Sell insurance as simple as soap

Creating localized journeys from globally re-usable Building Blocks with the Building Block Platform

Soap is not insurance. Yes, the production of both comes with some complexity. But, while the process of producing and selling soap is highly standardized on a global level, that’s a bit different for insurance or insurance services. Insurance is a customized product and varies from person to person and so do the risks.

Need Soap? Just go to a supermarket, choose your preferred soap from a shelf, put it into a basket, go pay for it and that’s it. In reality or online. Soap is used up? Follow the same steps. 

Need insurance? What for exactly? For you or somebody else? There are questions to ask both from the customer's and service provider's sides. Not to mention, it is also required to gather the necessary data to offer the most applicable insurance package. To make the whole buying process easier for complicated products like insurance, we often focus on the user journey. It is effective and increases customer satisfaction by offering a smooth experience.

We are aiming to make buying insurance products or providing claims services to our customers as simple as buying soap. We understand what exactly you are thinking now - this is easier said than done, right? Well, we have decoded this mystery a while ago and our OEs around the world are already using different applications, online portals and user journeys to offer products as well as services in the most efficient way.

But there are two major issues:

1) We need to create every application, portal or user journey from scratch resulting in a high effort of time, money and resources.

2) Lack of consistency in terms of design and user experience. 

Our developer team is lately working to develop a system named Building Block Platform which shall make creating new user journeys as easy as writing a LinkedIn post! Wondering how? No worry, today we will dive deep and reveal everything happening around the Building Block Platform (BBP).

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What is the Building Block Platform?

The Building Block Platform utilizes a set of standardized reusable components, for example vehicle selection, location, payment etc., which gives our users the ability to build an application or portal by using simple configurations. Guess what, there is a Building Block Marketplace with more than 300 ready-to-use Building Blocks. Anyone can select a Building Block from there, based on their needs and generate a new application or portal within a few minutes.

People behind the Building Block Platform
Jochen Supper, Head of Development, Global Digital Factory at Allianz Technology and Tobias Siebert, Senior Software Engineer, Global Digital Factory at Allianz Technology and their awesome team
Who are the users? Allianz OEs around the world are our prime target till now. We expect that any Allianz employee such as developers, marketers, product owners, or consultants will be able to generate user journey applications and portals using the Building Block Platform configuration feature without any technical knowledge. And in case there is any problem, our awesome developer team is always one email away to help. Just let them know.

At Allianz, we sell insurance products and provide claims services all around the world.  Whenever we define a new insurance product, the process of implementing and rolling out the respective Quote & Buy and First Notice of Loss (FNOL) online application is usually costly and takes many months. 

Because when you want to build a Quote & Buy or FNOL journey, there are a lot of things to consider. You want to implement it in an accessible way and set up different capabilities like tracking, logging, monitoring and of course security. And if you start from scratch for a journey, things get more complicated. It will take time, effort and financial resources to find the best flow in terms of design and user experience. And after everything, when the frontend is ready to go live, there is a backend to consider. Later, you will repeat the same process for every new journey again and again which is not sustainable or efficient. A centralized reusable user journey platform can save the day by simply generating locally customized and branded user journeys. Of course, the system needs to be user-friendly, and the functionality should be so simple that even non-developer employees can use it. 

To become fast and much more cost-efficient, we are working to provide a platform in which you can do two things. First, build a Master Journey for a Master Insurance Product, that is what our global teams are doing. Second, configure this master journey to your local market.  

This low-code approach allows us to create localized journeys from the global master journey through pure configuration.  

Of course, in some cases, this is not enough. If you need to integrate a local license plate Database you will need a local Building Block, which you can simply swap for the global one. This is fine; however, our target is that the global code base stays above 80% for each localized journey. This way we can reach the target of 2-10x more efficiently with journey rollouts together.

Sounds still pretty complex, huh? Well, perhaps Pizza help. Let's build a portal where people can customize Pizzas, set location and also pay. No hurt feelings, in case you are a fan of Sushi. Once you understand how our Building Block Platform works you can create user journeys with any products or services you want. So, let’s cut to the chase now and start exploring.

A ready-to-use Building Block Journey usually comes with three phases- configuration phase, output phase and journey backend.

  • Configuration Phase: Configuration is the first step toward creating a customer journey. Here you will configure the system by providing some inputs or texts based on your product or service. In our Pizza selling use case, we want to have three blocks named customizing the Pizza, delivery address and payment. In the customization section, you will input data such as pizza type, sauces, ingredients and price. The delivery and payment sections will require delivery and payment-related data/input.
  • Output Phase: The output phase of the Building Block Journey is more like how the user audience will see the user journey application or portal. The good news is you do not need to do anything here as our Building Block backend will build this journey output based on the data you provided earlier. Cool, is not it?
  • Journey Backend: The third phase which is also known as the backend integration is invisible. Although the backend part will not be visible to your customers/audiences it is the backbone of any Journey. This backend part is supposed to process and analyze all the input data and provide output data in a structured way which should look like image two. Our great developer team have got you covered and therefore you should not worry about this part at all unless you want to develop a super customized journey.  
Our Head of Development Jochen Supper and Senior Software Engineer Tobias Siebert did a great presentation at the WeAreDevelopers World Congress 2022. In case you have missed the presentation, you can watch it now by clicking the play button on the right side. 
If you are a developer, there is good news. Everything you need to develop, configure and use Building Blocks is available in our Building Block Marketplace. So, yes you can play with it right now. The only thing we still need to roll out is the non-developer side. We aim to make it easier for marketers, product owners, consultants, salespeople etc. to use the Building Block Platform. And finally, there is an interesting update. We are also working on a new platform named Allianz Journey Lab (AJL) in Barcelona where our non-developer colleagues will not only be able to edit journeys but also observe the journey preview. We know it is going to be a huge groundbreaking feature. Just wait a little bit more, we are going to soon reveal everything.
Allianz Direct and Allianz Partners approached us to use the system in the summer of last year, and they went live in the same year. It is still early to assess the real impacts as they are using the system for around only 5 months. We are in constant contact with them and therefore can say the journeys, as well as the systems, are working for them pretty well. So yes, we have already observed some success stories and you can expect a faster rollout in the upcoming days. 

As we have already mentioned, our first priority now is to release the journey showroom through Allianz Journey Lab (AJL) which you can also address as the preview gallery as soon as possible. Once we release this update, you will see how the final journey will look without even configuring it. Our second priority is to expand our support for full micro frontends verticalization which will have all the necessary capabilities and functions to build micro frontends. Our third priority shall be to optimize the platform for better performance and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking. Later, we would also like to expand our support for A/B testing features so that you can even compare different journeys to choose the best fit one. 

Well, that is all from our side for today. We would love to know your thoughts now. Let us know how we can make this platform even better and what features you would like to see in future rollouts. In case there are any questions or feedback you can write to the Building Block Platform creators Jochen Supper and Tobias Siebert.

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