Qorus Innovation in Insurance Awards 2024- Nominated

New Ireland Assurance Customer & Broker Portal

Submitted by
19/04/2024 Insurance Innovation


New Ireland Assurance Advisor Portal has disrupted the traditional insurance distribution model, transforming the customer experience by reimagining the advisor/customer relationship and providing best-in-class digital experiences into the future.

Innovation presentation

The challenge we set for ourselves was ambitious and required a complete reimagining of the customer experience.

Traditionally financial advisors, operating face-to-face with customers, were the basis of the Life Assurance industry with no digital self-serve options. This model is underpinned by paper and labour-intensive back-office functions, typically supported by disparate IT systems. This makes the end to end customer journeys from initial customer engagement and onward through the back office to completion quite long, with potentially many human touchpoints and back and forth communications with customers. It’s expensive to deliver, isn’t scalable and is not customer-centric. Traditional face to face meetings also require additional customer effort. Research shows that more than a third of consumers would leave their provider if they didn’t offer more up to date technology, and that digital channels can enable more personalisation, create real-time tools to serve customers and for customers to self-serve. Digital channels also enable experimentation and real-time customer feedback to learn what works for customers (CX Academy CX Report).

To deliver on our ambition of delivering really brilliant customer experiences for now and for the future, we explored different digital solutions, partnering with key 3rd party fintechs and leading technology providers whose expertise complements our strengths. We wanted to enable customers engage with us through the channel of their choice, that meets the customers changing requirements and very importantly enables us to adapt quickly as customer preferences and expectations change. Putting the customer experience at the core of our ambition resulted in a completely reimagined customer experience, delivered through a network of key digital platforms and new technologies that we developed with our partners.

The result was our Advisor Portal, the digital fulcrum of our customer experiences, around which a number of other ‘satellite’ digital platforms connect, allowing customers engage through different channels how and when they want. A suite of API connectors was constructed to form a single experience layer between all components, centralising the ownership and change governance for the connected journeys, and more importantly create seamless customer transitions as they move through the end to end journey. This was key to delivering the reimagined brilliant and seamless customer experiences we knew our customers sought.

Uniqueness of the project

There are a number of elements of the Advisor Portal project that make it unique

Putting the customer experience at the centre of Advisor Portal. In the past this would have been an IT led change that would have led to a different result. Our aim here was to disrupt the traditional model and completely reimagine the customer experience. To do that we brought in the stakeholders that were at the front line with customers – advisors, contact-centre, brokers, as well as the customers themselves through customer interviews and independent customer research.

We utilised a SaaS-based partnership approach with 3rd party fintechs and leading technology providers whose expertise complements our strengths, combining their experience in digital development with our subject matter expertise, compliance and regulatory knowledge, and our scale and customer base. Cross-organisational design and delivery teams from the business and delivery partner were established. Key was that the customer experience provided the central lens through which all decisions were taken, and the teams brought this customer-first approach to all engagements. This delivery approach is quite unique within a tier 1, risk adverse, traditional institution like Bank of Ireland Group (more on this in challenges).

Using the digital customer experience as our ‘North Star’, and using innovative technologies in partnership with third party fintechs, we delivered seamless end to end digital journeys across all our customer channels, keeping the customer in the driving seat, enabling them to engage with us when and how they want.

Our Advisor Portal delivers clear benefits, improving the quality and speed of applications, reducing re-work and the number of incomplete applications. In addition we have

• innovated by leveraging existing CRM technology in use in the market using what we call External Broker Connectivity (EBC)

• integrated other advanced technologies such as Docusign, to further enhance the customer experience as well as increase the end to end processing capabilities

• leveraged award winning digital advice capability in our tied channels that fits seamlessly with our Portal delivering many further enhancements

We have made both new and existing business journeys available through the Advisor Portal and enable access for our customers through a variety of connected digital platforms linked to their preferred engagement channel, whether they want to self serve or engage through a financial adviser or independent broker. These digital bridges between us and our customers deliver real efficiencies and benefits for at all stages of the journey.

For our Broker Customers we created seamless end to end digital journeys that leverages the Broker’s existing customer relationship management system or CRM (External Broker Connectivity). The Broker can start the conversation with their customer using their preferred CRM system. The journey can then effortlessly and seamlessly transfer and continue within our Advisor Portal. Using single sign on functionality and by leveraging all information and data from their CRM this is completely seamless for the broker, bringing them to the right point in Advisor Portal to continue that particular journey and very importantly with no duplication of data entry. Creating this digital bridge between our Brokers CRM and the individual customer journeys on our Advisor Portal, for both New and Existing Business, is significant in building the experience our Broker customers want. Advisor Connectivity is designed to easily plug into any broker CRM, both current and future.

Our Advisor Portal enables 2-way digital communication between the Advisor / Broker and our internal administration and customer care teams. Advisor/Brokers can use this to submit additional information and documents which are then automatically uploaded on to core systems in real time, speeding up the process considerably and removing the need for endless ‘back and forth’ email communications, a source of major frustration for our customers in the traditional model. These increased efficiencies mean that our Contact Centre Team is freed up to focus on more complex and important customer activities with our Advisor/Broker partners.

Our award winning Digital Advice Platform is the first fully digital and advice led platform in Europe. It offers both digital self-serve and advisor assisted digital options. Customers can complete a financial assessment at home, providing personal and financial information digitally to the advisor in advance of the meeting, and get insights on how they are doing against certain metrics. Customers have access to a personalised dashboard allowing them to access their documents in a secure location. The journey moves seamlessly through advice into application with Docusign enabling electronic signing of documents. The application is then automatically uploaded to our back end systems. The platform greatly enhances the consistency of advice which is critical in ensuring our customers receive the most appropriate, compliant, regulated advice through the channel of their choice. It also frees up our Advisors to focus on the more complex advice and transactions, where their expertise adds more value to the customer.

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