Zurich Building Darkened

Zurich: Sustainability and scalability in life insurance

Not another cookie cutter approach to technology or customer experience 
Mark Teasdale

Zurich Insurance Group is a leading multi-line insurer that serves customers around the world. Founded in the city of Zurich, Switzerland in 1872, Zurich Australia was established in 1920 when the Commonwealth General Assurance Corporation Ltd (CGA) was incorporated in New South Wales.

After the acquisition of ANZ’s life and consumer credit insurance business (OnePath Life) on the 1st of June 2019, Zurich Australia is now one of the largest life insurers in Australia serving more than two million customers and paying more than $1 billion per annum in claims. 

The Problem

After working with Jade on designing and implementing a new quoting and application experience (‘Zurich Quote & Apply’) for financial advisers who were considering Zurich policies for their clients, Zurich shifted their focus to address two additional areas of improvement:  

  • Operational efficiencyThe ability in which Zurich could write new policies, execute renewals, keep customer information current, and service customer claims.
  • Customer retention: The unacceptable rate in which existing policyholders were churning from Zurich products. 

The Solution 

Based on industry domain knowledge, Jade anticipated that Zurich was considering the implementation of a self-service customer portal to address these problems, as well as additional automation options to shorten resolution time for requests reported to call centre staff. To suitably address the problems, Jade proposed and executed a 7-week discovery phase composed of two streams.  

Stream one: User experience 
This stream sought the appropriate data to validate the business problem and determined the right thing to build.  

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Activities included reviewing available quantitative and qualitative data for affected user groups (primarily call centre staff and policyholders); conducting stakeholder interviews to understand specific use cases, user flows and pain points; synthesising insights and making recommendations. 

“We had confidence in Jade’s approach to user experience design at the outset, given their previous work on our adviser portal. The combination of stakeholder interviews with data analysis, prototype design and testing is a strong differentiator for Jade. This competency helped validate our business challenge and visualise where we were going.” – Paul Brock, Customer Experience & Retention Manager 

Stream two: Technical
This stream ensured that a new digital solution would be scalable, sustainable, and compatible with Zurich’s existing infrastructure. 

Drawing on the outputs of the UX research steam, activities included: working closely with Zurich technical stakeholders to understand the enterprise IT landscape and how it might constrain or enable a new solution; envisioning the solution design for a self-service portal that integrated with Zurich’s existing infrastructure and third-party technology partners. 

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The discovery phase combined contextual research and industry insight, validating the case for organisational change and a self-service customer portal. The ultimate outcome of the discovery phase was a timed and costed delivery plan that created confidence in the scale of investment required as well as the expected returns in customer experience and operational efficiency. 

“Zurich derived immense value from the breadth and depth of Jade’s technical experience and expertise. Their technical consultants were able to paint and support the execution of a clear, credible picture of how to sustainably evolve our technology usage for operational efficiency, scalability, and customer experience.” – Brendon Norton, Head of Customer Experience & Retention 


Post discovery phase
Zurich’s project management office and business sponsors greenlit the portal build, assembling a cross-functional team of internal staff and partners to execute the initial development phase. In this next phase, Jade contributed user experience, Salesforce Lightning and business analysis expertise, ensuring that the user-facing components were defined and built-in direct response to research insights.  

An initial iteration of the new ‘My Zurich’ portal was released to a subset of users within four months of starting the project. A wider rollout to all customers followed soon after.   


The Outcome
 

Just over a year since the initial release of the My Zurich portal, Zurich’s Customer Experience and Retention Manager for the Life and Investment lines of business reported: 

  • Approximately 1500 new registrations of the portal each month  
  • Up to 6000 users logging in each month 
  • Rolling 12-month TNPS has improved by 8 points since portal launch 
  • Nearly 30% of ad hoc credit card payments are now being made through the portal 
  • Over 40% of updates to payment details are now made through the portal 
  • Thousands of updates to contact information have been made, especially to mobile numbers, enabling Zurich to communicate with customers 

When contrasting these observations with Zurich’s pre-2019 operating model, in which difficulty executing payment renewals was losing Zurich customers and updates to contact details required the manual intervention of call centre staff, it’s no surprise that Zurich was delighted. 

“Zurich is increasingly realising the intended benefits of this initiative, and our partnership with Jade is a big part of that. Given their unique blend of domain knowledge, technical depth, user-experience design and dedicated personnel, we look forward to strengthening the partnership with Jade in future.” – Brendon Norton, Head of Customer Experience & Retention  


The My Zurich portal is already delivering intended benefits. Usage of the portal by customers is 
affecting cost reductions and operational efficiencies in the business. This value is accelerating in 2020 as Zurich drives greater awareness of the portal and continues to build on its feature set. In addition, with the assistance of partners like Jade, Zurich has built the capability to operate and iterate the portal without perpetual reliance on external expertise.    



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