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The CIO Interview with MetLife Asia Pacific’s CIO Gary Teh: Driving innovation in insurance sector

Zafar Anjum | Oct. 3, 2013
MetLife Asia Pacific’s CIO Gary Teh spells out the top three IT challenges the insurance sector faces in Asia today and how to address them.

There are two key priorities that we're focusing on for Asia to address these IT challenges:

  • Investment: Anticipate a spend of US$400m on research and development to streamline work streams and new regional applications that can be leveraged by our key markets
  • IT innovation and putting customers at the heart of the business: Continue to build out our award-winning, disruptive innovation capabilities across Asia
    • First and only insurer to introduce straight through online purchasing in Japan
    • Development of an operating system-agnostic mobile customer services application that allows 24x7 real-time self-servicing capabilities - Mobile Ubiquitous Life Insurance Access Network (MULAN)

If mobility is a big challenge for your sector, how did you turn it into an advantage?

Reality is mobility is now a need for customers not just a want. According to Wireless Intelligence, Asia Pacific is the Growth Driver of Global Mobile Industry, representing 49 percent (3.1 billion of 6.3 billion) of the global mobile connections and is expected to continue its double digit growth.

Mobility is one of the key strategic IT themes identified by MetLife to capitalise on the proliferation of smart devices in Asia. The strategy seeks to connect MetLife to its partners, agents and customers faster and in a more personalised way. By enhancing our mobile capability, we will improve our sales and service channels, and provide customers with a 24x7 global entry point to MetLife, thereby simplifying the overall customer experience.

As part of the strategy, MetLife initially launched its "Mobile Office System (MOS)", which is an operating system-agnostic mobile application platform that provides full-scale end-to-end sales resources to multiple distribution channels in real time. The result of MOS has been extremely positive. In Korea, we have a high take up rate of 90 percent and increase of 14,000 proposals per month.

Leveraging the same platform, MetLife has recently launched its MULAN application which is the same operating system-agnostic application targeted to the consumers to allow for 24x7 real-time self-servicing through mobile devices. Maximising the "leverage and reuse", the implementation was completed within four months and at half the cost of MOS.

Tell us about MetLife's technology innovations such as Mobile Office System (MOS) for salesforce and Mobile Ubiquitous Life Insurance Access Network (MULAN) for customers. What have you achieved through these innovations?

In January 2012, MetLife launched Mobile Office System (MOS) in Korea, which was hugely successful. The goal was to enable and empower our salesforce to effectively use their mobile devices to access corporate information systems outside of their offices, and to increase task efficiency and sales mobility.

What can our salesforce do with MOS?

  • Customer management: policy inquiry, payment records, prospect management, cross-sell/up-sell potential, and customer relationship management
  • Activity management: set target, track target
  • Sales management: financial need analysis, product illustration, and application submission
  • Performance management: MDRT tracking and other sales incentive tracking
  • Compensation: commission tracking
  • Sales support: online training video, market brief, sales material


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