NTUC Income

Since 1970, NTUC Income has been a provider of a wide range of insurance products in Singapore..To stay ahead of the competition, the insurer consistently looks to IT to enhance its business efficiencies and better customer service.Given the competitive nature of the business, any IT implementation "must be aligned to business goals, and ultimately translate to business benefits such as increased customer loyalty, brand equity and increase in sales", notes James Kang, CIO of NTUC Income.

In 2005, the company launched a significant initiative that revolutionalized the way the company functioned. Managing large amounts of paper documents accumulated over the years proved challenging, as the records were susceptible to natural disasters and their quality deteriorated over time. Moreover, retrieval of hard copy documents, particularly older ones, was labor-intensive and costly.

Industry
Insurance

Company
NTUC Income has over 1.8 million policyholders and is Singapore's largest general insurer. It has 12 branch offices in the country.

Employees
3,900, of which 2,500 are insurance advisors

IT staff
100

Annual IT Budget
S$20 million (US$12.5 million)

To address the issue, NTUC Income launched the Digital Warehouse, a project that saw 40 million paper documents converted into electronic images.

To ensure that documents are digitized in accordance with the country's Evidence Act, NTUC Income set up Evidence-Act Counters (EA Counters) to scan paper documents in a manner that would allow them to be used in court proceedings.

At the same time, it introduced the Straight-Through Electronic Processing (STEP) application, which enables insurance advisers to capture customer signatures and file insurance forms electronically. The forms are then processed electronically by underwriters in a truly paperless fashion.

The benefits from going digital were tremendous--NTUC Income has managed to achieve annual savings of over S$4 million (US$2.5 million). In addition, customers have been delighted with the more than 40 percent improvement in turnaround time for policy processing. The STEP initiative also eliminates human errors in information input, and also frees up some of its human resources for channeling to customer service.

Another significant IT accomplishment during the year was enabling the central management of all of NTUC Income's IT assets. This allowed its IT administrators to deploy, manage and troubleshoot systems located in 12 locations across Singapore remotely.

Unlike previously, where an IT project with an estimated two-month roll-out timeframe involved seven engineers, a similar project could be completed in two days with only one engineer. The information available in the system also aided audits and corporate governance reports.