager, Twitter India for an interaction with the students under the Vaarta’ 16 series of guest lectures. Specializing in the digital marketing ecosystem, Mr. Dikhit, who also has the distinction of being chosen as the Economic Times Young Leader in 2012, had a wealth of experience to share with the audience. In what was an exceedingly engaging session, the students gained some valuable exposure to ‘marketing in the moment’, a trend that is taking precedence over conventional marketing mechanisms, and more so  in a transforming global market characterized by the customer’s need for relatedness and instant gratification.

This is where, said Mr. Dikhit, Twitter comes into the picture. With increased global connectivity, hardly any events or incidences stay within local confines these days.  The power of the hashtag continues to subsume boundaries and bring people together onto a bandwagon. So be it the US Presidential elections or the FIFA World Cup or something as trivial as the famously viral #TheDress debate, Twitter is the medium through which any content carries a massive potential for becoming a global fad. Needless to say, such a tool is nothing short of a godsend for marketers looking to initiate a buzz around their offering.

Mr. Dikhit presented numerous examples of how brands have leveraged Twitter’s power to engage a mass population within a matter of minutes. He mentioned how brands like Volvo and Chevrolet, among others, had taken the Twitter game to an altogether new level with their Interception and ‘TechnlogyAndStuff’ campaigns.

He also highlighted how Twitter caters perfectly as a marketing medium to a growing segment of customers having short attention spans. To capitalize on this medium, brands must also overcome challenges of unlocking fragmented audiences, understanding the new purchase funnel and connecting the customer to rich experiences.

The sheer volume of tweets, currently standing at an average of 500 million per day, also means that there is big data for companies to extract and make sense of, to gauge what is going on in the lives of people and how they can provide something that is of value to them. Mr. Dikhit said that most companies these days use Twitter as their preferred social networking tool for marketing and service, owing to the real-time engagement it provides with the customer.

The students came up with questions relating to Twitter’s goals and expansion strategy in India, and also, the much talked about plans of Twitter of going beyond the 140-character limit. Mr. Dikhit was impressed by the interest shown by students and their knowledge of upcoming trends in the digital marketing scene. Thus concluded an enthralling session with Mr. Anupam Dikhit who inspired students to think creatively in order to succeed in an age when marketing becomes more and more ‘in the moment’.

The Leadership Summit ’16: ‘How Innovation Drives Leadership’

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Anshuman Mahanty, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
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It is said that true leaders don’t create followers. What they create are more leaders. And on the 6th of February, 2016, Vinod Gupta School of Management had the privilege to welcome an array of industry leaders from across different business domains; leaders who were invited to the campus as speakers for the much-awaited Leadership Summit held under Purvodaya, the institution’s annual B-School fest. By the time the Summit ended, the penchant for leadership amongst everyone in the audience had been invoked to a great extent.

Moderating the discussion panel was Mr. Mehraj Dube, well known for his anchoring of popular news shows and currently the VP of Statesman. Mr. Dube kept the audience engaged and started off the discussion by throwing out a question to the open house about what innovation means to them. ‘How Innovation Drives Leadership’ being the topic for the discussion, the Summit rightly hosted leaders from firms that have, over the years, redefined business in some way or the other.

While Ms. Sharada Rao chose Elon Musk, the inimitable 21st-century entrepreneur as an example while speaking of innovation as path-breaking ideas that leaders need to keep faith in, she also spoke of innovation as effective ground-level day-to-day problem solving. Mr. Anurag Dua- Director, PwC classified innovators as either ‘need seekers’- companies which source ideas from people and the society and implement it, ‘market readers’- firms with an eye for upcoming trends and for whom innovation is entirely commercially-driven, and ‘technology drivers’- those who usher in new technologies that disrupt a certain market.

Mr. Sadashiv Nayak, CEO- Big Bazaar defined innovation as a process of ensuring that a need or want is met in a more effective manner. From a retail perspective, he cited the example of ‘junk exchange’ programs wherein customers could bring any scrap to the store and get a discount coupon on their purchases. Mr. Nayak said that the strategy made eyes roll in the industry but was successful in creating value for all stakeholders. The store stocked up consumption, the customers got a better deal than the ‘raddiwallahs’ and it was the latter that the store sold this accumulated scrap too. Mr. Abhsishek Pandey, CVP- Max Life Insurance was of the view that necessity or sheer stress produces innovation. As a cue from his own industry, he pointed how the privatization of life insurance in India has given stakeholders more options to choose from and hence has necessitated applying innovation to stay competitive. He spoke of the growing Internet seepage in the country as a new tool for accessibility and innovation.

Talking of innovation in the publishing sector was Mr. Asheesh Sabarwal, CMO- Pearson, who highlighted how executives and leaders in publishing companies are currently faced with the challenge of the onslaught from the ever-growing digital printing. Something that cricket followers can connect with, Sri Lanka’s upheaval of the way one-day cricket was played back during the 1996 World Cup was another excellent example of innovation Mr. Sabarwal put forward. When asked as to what impedes innovation in India, he had a little exercise for the audience that emphasized how accustomed we are to our own styles and routines. Thus, he said that the biggest challenge to innovation is accepting change.

As the discussion went on, Mr. Dube shifted on to other pressing questions. With ‘jugaad’ having transcended from its definition of being frugal, quick-fix solutions to becoming an oft-quoted word in management circles, it was debated as to whether ‘jugaad’ deserved to be seen as outright innovation. The panelists were largely of the view that for an innovation to be sustainable, it needs to be structured and well thought out from all perspectives. While ‘jugaad’ is a novel way of solving problems using a minimum possible combination of resources, the panelists believed it was more of an improvisation than innovation. At this point, Mr. Sadashiv Nayak made a very valid point about failed innovations. He said that we only tend to hear and know about the successful examples of innovation but there are many innovations that fail to see the light of the day. This can happen when an idea is implemented too ahead of its time. Mr. Nayak was candid in accepting some of the failed innovation tactics that he has been a part of in the industry. He was of the view that the intuitive reaction of throwing around blame for failures does nothing but hinders your revival.

