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CZ Health Insurance Serves 3.7 Million Policyholders With OutSystems

3.7 million policyholders
3.5 million contact center calls p.a.
4.6 rating CZ Claims mobile app
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CZ is the Netherlands’ third-largest non-profit health insurer, helping 21% of the population get access to good, affordable healthcare. As an early adopter, CZ has been using OutSystems since 2014.

Having grown from one pioneering developer to over thirty, now several of CZ’s most business-critical customer-facing systems run on OutSystems, including their contact center and both web and mobile applications used by policyholders during the claims process.

  • Business Process Management
  • Case Management
  • Customer Experience
  • Digital Core Systems
  • Legacy Modernization
  • Mobile Applications
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Web Apps & Portals
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“Innovation is at the heart of CZ, transcending the value and quality we demand from healthcare providers, and how we improve customer experience. Our policyholders deserve modern, convenient, and easy to use systems. OutSystems helps us deliver those faster and more cost-effectively.”

Ton Van Rhijn Director IT, IM and Data Science, CZ

Unifying Customer and User Experience in a Complex IT Landscape

CZ was founded in 1930 as Het Centraal Ziekenfonds (The Central Health Fund). It has grown through a series of collaborations and mergers to become the third-largest non-profit health insurer in the Netherlands. It now serves 3.7 million citizens, giving it a 21% share of the Dutch market.

The Netherlands’ public healthcare system underwent a significant transformation in 2006. The country’s compulsory universal health insurance system is one of the most highly regarded in the world. Nevertheless, increasing demand for care from an aging population, increasingly expensive treatment options, and high expectations from citizens make this a highly competitive industry, as Ton Van Rhijn, CZ’s CIO explains.

“We say keeping healthcare high quality, affordable, and available is our ‘license to operate.’ Everything we do has to be measured by that yardstick.”

Ton Van Rhijn Director IT, IM and Data Science, CZ

And since every citizen is at liberty to switch health insurer each year, there’s an extra motivation to provide policyholders both the best quality of care and the best quality of customer experience.

“Every year, roughly 7% of the population switch insurers, but 96% of CZ’s policyholders renew year after year, which is something we take great pride in,” explains Ton.

Outperforming the market this way is in part thanks to providing policyholders excellent experiences and frictionless interactions, whether that’s in person or via digital channels.

But with a wide variety of IT systems—including bespoke mainframe systems running on DB2 databases, .NET and Java bespoke systems, packaged ERP and CRM systems, and some legacy internal Lotus Notes applications—it was becoming increasingly hard for CZ to deliver the kinds of frictionless customer experiences that they desired.

Back in 2014, when the term “Low-Code Application Development Platform” was first coined by Forrester Research, Ton decided his team should investigate. “I had already been a 4GL enthusiast in the eighties, but so far, it had not lived up to the hype,” says Ton. “But given the new promises of faster development, we needed to investigate, in the interests of our policyholders.”

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Why CZ chose OutSystems:
  • ...Increase professional developer productivity
  • ...Enterprise-grade scalability and security
  • ...Deliver omnichannel CX solutions

Ramping-Up from One to Thirty+ Developers

Solution Architect Frank Sprengers led the evaluation of several leading application development platforms, including OutSystems. “Our vision was to increase professional developer productivity, rather than empower independent business-led development,” explains Frank. “Nevertheless, we wanted to work in a more agile way with smaller teams and thereby get closer to the business.”

“We met with Vopak to see how they were using OutSystems and were impressed that they were building enterprise-class systems, even replacing their ERP. We decided that of the platforms we had reviewed, OutSystems was most likely to meet our requirements, to get beyond small workgroup apps, and tackle more strategic requirements.”

CZ engaged OutSystems professional services to conduct a limited proof of concept. “A crucial aspect of our evaluation was integration with a wide variety of internal systems, including finance, CRM, DB2 mainframe applications, and other bespoke applications. We also showed how we could replace and improve a Lotus Notes application and use OutSystems alongside our Sitecore content management system.”

CZ became an OutSystems customer at the end of 2014. Initially, Frank was the only developer. His first project was to replace an Access database application used to transform foreign claims into the domestic format and claims in the Dutch format into German or Belgian formats. Meanwhile, several colleagues started to investigate OutSystems using self-study training materials.

Over the next five years, the adoption of OutSystems grew significantly, as CZ tackled increasingly strategic customer-facing development requirements. “In 2017, our Enterprise Architecture team defined a clear policy of when to use OutSystems or other development technologies,” explains Ton. “From that point on, OutSystems adoption accelerated.”

Governance now started to be more critical, as Frank explains. “I now head-up our OutSystems center of excellence function, as a ‘Guild Leader’ facilitating collaboration between over thirty OutSystems developers. OutSystems has become a strategic platform for CZ, so best practices, common ways of working, maximizing reuse, and architecture considerations are increasingly important.”

CZ now has over twenty developers using OutSystems every day, and another ten to fifteen developers using OutSystems at least some of the time. CZ has in the region of 400 OutSystems developed modules in production.

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"Our OutSystems developer teams are smaller, faster; they work more dynamically with the business. I would say OutSystems has significantly boosted our agility."

Frank Sprengers Solution Architect, CZ

Delivering More Value to CZ’s Policyholders

Now, five years into its OutSystems journey, OutSystems has become a crucial part of CZ’s IT solution architecture. “We have business-critical systems running on OutSystems,” explains Ton. “Customer service and our whole omnichannel approach involve OutSystems.” Examples of those applications include:

  • Mika - Contact Center Solution – used by 500 customer service agents to serve 3.7 million policyholders. The portal provides agents a 360-degree view of each customer, including details of all claims. Mika integrates with AI technology, which helps agents offer advice and resolve issues more quickly and accurately. Mika handles around 3.5 million calls each year.
  • Maestro – Workflow Director – a back-office integration hub that directs required workflows whenever customer data needs to be updated. This underpins CZ’s omnichannel customer experience. Whether a data update request comes from the contact center, or self-service web or mobile apps, Maestro takes care of the required workflow to ensure systems of record are updated. Maestro decouples the frontend, reducing integration development cost and complexity with heterogeneous systems, including mainframes, CRM, and bespoke policy and claims systems.
  • Zorgvinder – Care Finder – a web search portal that helps citizens find specialized and contracted Dutch healthcare providers. The search portal is implemented for five brands, as CZ white labels its insurance products for other insurance groups, including Nationale-Nederlanden and the Netherlands’ police care collective. One of these sites, zorgvinder.cz.nl, handles around 700,000 each year.
  • Declareren – Mobile Claims Submission – a mobile app used by policyholders to submit healthcare claim expenses, enabling the quick and easy upload of expenses and associated claims details. This native app has been downloaded over 700,000 times by policyholders from the Google and Apple app store and is highly rated—4.6 in the Google Play Store.

CZ adopted OutSystems with a vision of improving developer productivity and getting closer to the business. “My vision was intelligent IT staff working side-by-side with businesspeople, focusing on the requirements rather than fighting with technology,” says Ton.

Has that vision been delivered? “We’ve moved a long way in that direction,” agrees Frank. “Our OutSystems developer teams are smaller, faster; they work more dynamically with the business. I would say OutSystems has significantly boosted our agility.”

That business agility is all in the service of policyholders, helping CZ innovate to drive down administrative costs while improving the customer experience, as Ton confirms.

“Innovation is at the heart of CZ, transcending the value and quality we demand from healthcare providers, and how we improve customer experience. Our policyholders deserve modern, convenient, and easy to use systems. OutSystems helps us deliver those faster and more cost-effectively.”

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