ITC DIA Europe

What can insurers learn from Formula E?

Written by Roger Peverelli and Reggy de Feniks - Founders The DIA Community on Jan 4, 2024

Tata Consultancy Services is a global IT services and Business Solutions company. They offer a wide range of solutions for the insurance industry, including claims management, customer service and risk management. Together with their client Legal & General, TCS embarked on a project to revamp the latter’s customer experience and accelerate their data engine to racing speed for 5 million customers. We sat down with Egmont Philips (Head of Europe, Digital Marketing & CX Practice at TCS), Tom Neville (Agile Delivery Manager at Legal & General Retail Retirement) and John Mills (Product Owner at Legal & General Retail Retirement) to talk about CX and the crucial role of data in transformation.

Why Formula E racing?

Egmont: Both our teams at TCS and Legal & General like to use our talents to drive purposeful change. In mobility, it’s about going from fossil fuels to batteries and electric, but in insurance, it’s about a different kind of change. At TCS, we design, build and grow new business models and experiences, but we also revamp existing ones, like we did together with Legal & General. Driving purposeful change has three components: Creativity, Tech and Data and combining these three brings you to the sweet spot. Also, doing it cross-industry will inspire new ideas and approaches. Formula E, a single-seater motorsport championship for electric cars is all about these three components. Only by being creative and having the latest tech and data can one succeed.

It’s important to note that seven out of ten Formula E fans are under 35. This audience cares about the environment and inclusivity. They don’t want to own things, they rather use things. So how do you communicate with them? Now, another thing that’s quite different in Formula E compared to other racing competitions, is that the circuits have more angles. Why? Because when the race car uses its brakes, the energy that comes free with it is then reused to power up and boost the racecar. This makes Formula E racing a totally different game where drivers have to reuse and regenerate energy.  

What can insurers learn from Formula E?

Egmont: There are three similarities between insurance and Formula E that I would like to emphasize:

  1. Speed of analytics: Just like in insurance, real-time data is important. In Formula E, between the qualification and the race, there are only three hours. This means that the data from the qualification needs to go to the pit, to the base, get analyzed, new strategies are created, back to the race, back in the car, GO. And of course, during the race, you need to analyze at top speed because you need to ensure your driver wins the race!
  1. Facilitating the driver: Formula E is still a manned race. So how to best facilitate the driver? How to really put the driver in the driver’s seat? This is where I think insurers can learn a great deal from and be inspired: How do we put customers in the driver’s seat?
  1. Simulation: In Formula E, you can simulate, you can make a twin, and you can already drive the race a zillion times before your tires hit the asphalt. In insurance, we can also do more about that, simulate more.

How does this translate to the “real world” – can you share some examples?

Egmont: Yes! When talking about facilitating the driver, a good example is the South African insurer Momentum Metropolitan: TCS built a conversational platform for them, that interacts with customers on Facebook, WhatsApp and of course on the self-service platform itself. The Customer Experience improved significantly, and the costs went down, as 10%-50% of the calls are now deflected thanks to this conversation strategy. Another example is a large German Bank, with whom we’ve been working together since 2013, building their app. We had to constantly update and adapt the app according to new situations and innovations. Think of implementing the Apple Watch and biometric authentication, adapting to new GDPR rules and so forth.

A good example of simulation is Bovemij, a Dutch insurer, for whom TCS created a B2C and B2B platform. Car repair companies were then added to the platform creating a whole new business model. Another example of simulation is our Digital Twin model that helps test with existing data whether a persona, a product, or proposition works or not. And that reduces the risks of your investments because we believe you need to experiment before you launch. Now the fun about racing is that you can bring all kinds of learnings from the race to the road. And from all this testing, you can bring the learnings to the road and then apply them at scale.

Working with Legal & General, we wanted to create a better world for the next generation, by making sure they have pensions, but in a way that makes it simple and easy to use. Tom and John, maybe you can explain a bit more about our work together with Legal & General!

What are things Legal & General has accomplished together with TCS?

Tom: John and I work as part of Legal & General Retail Retirement, one of the divisions of Legal & General. Our current focus is on workplace pensions. In the last decade, we grew from 1000 pension schemes and 200,000 members to 13k pension schemes, 5.2 million members and over 150 billion pounds in assets. This growth has been driven by a couple of things: auto-enrolment, and the fantastic products, propositions and services Legal & General offers.

That sounds great, but with such a tremendous growth, how do you keep pace and continue to modernise?

Life indeed has been moving pretty fast and we had to take a moment to pause and think of a solution to keep pace with the accelerating growth of our business.

Like Formula E, we too have a new audience: half of pension enrollments are 35 and under. We can’t engage with them in the “old” way: we need to be quicker, more interactive and more engaging. Self-service is important for these customers, because they don’t want to be calling in or emailing back and forth to complete their work. They want to be in control.

What kind of company is Legal & General and how do you and TCS work together?

