Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is one of the world’s leading insurers. Serving customers around the world for over 135 years, Zurich operates in over 170 countries and employs more than 60,000 people.
Zurich Australia dates back to 1920 when the Commonwealth General Assurance Corporation Ltd (CGA) was incorporated in New South Wales. In 1961, CGA became part of the Zurich Insurance Group. It employs more than 1,200 people in Australia, helping families and businesses all over Australia with a wide range of insurance and investment products.
Zurich is committed to maintaining its reputation as an insurer who helps advisers help customers choose the right products quickly and easily. It aims to provide fast, accurate, attentive service.
The company’s strategy puts customers at the heart of its business. Zurich rightly anticipates it needs to move with the times and is prepared to invest in innovation to benefit its customers and partners.
The challenge: Replace and improve outdated Quote and Apply solution
“The quoting and application process can be one of the lengthiest and most complex aspects of implementing life insurance advice. Adviser feedback suggested that across the entire market there was scope for improvement”
Tim Howell, Head of Propositions
Zurich’s Quote and Apply portal had been up and running for some years as a Windows-only desktop application, with an outdated design and hard-to-follow navigation. It also wasn’t compatible with the Mac operating system, and it was costly to upgrade.
Advisers are responsible for around 95 percent of Zurich’s life insurance business, so it wanted to improve the user experience significantly compared with its competitors by making the new portal best-in-class. It also wanted to maximise productivity and lift efficiency for its advisers, including faster straight-through-processing.
One of the challenges was that the process behind the current Quote and Apply tool was linear. Advisers had to go through the process step-by-step, and if any new combinations were required – for example redirecting a portion of life insurance via super – the quote had to be restarted.
Another frustration was the inability to pre-populate fields before a client visit. “This meant advisers were taking up more client time than was necessary,” explains Zurich Head of Digital, Marc Fabris.
“The existing tool also didn’t use screen real estate well. There were too many screens and it was hard to navigate as a new user. It took up a third of your monitor space and you couldn’t maximise the window,” he adds.
The company wanted to refresh this Quote and Apply technology and service offering to its advisers and went to market to find best-of-breed vendors in the customer portal space.
“We wanted to be more forward-looking,” says Marc. “We liked the UnderwriteMe rules engine, which evaluates the impact of answers to key questions. And we wanted to use life insurance software developers Omnium for the front-end calculation engine.
“Each of these vendors was best in market in their particular niche. But we were missing how to pull the project together to provide the best overall customer experience.”
Marc Fabris, Head of Digital
The solution: Jade’s UX skills plus collaborative partnership
This is where Jade entered the picture. Marc had encountered Jade previously and knew of its experience building and upgrading Australian company Clearview’s portals, software platforms, and website. He also knew of Jade’s reputation working with fellow insurer TAL, building their CoverBuilder and Lifebroker products.
“Based on their marketplace kudos, we worked with Jade on a short design sprint, and liked the way they operated,” says Marc. “We didn’t have in-house design experience skills, plus Jade has excellent domain knowledge, so I was confident we had the ideal third partner.”
With the missing piece of the puzzle in place, Zurich combined Jade, UnderwriteMe and Omnium in a three-way collaboration to design and build its new Quote and Apply portal. Jade would provide the customer insights and design, UnderwriteMe the rules engine and Omnium the calculations engine and front-end user interface.
Bringing these three domain specialists together – as well as another vendor (WalkMe) who was brought in later in the project to help users get quickly up to speed with the app – was an ambitious undertaking by Zurich. However, Marc was adamant he wanted the best-of-breed across every aspect of the project to make sure the experience was as leading-edge and frictionless as possible.
Jade’s contribution: Experience design delivers unrivalled efficiency
Marc explains that project timelines were tight, so it kicked off very early in 2018, with Jade being brought in to conduct the initial discovery process. He shared with the Jade team the results of a user survey Zurich had done in 2017, which gave some useful insights around the existing portal’s functionality and usability.
Jade Experience Designer Michael Busby was extensively involved with the project throughout. “We kicked off with a discovery phase,” he explains, “by visiting a number of advisers, asking them how they did their job and how they interacted with the existing Quote and Apply tool. This uncovered pain points and gave us insights into opportunities for the new solution.
