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Reinventing the insurance digital experience with machine learning


Growth in customer engagement


Growth in financial advisors’ lead generation

aia customer header
CLOUD: Azure

“Databricks is a reliable, scalable and collaborative platform that expedites our data analytics and machine learning solution development.”

—Eason Lai, Head of Digital Solution Architecture, Digitalization and Innovation, AIA Hong Kong and Macau

With over 3.3 million customers and more than 20,000 financial advisors in the region, AIA Hong Kong and Macau needed to transform the experience of their customers, distributors, partners and employees to meet increasing expectations for efficient financial services and seamless insurance experiences anytime and anywhere. They embarked on a digital transformation journey underpinned by data and analytics to upgrade their legacy on-premises data warehouse system, which had become structurally difficult to maintain, blocking their ability to extract data insights that could better serve their customers. With Databricks, AIA Hong Kong and Macau began their migration journey to the cloud, building a centralised lakehouse to support the development of machine learning models. This helped them deliver superior personalised financial experiences and greater customer engagement while ensuring the privacy and security of customer data. The organisation was able to increase operational efficiency, enhance risk assessment and provide faster and more comprehensive management of information.

Legacy on-premises data warehouse was unscalable and rigid

When the pandemic brought on lockdowns and remote working conditions, AIA Hong Kong and Macau saw a massive opportunity to harness the potential of data insights to capture the right audience at the right time and deliver quality engagements that would better serve their more than 3.3 million customers.

In an effort to more effectively target in-branch customers and give the company broader access to previously untapped online banking and credit card customers, AIA Hong Kong and Macau looked to rapidly scale and deploy new digital solutions so they could create personalised recommender models for customers. What AIA wanted was a 720-degree view of customers that leverages both internal and external data, such as user behavioural data, to better understand them.

However, the ever-increasing data sat in silos within their legacy, on-premises Oracle data warehouse, which was no longer a viable solution for processing the copious amounts of semi-structured data at scale on top of the structured data that they usually collected to build a holistic view into their customers.

The rigid legacy structure also led to challenges in data science modelling. AIA Hong Kong and Macau needed to find a better way to manage data access across teams to build high-quality models in a secure and consistent manner. They turned to the Azure Databricks Data Intelligence Platform to avoid the long hours spent manually tracking experiments and reworking non-reproducible experiments. Data scientists, data analysts and data engineers can now overcome integration challenges with the development team and minimise inefficiencies when adopting digital innovations.

High-performance data solution generates a holistic view of the customer

With these goals in mind, AIA Hong Kong and Macau partnered with Databricks to unlock the potential of their data, which was once stuck in silos.

With Databricks, AIA now has a core lakehouse to centralise and facilitate data engineering, data analytics and machine learning. With the high-performance and highly scalable data engineering and analytics solution, AIA’s data teams are able to achieve their goal of capitalising on both internal and external data for a 720 view of customers. By synergising internal customer data with external customer behavioural analytics data, AIA has been able to create personalised recommendation models. These models have given AIA insights into its customers’ behaviours and preferences, effectively empowering the company’s financial advisors to tailor and recommend the right insurance products to the right customers.

“Databricks helps us to manage the full machine learning lifecycle reliably, securely and at scale via MLflow. This improves efficiency and enhances collaboration between our data teams, thus reducing the time-to-market for the various data science models that support our ambition to engage new customer segments with innovative and personalised products,” said Eason Lai, the Head of Digital Solution Architecture, Digitalisation and Innovation, at AIA Hong Kong and Macau.

Uplifting customer engagements and achieving double-digit growth in customer leads

Databricks is helping AIA Hong Kong and Macau unlock unprecedented growth in new opportunities for the organisation and has helped drive double-digit growth in customer lead generation. This has, in turn, supported the development of more than 11 ML projects — a feat which was made possible by faster experimentation and deployment to production.

In addition, the ability to have a 720 view of customers has meant that financial advisors can drive the development of products through more interesting and relevant customer recommendations. Not only have customers had a more uplifting experience, but they’ve also found it easier to identify the products that best fit their needs, in turn optimising revenue for AIA Hong Kong and Macau.

As AIA Hong Kong and Macau continue their digital transformation roadmap, they are excited to continue leveraging the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform to unify data engineering, machine learning and data analytics to facilitate the rapid adoption of advanced analytics designed to improve business operations and customer experience.

“We have selected and adopted Databricks as our preferred data engineering, analytics and machine learning platform. And we are looking forward to further enabling true cross-functional collaboration across teams of data science, data engineering and analytics by leveraging this open, simple and powerful platform to deliver on more use cases to come,” said Jeffrey Liu, the Head of Architecture at AIA Hong Kong and Macau.