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HCL Awarded 11-Year Life BPO Contract Renewal to Consolidate Services by Chesnara

Chesnara plc, the life assurance consolidator, has awarded a life & pensions BPO contract renewal to HCL Insurance BPO Services Limited ('HCL') which consolidates the services provided in the existing arrangements and which extends the service for a further 11 years. The service scope across the various books remains unchanged, as do the broad service levels.

HCL’s original contract with Chesnara dates back to 2005. However, HCL also had a separate L&P BPO contract with Save & Prosper, who Chesnara purchased from JPMorgan Asset Management in December 2010. More recently, Chesnara also purchased Direct Line Life, whose L&P operations are currently in process of being transitioned to HCL. This latest acquisition by Chesnara adds a further 150,000 policy holders to the portfolio currently administered by HCL.

Accordingly, these three historically separate contracts are now being consolidated by Chesnara and HCL into a single contract to provide a consistent suite of services and SLAs across policy administration services, fund accounting, investment administration, and certain actuarial valuation and reporting services.

At the service delivery level, this involves handling all policies within a similar operating model with workflow for all policies handled through HCL’s OpEX (Operational Excellence) work management and quality assurance tools. In addition, policies are being migrated, where feasible, on HCL’s ALPS insurance platform. For example, the policies transitioned from Direct Line Life are currently being migrated onto ALPS. However, as usual, it is not feasible to handle all policies on a single platform and a small number of legacy systems will remain in place across the various books, handling approx. 50,000 policies.

In addition, within the new contract, HCL is working to ensure that service levels and service metrics are consistent across all Chesnara books of business, and HCL will be enhancing the SLAs and service metrics in place to ensure consistency with regulatory conduct risk expectations over next 18-months. This involves developing an increased focus on customer experience e.g. introducing proactive calling where there may have been a customer service issue before this issue turns into a formal complaint. The benefits of this type of approach include operations cost reduction, by reducing the level of formal complaints handling, as well as delivering improved customer experience.

The pricing mechanisms used across the various books are also being standardized and moved from pure per policy charging to a combination of per policy and activity-based pricing. For example, the pricing of core policy administration services will still tend to be per policy driven but will be rationalized by policy type across books. However, the costs of many accounting-based activities are not sensitive to the number of policies managed and so will be priced differently to achieve better alignment between service pricing and the underlying cost drivers.

Elsewhere in the industry, changes in the fiscal treatment of retirement income is forcing companies to re-evaluate their retirement product strategies and their approaches to administration of annuity and retirement books. The new legislation coming into place in the U.K. means that companies with small annuity books may no longer be adding significantly to these and so may need to treat these differently in future. This potentially creates opportunities both for consolidators and companies such as HCL who support their operations.

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