A global specialty insurer and travel assistance company taps to IPPON for assistance of its own How a multinational insurance group migrated its software systems to improve the customer experience
You’ve planned a big family vacation with flights and hotel stays, but the unexpected occurs at the last minute and plans fall through. Wouldn’t it be nice to have insurance to cover the costs of such a trip? Thanks to Allianz Global Assistance, people can buy specialty insurance on everything from trips to events, and receive assistance for automotive or needs that arise when traveling.
While many Allianz customers are acquired at the point of sale in a prompt that pops up near the end of the purchase of airline or concert tickets, a number of customers visit the Allianz website directly to buy insurance products, request assistance, or manage their accounts. Yet in 2014, Allianz’s website was over six years old. It wasn’t easily found by search engines, and navigating it was a clunky experience on a smartphone or tablet.
The end goal for Allianz was no different than that of any other eCommerce company: turn a browsing customer on its site, AllianzTravelInsurance.com, into a buying customer. This meant increasing conversion rates by boosting search-engine optimization, simplifying the purchase path, and improving mobile compatibility.
In early 2014, Allianz hired the enterprise software experts at Ippon USA to begin the process of redesigning the B2C site. Allianz wanted to make it simple for customers to buy products or manage their accounts, in addition to giving Allianz employees the ability to make updates to site content quickly and without a need for a technical skillset.
One of the biggest hurdles to success was that Allianz’s U.S. website was built on an outdated Microsoft .NET software framework, and was not responsive to devices. Allianz Global Assistance’s headquarters in Munich and Paris was running on a company-made Content Management System and mobile-responsive web toolkit. This CMS, called Allianz oneWeb, is based in Enterprise Java, a state-of-the art open source platform that forms the basis of digital products for the Allianz group of companies.
To truly migrate systems and improve the customer experience, the U.S. would need to transition its single-platform .NET framework to the Europeans’ Enterprise Java.
Allianz didn’t have the in-house bandwidth, much less the resources, to build a product of that size in the determined 9-month timeframe. The Allianz team drew up wireframes, prototypes, and coordinated with user-acceptance and user-experience teams to develop how the new site and its pages needed to operate. From there, business requirements were created and handed over to an Ippon team of five consultants.
The approach on the project was a hybrid between Ippon’s AGILE method, paired with the Allianz team’s more waterfall way of developing software. “It has worked well for us as we were able to develop requirements but also stay flexible, tweak plans as we go, and work in sprints,” says Caroline Horwitz, director of customer experience at Allianz Global Assistance.
With Ippon’s assistance, Allianz has improved its insurance website to be more user-friendly and meet the latest technological standards. Consumers, who generally want more self-control and mobility throughout their web experiences, can now easily move through the purchase process and improve self-service for actions like updating their accounts or filing claims. Plus, users have an equally good experience on mobile as they do on computers.
More phases will roll out in coming months as the site is redeveloped and continuously improved through user feedback.
Ippon, based in France with operations in the U.S., is similar in its footprint to Allianz, also based in France with operations around the globe. Horwitz says, “it’s good to know that if we need something in one of our other business units that we have access to Ippon in Europe. It’s been a great partnership with Ippon.”