Business continuity in a COVID-19 world


Supporting insurers, clients and customers in a world of remote working

By Mike Hinton, Chief Technology Officer at Innovation Group


Innovation Group provides technology-led business process outsourcing (BPO) services around the globe for over 1,200 insurers, manufacturers, fleets and their consumers. We deliver this with over 2,000 staff in our global call centres handling claims and associated services. Our customers rely on us to continue to provide these services even amidst the most challenging working environment in recent history. COVID-19 has certainly changed the way we look at remote working and has possibly changed the way we will work in the future for good. Microsoft Azure is helping us to meet this epic challenge.

Secure deployment and scale at pace

In a world where many governments have, quite rightly, enforced work to be completed from home, we had to think carefully and quickly implement solutions that not only enable us to provide continuous service but to do so in scalable and secure manner. By utilising Microsoft’s Azure Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) and app virtualisation services we were able provide our BPO centres around the world the ability to work remotely in a matter of days. This means we have continued to support our customers without a break in service whilst putting the health and safety of our people first.

Technology-enabled remote working

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) was identified as an effective solution to standardise our remote working requirements around the world, aligned with our core technology strategy. We began a successful pilot programme in January 2020 in partnership with our German business, but following the identification of COVID-19 as a business risk this programme was rapidly expanded across the globe. We now have almost a third of our global workforce currently utilising WVD across all lines of business – from call centre to finance. As the global coronavirus situation develops over the coming days we will be looking at up to 100% utilisation across the workforce.

Our deployment is easily and quickly scalable in response to ever-changing requirements; from a simple office closure in normal times to a global pandemic like COVID-19. WVD is also deployed within regions to ensure data residency requirements are met and performance is optimum.

"We are able to continue to support our customers in the most difficult of situations and put the protection of our people first."

We are here to help our industry

Companies in the insurance industry have spent many years outsourcing their claims operations, however many claims processes are still heavily reliant on people - and therefore call centres - based all around the globe. We are already receiving requests for support from our global clients whose call centres simply do not have the ability to work remotely, have had a severe interruption to service due directly to the health of their people, or do not have the systems to drive automation into their processes. Through Innovation Group’s Gateway solution, in combination with Azure VDI, we have a ready-made Claims as a Service (CaaS) platform ready to implement in days and help those who are unable to provide service in the interim. Gateway utilises best-in-class modern technology on a PaaS framework in the Microsoft Azure environment to ensure we can rapidly spin up performant and secure micro-service-based applications to handle either overflow or a complete handoff of claims volumes for our clients. Potentially live within a matter of hours, the solution can be scaled as required and spun-down once normal service resumes if required. This includes handling essential claims services like First Notification of Loss (FNOL), Total Loss, Remote Estimation (via video and images) and network management. Combined with our skilled remote and always-available operational teams we have the ability to support policy holders when required outside of the automated and digital process.

Has COVID-19 changed the way we work forever?

By being able to scale up platforms and remote working using Microsoft Azure’s various tools, in combination with Office 356 and Teams as our collaboration platform, I think the way we look at and see remote working in the future has changed already. We are able to continue to support our customers in the most difficult of situations and put the protection of our people first. Our customers can rest assured that their data is secure and our people can focus on being safe whilst continuing to provide a critical service. Not only that, we now have the capacity to take on more from our customers and help our industry leaders in insurance during these uncertain times, whether that be for short-term service or longer term engagements. We are seeing better productivity as our people are safe and we are still able to deliver service quality in support of our clients’ own end customers.

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