“Using this qualitative research, the quantitative Zurich survey results, as well as Zurich stakeholder feedback we mapped out these pain points across the user journey. With this input, we designed a prototype for user testing with advisers and support staff.”
Marc Fabris, Head of Digital
As part of the discovery phase, Jade conducted two rounds of user testing, so they could compare user satisfaction with the prototype, from initial concept through to final design. “We went from an NPS score of 13 during prototyping to 60 with the beta version,” says Michael, “which was great in showing us how the design had improved. The SUS (System Usability Score) jumped significantly too - from 78 to 84 out of 100, highlighting the success of the design.”
Feedback from the two rounds of user engagement was incorporated, and the prototype was refined before it was handed over to Omnium developers for the production design phase.
The Omnium team were included from early in the discovery phase, so they could appreciate the technical implications that the user discussions raised.
The benefits: Advisers spend time on customers, not paperwork
The relaunched Zurich Adviser Portal has become a key part of the company’s operation. The channel is used by its independent advisers for quotes and applications, client management and service requests.
Marc says Zurich have experienced strong adviser take-up of around 60 percent since go-live in mid-October. “Initial figures also show that we’re experiencing around 20 percent more users since our new portal went live, as well as a much higher number of quotes.”
He explains he had two main goals at the outset of the project: The portal needed to be easy for new users to understand and use, and it must be a seamless process for existing users.
The end result was a significantly more flexible system, with single sign-on, which gives advisers control over preferences and default settings. There is also an easy-to-navigate dashboard, and all menu options are easy to find.
User preferences also mean, for example, that often-quoted products appear at the top of the options list and regularly-populated fields don’t have to be re-keyed each time. This helps advisers reduce the time spent on quoting.
One of the keys to achieving this was to simplify the navigation and user interface, and make it easy to add extra products at any stage of the quoting process. This is where Jade’s user experience knowledge and skills came into play.
Advisers simply click the product name in the top ribbon and update options, such as the amount of cover required. Smart navigation allows them to jump to any point in the quote process without having to re-enter information. Premium calculations are updated instantly and respond in real-time as the adviser moves through the intuitive quote process.
Marc says the scenario planning, in particular, has been a game-changer. “This functionality was flagged strongly during the journey mapping work,” he says. “It became apparent through interviews that advisers might do up to eight quotations with different variables. They would then print them out and put them side-by-side for the client to compare.
“With the new planning feature, they can build up scenarios, copy, duplicate and change them and only have to enter the client details once. They can toggle between them like tabs in a browser window. They can then select two and compare them side-by-side on the screen. You can even export the scenarios to manipulate the data in spreadsheets.”
Jade provides a long-term partnership with agility
“Along with our partners Omnium, UnderwriteMe and Jade Software, we were able to tap into deep user insights about quoting software across the market to identify priority areas, such as side-by-side policy comparisons, navigation within applications and simplifying the process of adding and removing optional benefits.”
Tim Howell, Head of Propositions
Marc and the team at Zurich are very pleased with the results of the collaborative development of the new Zurich Adviser Portal, which handles quotes, applications, renewals, client management, notifications, scenario planning and advice tools. “Even though we had multiple parties working together, the project went exceptionally well,” he says.
“We like the initial structure and look and feel. Iterating the prototype based on adviser feedback worked well, and the beta testing before the final stages of development allowed us to iron out any final issues.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Jade because they respond in an agile way. We’ve had good trust, partnership and communication, which means we’ve been able to work together to get elements within the project over the line under tight timelines. Jade has been very responsive. If I’ve needed something quickly, they’ve delivered,” he says.
“An example of how well our new portal has been received was illustrated with recent feedback from an adviser’s assistant. She told me: ‘After I checked out your system I jumped out of my chair and danced over to my adviser and said how much I love the new Zurich system.’ You can’t get much better user experience than that!” he concludes.
“The resulting platform is, we believe, a market leader, and one that will not only aid practice efficiency but will also enhance the client experience”
Marc Fabris, Head of Digital
Here is a link to Zurich’s new portal: https://www.zurich.com.au/advisers/tools-and-resources/zurich-adviser-portal.html
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