Indian IT companies to overhaul British insurance major

Friday, 23 April 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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LONDON: British insurance major Norwich Union (NU) has appointed two Indian companies, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), to overhaul its IT systems.

This is the latest in the company's plans to offshore thousands of jobs to India as part of its cost cutting operations.

NU is already moving 3,300 administrative and call centre jobs to three business processing centres in New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune.

The three centres are handling calls for NU Direct as well as processing insurance claims and other back office operations for NU Insurance and other NU businesses.

In a new development, NU has signed up Wipro Technologies and TCS to help develop and upgrade its IT systems.

The projects, which went live this month, will see up to 370 of NU's 2,700 IT jobs transferred to Wipro and TCS by the end of this year as the two companies work with NU on specific projects.

NU Insurance chief executive Patrick Snowball last month opened Aviva's Offshore Development Centre on Wipro's hi-tech Bangalore campus.

Around 50 people are working in the centre on projects to improve NU's IT systems. Another 22 Wipro workers are based at NU's headquarters in Norwich.

Less than a quarter of the space in the new centre is currently being utilised, but that will change over the next few months as more jobs are gradually moved from Britain to India.

On its internal website, Aviva explained that it had appointed Wipro and TCS to improve its IT systems, while at the same time reducing costs.

In the same way that Indian call centres and business processing centres offer big cost savings, transferring IT operations to India are expected to cut costs by 20-35 percent.

Soumitro Ghosh, Wipro vice president insurance solutions, said: "We have a great deal of experience in dealing with the insurance industry. We understand the big challenges facing the insurance industry over the next few years.

"At Norwich Union we are looking to rationalise the number of IT systems that the company has as a result of the mergers and acquisitions.

"For example, a policy holder in the past has not been able to see all the policies he holds with Norwich Union as they may be on different computer systems. We are changing that."

Wipro worked with Prudential to overhaul its IT system so that all customer information about different policies was held together on one database.

Source: IANS
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