Mr. Anurag Dua spoke highly of initiatives such as mygov.in, an online portal for citizens to know more about governance and schemes and to participate and voice their opinions. This, he said, is an example of innovation driving leadership. Connecting innovation to leadership, Mr. Mehraj Dube put forward the question of whether innovation should be driven only by a commercial intent. Ms. Sharada Rao stressed on the need for branding innovations better, whether it be for a commercial or a social cause. This, according to her, is one area where some otherwise brilliant Indian innovations have failed to cash in.

To focus on making not just the product but the process easier for the customers is what Mr. Abhishek Pandey stressed upon. Supporting this with an example of how insurance companies these days connect to the customer through the latter’s bank, he said that usually for products like insurance or any other product or service involving expert technicalities, the customers always prefer someone else doing things for them. Focus on the customer and the commercial side will take care of itself, is what Mr. Pandey essentially conveyed.

Mr. Asheesh Sabarwal weighed in his views about the deterrents to innovation and how the aspiring managers in the audience should overcome them. He encouraged the students to get out of their comfort zones and take that slight leap of faith to overcome the risks attached to doing or ideating something new. Ms. Rao chipped in with how our education system should be moulded so as to condition us for facing failures.

As was expected out of a news anchor of national repute, Mr. Mehraj Dube guided the conversation brilliantly and made sure that there was a two-way discussion, with members from the audience chipping in with questions, suggestions and even answers to challenges.

The Summit unfolded with the panelists wishing the students well for their careers ahead. As they all headed for the evening tea session together, the hallowed portals of the Kalidas Auditorium stood testimony to an afternoon of immense knowledge-sharing and constructive deliberation between industry leaders who were all praise for the hospitality that IIT Kharagpur had to offer them.

Purvodaya ’16 Keynote Speech on ‘Financial Inclusion’ by Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson, SBI

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Anshuman Mahanty, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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When you enter into the IIT Kharagpur campus, almost the first thing you notice aside from the tree-lined streets in the distance is the branch premise of the largest public sector bank in India, the State Bank of India. It is here, at this very branch that a lady by the name of Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya used to work as a staff. She is now the 30th most powerful woman on the planet, as per Forbes. And her journey from that SBI branch lined against the campus boundary wall to becoming the Chairperson of the State Bank of India has been nothing short of magnanimous.

Given the inspirational figure that she is, it is needless to mention that having her as the Chief Guest for the inauguration ceremony of Purvodaya ’16, our annual B-School fest, was a moment of pride for the institution. She shared the stage with Prof. Partha Pratim Das, Director- IIT Kharagpur and Prof. Kalyan K. Guin, Dean- VGSoM, both of whom thanked her for taking time out of her busy schedule to interact with the students present as audience.

Ms. Bhattacharya spoke of her presence as a sort of homecoming and said how her most formative years as a working lady and an individual had been shaped at the IIT Kharagpur campus itself. She advised the students to make the most out of their stay at the campus that according to her is a place where she has seen opportunities being realized and dreams getting achieved.

Her speech centred on financial inclusion for everyone, a concept that is oft-quoted in the annals of economics and policymaking these days. She also talked about the benefits of the JAM trinity- the Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar and Mobile. The absolute prerequisite for financial inclusion, she said, was a unique identification and accessibility to services. She sounded positive about the future of mobile banking in India, saying that while it has evolved exponentially over the last few years; solutions need to be worked out to make it easier for people living in far-off remote locations with poor accessibility to do banking transactions through a mobile phone.

“If there is any Dharma in the world, it is in empowering people who are not empowered”, said she while emphasizing on the need to bring more and more people under the ambit of banking services. She explained in detail the vicious cycle of debt that farmers often find themselves in and how private moneylenders exploit the former under harsh repayment conditions. Most Government schemes also fail to reach the people they’re intended to serve, for middlemen take advantage of the fact that the poor farmers either do not have a bank account, or if they have one, they don’t know how to use it.

While calling for students to employ their technical and management knowledge to solve these pressing problems, she told them about SBI’s ‘Youth for India’ initiative, which is a 13-month long rural fellowship program that sends students to far-off Indian villages to interact with the local population, understand their problems and work out effective long-run solutions.

Apart from financial inclusion, she also shared some of her wisdom on issues like gold demonetization and NPA targets set by SBI. The audience came up with a host of questions for her, all of which she answered with aplomb. Bad debts, public loans and every other issue worth talking about in context of the Indian economy were discussed in a fascinating and interactive session.

When asked what it is that inspires her, she said, “You cannot wait for others to help you. You need to help yourself.” However, she also recalled all the little things that her colleagues in the SBI campus branch used to do for her, some of which left a lasting imprint on her. “If you do 1 act of kindness, the universe will give back 100. Sometimes you do need helping hands to succeed in life”, she said while acknowledging all those who have helped her in this incredible journey of hers.

As a token of advice to the students, she ended her keynote speech saying that in an increasingly competitive world where everyone is chasing success, it is easy for the balance between your work and your life, your family to go disarray. Thus, she encouraged to think of work and life being same rather than seeing them as two disconnected entities.

As the speech ended, the auditorium hall reverberated with respectful applause and admiration for this brilliant and wonderful personality that the School was privileged to host.