Established in 1962 as a state owned corporation, Sri Lanka Insurance was converted to a private limited liability company for a brief period of 6 years and was reinstated as a nationalized entity on 4th June 2009. The return of ownership to the state has further strengthened the company , which today is the largest government owned insurer in Sri Lanka with an unparalleled managed asset base of over Rs 171.8 billion, the largest life fund in the insurance industry of Rs 90.3 billion and a strong capitalization of Rs 6 billion.
As the pioneering insurer, Sri Lanka Insurance has the most experienced technical knowledge base in the country. The company’s financial stability and strong re-insurance arrangements have paved the way for it to mark many historical milestones in the Sri Lankan insurance arena such as the largest claim ever paid of Rs 39.5 billion and declaring the largest life insurance bonuses year on year to its life policy holders with the latest being a staggering 5.4 Billion.
Until 2008, Sri Lanka Insurance IT systems was based on the mainframe base legacy systems where much of the data entry was performed as back office operations. Over 50 staff has assigned for these data entry operations which was time consuming and increases operational cost for maintenance and controlling. Not all operations were computerized and many operations were performed manually. The systems in place were not integrated where many standalone systems were operated having duplicates of data entries. This situation has created lot of frauds as staff were able to misused due to lack of system controls available in the legacy systems.
The key challenge Bellvantage has to face is to change the state mind set of the staff members where more than 70% of the staff base was over 40 years old. There was a huge resistance from the employees on converting these legacy systems in to well organized integrated system. Many of the staff were not familiar with the technologies and due to their age there was a big resistance to go for a fully automated system. Further there was lack of documentations on the business processes where each department has their own way of managing the operations. Many of the knowledge of these operations were with the senior staff members where some were in their retirement age. However Bellvantage has received an advantage as when the automation was in planning stage the ownership was with the private sector. Management at that time identify and played supportive role to Bellvantage to overcome the political resistances. In technical point of view the greatest challenge was to migrate the system from mainframe to Oracle where management has already invested on Oracle licenses.
The very first activity that Bellvantage did is to create the need for the integrated IT system in order to increase the operational excellence. The top management was pressurizing the staff for profitability of the organization and client centric service approaches. This has easy the process of changing the mind set to create the need of IT system. Further Bellvantage has started some events to motivate staff members to use of computers such as gaming, rewards, etc.. with the help of management.
Once need is created the biggest challenge was to obtain the existing business processes in order to map with the system features. Since there was lack of documentation available Bellvantage has to implement some pilot projects to capture business requirements. Accordingly many of the data entry operations were discontinued and was able to got on boarded the branch users also in to computer systems.
In the meantime there several R&D was in place on data migration from mainframe to Oracle and it was success at one point where the decision was taken to go ahead with the system implementation.
Accordingly Bellvantage has formed a dedicated project team for the implementation which consist of key users who had to perform user acceptance and any customization required. Steering committee was formed with consist of top management and regular meetings was arranged to monitor the progress.
Bellvantage team was located on site so that full time commitment from the Bellvantage was guaranteed. Project was well planned and necessary changes were incorporated only based on the steering committee decisions.
Initially head office operations was implemented and based on the success other branches roll out was performed.
By 2009 Bellvantage was able to migrate the entire mainframe base life and general system in to new systems where many of the operations were customized to their requirements. This has reduce much of the staff resistance to turn in to integrated systems. Further system has integrated with the SAP General Ledger so that all the financial transactions were pushed to SAP GL on daily basis.