Projects / Allianz SE

Intro

Insurance is tricky. It's not like buying a chair, or groceries. When you buy insurance, you're buying a promise. At Allianz, I had the opportunity to make the promise of ease of mind on the road a reality for more than 8 million car owners.

Between 2014-19, 3 agencies (SinnerSchrader, BrandUnion (now superunion) and dmcgroup) with several Allianz inhouse teams enabled the Allianz Digitalisation. The work of over 350 people cumulate in the relaunch of allianz.de, and one digital product that earns 1/3 of all premiums, the car insuranceI was Lead UX Concepter on this high profile project.

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The Allianz headquarter in Munich, Unterföhring where I worked for a year. It’s an office space shared by 8500 Allianz employees.

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The “embedded” SinnerSchrader concepters in one of the larger Allianz headquarter team offices (I’m in the back row on the left)

Problem

Because 1/3rd of all revenue was generated by one process, optimisation of it seemed to be limited to content shuffling

In 2016, as the digitalisation and responsive adaptation were in full swing, online car insurance was still a 10 page process. Everybody knew it had to change, but nobody dared to touch it because of its significance.

Every year millions of people are stuck in a legal limbo when buying or selling a car. Should you get license plates first, or the state required insurance? Should you sell first, then cancel the insurance or vice versa? And then there was this form to fill which took most people about 2-3 hours. Car insurance was a painful thing.

Solution

By using a strategic opportunity early in the project I optimised the main e-commerce process which ended up becoming the relaunch flagship process and eventually increased revenue by 20%

At the time I was freelancing for SinnerSchrader as “embedded’ UX / Digital Product Designer. My job was to reformat the content of the main auto insurance process. A team of over 40 people at the time expected it to essentially remain the same with a few tweaks. One day, in a room with about 15 client representatives I used the opportunity and proposed this 3 step process. 

The slide I presented at the time which in hindsight seems like the obvious thing to do.

This solution was embraced by all client stakeholders.  Project plans were altered and the new “3 steps to your insurance” was implemented. After launch a year later, it would increase revenue by 20% and become the flagship process template for all other insurances. 

After the process redesign I got more opportunities to design the UX of insurance. I created a modular omnidevice e-commerce system that could be placed into any insurance context in site or app. To be able to adapt wireframes in a fly, I used InDesign’s feature to nest both InDesign and Sketch visual UI assets. Within minutes I could send out updated versions directly after meetings.

Some of the omnidevice e-commerce wireframes illustrating the modular system that could be placed into any insurance context in site or app.

A small selection of the roughly 100 modules that the team and I created and documented in three viewport sizes. Each element was numbered, its role and  structure where described in text form in Confluence.

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Our team production board. Modules were assigned to particular UX designers who worked them out in detail.

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Our responsive test units

Innovation

By changing the way the team developed features, I created and established an innovative new concept procedure that became the central hub for a team of over 350 people

In order to develop detail process assets and functions, the team used post-its and for a while this was our preferred method to track the dozens of daily changes and updates. But eventually we would need a more fluid, digital method.

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The amount of people in the team and their spread into 5 units in 2 different companies and 4 different physical locations meant a sea of  Word and Excel files that originated from these post-its. People lost track of what the most current version of a routine, a data entry field or any other feature was. From day one I had used InDesign for all process and page concepts I developed and finetuned until the document I called  “UX bible” had more than 100 pages. After a few months, everyone in the team used this one document exclusively.

Are a few of the over 100 pages of the “UX Bible” I created and maintained for over a year. What makes car insurance so complex is that depending on what you filled out in form element 3, 9 and 25 on page 1 would change form elements 7, 12 and 14 on page 2, or page 3. The process was so complex, nobody in the team knew all dependencies. The only place where they were all tracked and put into context was in this document. 

The method for creating, and finetuning a UX concept that I had developed had 4 main criteria that made it so successful for large teams in several firewall protected locations: 

Criteria

Current and correct

I updated the concept doc and send out every day to replace yesterdays version. It was the only most current status of the complete concept with all its details.

Criteria

Simple and practical

It described even complex multifold “if this then that” dependencies in simple terms with real UI assets which reduced reading and grasping time to a minimum. The PDF format made sure it could be send, stored and opened everywhere in- and outside of firewalls.

Criteria

Everything for everyone

Allianz used it in internal sign-off meetings. UI designers used it to know what UI assets to create, where they would appear and how they behaved. Front end developers used it to create responsive grids and assets. Backend developers used it to know what had to happen when and where.

Criteria

Consistent and standardised

As I as the author was also the UX strategic concepter and concept lead, nothing got lost in translation and all UX standards could be safeguarded.

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A page of the UX Bible would often be printed out and marked up by members of the team who had been collecting feedback in different stakeholder meetings. I would then update the InDesign document, clear any UX problems with project management, create a PDF, send it, and we were back on track.

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Two members of the team are working with UX Bible printouts of the wireframes I had created for individual pages, checking and updating details.

Results

Right after launch, visits went up 10%. Car insurance sales have since increased in 2020 alone by 821.000 insured cars to currently altogether 8,7 million contracts.

During my time as Lead UX Designer for Allianz, I had the extraordinary opportunity to not only create great UX, but to control the accuracy of UX standards and design assets and make sure everything launched according to plan. 

Large corporations often have a “no personal testimonies” policy so this is what high level stakeholders said about our team in general and the results of our work:

"It was a remarkable handshake of all team members that drove this project to victory. They even accommodated the often feared last-minute changes from higher stakeholders without complaint. Normally one can't move a driving train onto an unknown track. Multiple times, my people quickly build a bridge over a river, and laid down new tracks. That never works without the right kind of humor."

“Es war ein beispielloser Handshake, der das Projekt in die Zielgerade gebracht hat.Die Teammitglieder nahmen auch die beim Hausbau gefürchteten Last-Minute-Wünsche der obersten Bauherren sehr sportlich. »Man kann normalerweise einen fahrenden Zug nicht einfach auf ein unbekanntes Gleis leiten. Meine Leute haben öfter mal schnell eine Brücke über einen Fluss gebaut und dann neue Schienen gelegt.« Das geht nicht ohne Humor.”

Christian Ulbricht, 
Project lead, 
Allianz, München

"Previously on the site, all we had for the car insurance was a small scale effort. Now we see a ten times greater number of visitors."

“Wir hatten vorher auf der Webseite für die KFZ-Versicherung nur eine Schmalspurlösung. Jetzt haben wir eine Steigerung der Besuche auf den Seiten zur KFZ-Versicherung um den Faktor zehn.” 

Klaus Driever, 
Lead Digital Sales, 
Allianz, München

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