Bejing, China - IBM and Taikang Life Insurance Co. Ltd., China's fifth largest life insurance company, are launching a collaborative research project to help solve some of the information management challenges facing the worldwide insurance industry today.Taikang Life will use the worldwide resources from IBM's China, Almaden and Tokyo labs to improve the performance and usability of business intelligence applications embedded in the insurer's federated database systems.

The goal of the project is to enable the use of information as a service by enhancing their platform for more efficient sharing of information, improved operational efficiency and as a result, better customer service.

Taikang Life is undertaking this project to gain a competitive advantage through improving the efficiency of its insurance processes while reducing costs. The project will leverage Taikang Life's service-oriented architecture (SOA) that ties disparate data together, to provide a clear, real-time view of customer information.

"We have chosen IBM as our technology partner because we know that to outpace fierce competition in China we need to manage our information as an asset and find ways to turn information into innovative services that return value for our customers while improving our bottom line," says Taikang Life's CFO and Chief Actuary, Yin Qimin.

The project is expected to help Taikang Life enable access of data across various platforms, warehouses, and databases by using IBM's information management research and software including the IBM Insurance Information Warehouse lab.

Some of the challenges the project will address include: enhancing the insurance underwriting process; enabling a single view of the customer; providing greater intelligence and data about individual customer needs for upselling and cross selling purposes; improving the ability to capture, track and display performance information for management; and improving the database-intensive clearance process during which databases from multiple branches need to be searched.

"This is a real life example of IBM working with clients to generate new ideas and innovative solutions that deliver business value," says Nelson Mattos, vice president, information and interaction, IBM Research.

"The project allows our researchers to utilize the global industry assets we have like the Insurance Application Architecture and Insurance Information Warehouse and further refine them for future engagements."

Taikang Life currently uses IBM WebSphere Information Integrator, IBM DB2 Universal Database and IBM Informix Dynamic database systems to federate data into a central repository. The company also uses IBM eServer iSeries and IBM eServer pSeries servers.

Sources: Taikang Life, IBM Corp.

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