An analogue insurance nightmare becomes a digital dream

What SpareBank 1 needed was clear. Proving the case? That was the hard bit…

Warning: liveblogging

Prone to error, typos and crimes against grammar. Post will be updated and corrected during the talk and over the 24 hours afterwards. 

Cathrine Movold, Making Waves & Alexander Lie, SpareBank1

How can two different mindsets come together to create a better service?

In the beginning, there was the health declaration. SpareBank 1 had a very laborious and manual process for health declarations. Many of their potentials customers don’t know about the need for the product – so they come through financial advisors, and they had to go on to fill in a paper form. The form often led to a follow-up form for more information. At every step, they lost customers. They decided that they needed help.

Making Waves came up with the hypothesis that people didn’t like filling out the form – and they didn’t see the point of it. Research showed that people were happy with the service from the financial advisor, and the product. But the form confused them – did they need to declare a week’s sickness six years ago? – and their advisor couldn’t help them. The form went off to long periods of silence – or confusing letters back, or a complete black hole. The form was written in a difficult to understand language, and didn’t make the appropriate level of detail clear.

They needed to simplify the language and clarify the information needed, support people through the process and be more transparent. Everyone was hopeful that they could move forward with this quickly. But it was not the case. People were sceptical and they wanted business cases for the work. They had to go back and do more research. They discovered that some branches lost virtually no customers through the process – but that they supported their customers in a very different way. They figured out that a switch to online forms would be profitable through increase in business. And the enhanced proposal got approval.

They used co-creation as their main tool for anchoring. They had several workshops collecting everyone involved around the table. They created a visual version of the process and hung it on the wall. Through this, a new, digital form was created, which adapts to the customer as they work through it. They only ever see questions they need to answer. The new site is in beta and will launch in Q4.

Learnings? They couldn’t just look at the form, they needed to look at the whole process. The digital switch made for a radically better process with less confusion, and a clear answer at the end in most cases. For a few applicants, where manual checking was needed, a transparent process allowed them to seem progress. No more black holes. They built mobile phone-based reminders about uncompleted forms into the system — and that was the winning argument for a responsive design. They wanted to achieve flow from the alert to completing the form.

The service design approach helped them find and solve the real problems involved. They improved the journey and the touchpoints – and the staff took ownership – and showed pride – in their new system. And it proved the business value of human-centered design. You have to understand both the user needs and the business needs and tell a story that covers both.