Having streamlined the on-boarding and off-boarding of its internal workforce, life insurer TAL is now preparing to use its identity access management platform to help proactively address compliance requirements across the organisation.
TAL is Australia’s largest life insurer. The company’s roots can be traced back to New Zealand with the formation in 1869 of the Government Life Insurance Office. It entered the Australian market, as TOWER, in the early ’90s. Today, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan’s Dai-ichi Life, TAL insures more than 3.7 million Australians.
Several years ago, the company embarked on an ambitious digital transformation journey that had as a key aim boosting its direct relationship with customers. Part of that has involved a significant branding exercise to help it better engage directly with Australians.
“Traditionally, there’s a lot business anchored around very trusted partnerships between TAL and advisors as well as superannuation funds,” explained the company’s GM architecture, Atul Sood.
“We made ourselves visible,” Sood added. “It was a direct connection we wanted to make with all Australians, so Australians could see what TAL is all about and the value propositions TAL has to directly offer to customers.
“The whole branding of TAL is around how we are looking after the Australian community and how we are protecting people’s lives, which is a very different business to protecting things — it makes us very different to some of the general insurers.”
That program has involved strengthening digital channels to engage with potential customers as well as the company’s partners, but has also involved internal changes for the company, Sood said.
“When you talk about digitisation, we don’t talk about just the front layer of the architecture – we talk about the end-to-end stack,” he said.
“We have set up digital frontends, but then we’ve got services, we’ve got consolidation of disparate data across the organisation and then we’ve got the core legacy systems still at the back.”
Digitisation of TAL’s internal processes was “part of the gig,” he said.
Part of the digital transformation program has been rolling out new identity platforms for its customers and its internal workforce.
“There are challenges with identity: Making sure that we know who is talking to us,” Sood said. “From the customer, partner and internal workforce perspective it becomes quite challenging in a digital world.”
“We’re in the life insurance business, which means we keep a lot of sensitive information about people,” Sood said. “So it is important for us to have very strict, stringent controls as to who’s got access to what.”
The company tackled identity management in two halves, he added, rolling out separate programs for managing customer and internal workforce identity.
Internally, the company rolled out SailPoint’s IdentityIQ platform to help automate and centrally manage identity for its heterogeneous workforce.
“We were looking for robust capabilities to automate, as much as possible, access management for the internal workforce,” he said.
IdentityIQ has made it easier to onboard and offboard employees as well as manage the permissions of more than 1800 individual across some 200 applications, Sood said.
“There are many flavours of internal workforce: There are employees, there are contractors, there are third-party vendors,” Sood said.
“All of them need access to your internal systems, to either troubleshoot or to access information on customers, etc.
“We pretty much had different processes for different styles of workforce. All three of them were robust enough, but we didn’t have streamlined processes, and that’s what really we achieved out of this initiative.”
Sood said that the rollout has helped “make our employees and our internal workforce productive from the day they actually start with TAL”.
TAL is ready to embark on “part two of the program” Sood said — the rollout of proactive user access reviews using IdentityIQ.
“We want to automate looking at who’s got access to what, proactively, and audit that on an ongoing basis,” he explained.