Using OutSystems, Zurich Insurance Group created a digital platform (online portal + iOS and Android app for tablets and smartphones) for agents, replacing a system that agents found difficult to use. Agents get more done, thanks to the portal’s streamlined functions, sharp new designs, the new app, and its mobile notifications. The result is more business for Zurich. Since rolling out the new digital platform, Zurich’s new policy sales have had a sharp increase.
"Zurich’s senior management felt a digital platform was needed because the reconfigured quoting tool’s website along with the screen scraping solution for policy administration, claims handling, and receipt collection was difficult for agents to use. The initial plan was to buy a software product, but the team opted to try a low-code approach instead. When the first releases went live, the trust for low-code quickly followed."
User Experience Challenges Agent Engagement
Challenge - Zurich Insurance Group is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets. With about 53,000 employees, it provides a wide range of property and casualty and life insurance products and services in more than 210 countries and territories. Zurich’s customers include individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized and large companies, as well as multinational corporations.
In Portugal, the company partners with more than 1,000 agents to offer policies to individuals and small-to-medium enterprise customers. For years, agents had online access to Zurich’s business information and processes. The goal was to eliminate paperwork so they could get more done. But the system, which was a screen scraping solution for the back-end AS/400 system, had had its time.
Because the system was initially built for internal use only, it did not provide the best user experience for agents and had a difficult learning curve, especially for a web-based population. Also, information was scattered throughout the solution and the user interface was outdated, given today’s design user expectations. As a result of all these factors, recruiting new agents was an uphill battle.
“We thought it was important to have a user-friendly solution, and the current solution at the time wasn’t doing the job,” said Marco Navega, Program Director at Zurich. “We were using old technology to convert black and green screens to create a web-like feeling. It was easy and fast to do so, but it was tough to bring new agents in to use the platform. We needed something new.”
A Dedicated Agent Portal, Accessible on Any Device
Solution - Zurich decided to create a comprehensive omnichannel agent experience, starting with a dedicated online portal, an app for tablets, and an app for smartphones, that would be easier and more fun for agents to use while handling all their business. One of the objectives was to have it up and running quickly. Using conventional development methods would have taken well over a year.
So, Zurich opted for something different. The IT team had used OutSystems before, so they knew it would save development time and deliver a modern user experience. Buy-in on the platform from the business side took more time since they had different plans.
“The business was open to change. They felt it was needed, but in the beginning, there was hesitation, as they were planning to buy a software product instead,” Navega said. “But, when the first releases went live, the trust quickly followed.”
- Speed of development and implementation
- Easy creation of a UX according to today’s standards
- Zurich IT team’s familiarity with OutSystems
- OutSystems support
Happier Agents Increase Policy Business
Results - In just 4 months, the new portal made its debut. After that, the team rolled out a new release each month.
Agents immediately took to the new platform and reacted positively to a long list of new features. For example, a quick search gets them a 360-degree view of customer activity. They can log in to the app using a fingerprint reader. And, they get mobile notifications on the fly.
"The feedback has been great, and we’re seeing a real increase in users. More agents work directly with us because of the new platform. The old platform was very difficult to use, and it was difficult to bring new agents in. Now, they’re excited to use our application."
Senior management is also pleased with the speed of the rollout and the quality of the releases. “Overall, the business side is very happy with the results,” Navega said. “It’s not just about speed – it’s a matter of quality. We’ve had limited resources to do this, but it’s more important to have a quality product than to have a so-so product that the agents won’t use at all.”
The platform includes:
- First notification of loss
- A management dashboard
- Universal search
- A 360-degree view of customers, policies, claims, and receipts
- 20 non-life quoting tools
- Workflow authorization process for out-of-autonomy quotes
- iOS and Android app for tablets and smartphones with all functionalities
- Ability to edit customer data
- Receipt collection
- Social Security file management for workers’ compensation policies
Navega said the most important lesson he learned about following an agile methodology in a traditional environment is to get support from the top.
“You need to have buy-in from senior managers. Only then can you negotiate with the line managers about the availability and commitment of their resources to the project. If you don’t have buy-in from the top, you won’t have the business resources available to do these kinds of projects,” he said. “Because they’re not just IT projects, they’re business projects”
- The new digital platform has contributed to a sharp increase in policy business
- Agents find new systems easier to use
- Zurich able to build new system in 12 weeks
- Functions can be easily updated with weekly changes