Legal & General is an established financial services organization and has been around for over 100 years. And whilst we have experience in the tech space and we’re getting bigger, we don’t have a huge technology team. We rely on our colleagues at TCS to deliver the technology we need. They have those battle scars from implementing some of this modern new technology. They have those different horizontals that can provide their expertise and we combine that with our industry knowledge, pensions knowledge and our user experience. All this to drive things forward in a partnership.

With TCS we built My Scheme Updates (MySU), a scheme management tool for 20k users. MySU is used by both small and large companies who understandably have different needs. As such, we had to come up with a design that all our customers could efficiently make use of MySU. Throughout the design phase of MySU we divided our customer base into four broad types of users. We realized we had a very varied amount of both computer literacy and actual pension regulation knowledge, so we wanted to tailor MySU to cater for all of that. But it didn’t stop there, we’re taking a constant feedback loop in a world where we are building and running technology. Just like Formula E drivers:  keep training, run again, and take feedback from technicians to further improve.

Can you tell us a bit more about how you actually worked together?

John: With combined leadership across TCS and Legal & General, we established our ways of working, adopting Agile Scrum methodology. Two independent scrum teams were established complementing Legal & General’s experience across the workplace savings domain, coupled with TCS’s design and technical expertise in the technology choices that we’re working with: from Amazon Web Services to MongoDB and many other cloud technologies.

Team 1 was responsible for the change data capture component. It was tasked with getting access to our operational data that is held in a mainframe. Team 2 was responsible for building an industry-leading, client-facing application called ‘My Scheme Updates’, which will be used by administrators across the UK to administer their workplace pension. Finally, a joint group across TCS and Legal & General provided oversight, governance and direction to those scrum teams, ensuring an appropriate level of collaboration at all points and making sure that both teams complemented each other.

Can you further elaborate on the different roles?

John: Team 1 was responsible for figuring out how we got access to operational data from the mainframe. Our goal was to replicate that data in near real-time, using cloud technology. And by real-time, I mean within a matter of seconds. This could help us unlock incredible business benefits for the future. I must admit that some of our colleagues did not necessarily think this was even possible. But together we implemented an event streaming platform that included Click Replicate, which is a log-based change data capture solution, that ingests mainframe log files in a low-footprint manner on our mainframe. Then a combination of confluent Kafka and a MongoDB sync connector manages and streams those log files into our new operational data store, which is hosted on MongoDB. From there, we utilize AWS batch for the initial data load and AWS microservices for the change streams to keep that data up to date in near real-time. Finally, the key part of our service is to transform those existing data structures into the optimum view for the customer. This is where MySU’s value proposition truly shines – through enhanced access to operational data, precisely tailored to meet specific format requirements.

Team 2, which was in charge of creating the web application, was all about designing and building a new client-facing application to administer pension schemes. The question was clear: “How do we create one application that covers such a diverse user group, from farmers whose expertise is in the fields, not on a computer, to dedicated payroll administrators who work for the largest companies across the UK, and who want to spend as little time on this process as possible, so that they can go about their day with their many other tasks to complete? We put our customers at the heart of our ideation phase, conducting numerous one-on-one interviews in order to uncover the challenges that we have with the existing application and the opportunities to improve our overall customer experience. Our users felt that they were spending far too long on administering pension schemes. With these insights, we created a functional prototype where again, we used our customers to provide feedback on our new customer journey.

What does this new and improved customer journey look like?

John: In order to achieve a satisfactory and efficient customer journey for our customers, we came up with four key design principles that would be adhered to at every stage of development.

  1. A simple, intuitive customer journey. Our application must cater to our diverse user group, which has a wide spectrum of computer literacy. At every point of the journey, we give them clear calls to action with just 1 or 2 options to choose from. We know this is working because of the positive feedback from our clients. One new client recently told us that ‘from experience of using pension portals, this is by far the best I’ve used, it’s easy to navigate around’.
  1. Self-service. Our dashboard puts the user in full control of their pension scheme, providing all the information that they require at every point. It is vital that this happens because it will avoid them having to contact Legal & General to provide support. Clients are clearly in agreement with feedback that MySU ‘is so much easier to resolve queries when uploading the contributions’ and ‘it stops all the emails back and forth between us’.
  1. Single-user session. A user must be able to complete a submission in a single-user session by harnessing the power of our operational streaming platform (delivered by Team 1) and having greater access to our operational database in a much more customer-friendly and easier way to use, in a format defined by us. We have seen a 97% improvement in performance times. What that means is, for example, that for our largest client, with over 200,000 employees, it takes just three minutes to upload and validate all records. Don’t just take our word for it again, one client told that even in the first-time use of it, ‘I think its saved roughly 4 hours per month’, which is great to be giving our clients back time.
  1. The platform must be easily maintainable and rapidly iterative. Through the robust decisions that we made and the choices in technology, we are already starting to enhance our customer journey and add new features, which provide even more benefits to our customers and to the business division that we operate in.

Tom: We have established an enduring team that is a partnership between L&G and TCS that will continue to build and run this platform, continuing to deliver value to our clients and their businesses.

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