A leading reinsurance company wanted to identify opportunities to improve its underwriting process​

Research Method: Contextual Inquiries, Surveys, Validation Session, User Epics, User Features, User Stories

Client: Reinsurance Company

1 / Background

A leading reinsurance company wanted to identify opportunities to improve its underwriting process​. Their current treaty property and casualty reinsurance group are supported by many disparate systems and manual processes that lack standardization, resulting in duplication of effort, errors, inaccuracies, and a lack of timely and accessible data.

 

As part of a holistic process improvement effort to increase productivity and satisfaction, the reinsurance company engaged frog to identify areas of friction and provide recommendations to streamline and make better use of technology in the underwriting process. 

2 / Method
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A multidisciplinary team conducted over 60 contextual inquiries to understand the core underwriting process. We asked individuals to walk through their core responsibilities and probed on motivations and challenges to understand areas of improvement. From these sessions, we identified pain points, quotes, facts, positive observations, and metrics.

We solicited further quantitative insights into their current effectiveness and user satisfaction via an additional survey.​ The findings from the contextual inquiries and survey led us to the creation of a service blueprint.

 

After we created the draft of the service blueprint, we validated the process and insights through a facilitated validation session. We led the underwriters, technical assistants, actuaries in discussions and activities that helped us refine the draft service blueprint. This allowed us to prioritize areas of improvement, validate the severity of pain points, and understand the detailed process more clearly.

The final service blueprint mapped the existing process, noting optional, concurrent, and cyclical steps, as well as dependencies, decision points, handoffs, tools, level of automation, KPIs, outputs, and pain points.

Using the insights from the contextual inquiries and prioritized ideas from the workshops, we worked with our client to identify epics for the proof of concept. Once those epics were prioritized, we built out features and user stories for the user of the new underwriting policy software.

3 / Research Impact

In addition to the service blueprint, we delivered a current-state system diagram, a proposed future-state architecture, a cost/benefit analysis, detailed insights and recommendations, and the epics, features, and user stories needed to build the future underwriting system. 

The epics, features, and user stories were divided into foundational verses technical requirements. The user epics encompassed a series of features that were all related and needed in order to reach a certain outcome.The user stories are individual features that can be implemented. 

All of these solutions were designed with the user's original pain points in mind and the future-state worked to address those issues.

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4 / My Learnings

Quickly adapt to remote research 

Contextual inquiries are usually done in-person so we can observe the employees in their natural work. As we transitioned to working remotely, we had to conduct our observation remotely. We asked employees to share their desktop, laptop screens, and video.

The art of balancing stakeholder perspectives

It's important to manage the expectations of different stakeholders because each team prioritizes their own needs. For example, the business team wanted to prioritize the features that would be the most cost-saving; whereas, the technical team wanted to build more advanced features that were not always helpful for the actual users of the system. As the outsiders, we had an unbiased view of what the employees needed and based our recommendations with real quotes and insights to prioritize solutions.

Benefit of agile sprints

Especially, with an output like a service blueprint and the requirements list for user stories, these deliverables are extremely detailed and it's more efficient to make updates in sprints.

Make new technology easy for users to understand 

Due to the scale and complexity of the service blueprint, it’s difficult to follow along and easy to get lost. In order to read it you need to zoom in, which causes users to lose context. It’s also difficult to see over screen share. By providing stakeholders with access to the Miro board and doing demos before each presentation or workshop, they could zoom in/out and absorb the information on their own.