Zurich's DevOps Team Closes Business with 90-minute app prototype

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Zurich’s DevOps Team Helps Close Business with a 90-minute App Prototype

/ October 2, 2019
Zurich DevOps, Dan Lawford

Barrington Clarke, DevOps Lead at Zurich Insurance, has an understated way of describing one of his team’s most impressive achievements: “The Motor First Notice of Loss Application is not a particularly remarkable application. There’s lots of insurance companies that have got those, but for us, it was the manner in which it was developed and delivered.”

The Motor First Notice of Loss (FNOL) application is, indeed, a simple proposition. It’s a mobile application that enables drivers for corporate fleets to simply and quickly report motor vehicle accidents to their employer and Zurich.

Simple in its use, what’s impressive is the way the app came to be, with Clarke’s DevOps team taking an idea from prototype in just 90 minutes, to live app in a matter of weeks.

The origin of the application was a conversation between a Customer Relationship Manager at Zurich and an associate of a department store with a fleet of over 2,000 vehicles. The customer had requested a mobile application for reporting motor vehicle accidents, as drivers of their corporate vehicles would often significantly delay accident reporting.

Having developed a reputation for delivering impactful applications across underwriting, claims, and customer portals, Clarke’s DevOps team was approached by one of Zurich’s customer-facing teams, requesting that they develop a prototype application to play back to the customer.

Dan Lawford, Zurich Business Engineer, explains: “[The customer’s] employees didn’t generally like doing it, they always delayed, they might have an accident one month, and they didn’t put in a claim for two months. (The application) would really help them in terms of tracking their exposure and risk.”

The customer was so amazed we managed to produce this framework in an hour and a half. We showed them what they wanted, essentially, and they said ‘Yeah, sure, let’s do this.’

The Motor FNOL application presents the user with a few simple prompts – make a claim, submit a request for roadside assistance, or call Zurich Insurance directly. When making a claim, personal information is pre-populated by the user’s profile, then the user is instructed to include details about the incident, such as the location of the accident. The FNOL app assists the user’s entry of information with the inclusion of geolocation capabilities, and the provision of forms for witnesses and accident circumstances. Lastly, the team at Zurich included native device functionality, utilizing the device’s camera to collect photography of the accident scene before claim submission.

Using Mendix Studio, a no-code, web-based IDE, Lawford put together a prototype application in just 90 minutes. “The customer was so amazed we managed to produce this framework in an hour and a half. We showed them what they wanted, essentially, and they said ‘Yeah, sure, let’s do this.’”

Motor FNOL app

With the customer’s interest and approval in-hand, the DevOps team got to work building a production-ready app. With only an expert developer, a business engineer, and a UI/UX accelerator, the application was transformed from a 90-minute prototype into a fully functional mobile application for 2,000 drivers in just four weeks.

More than the fact that their work helped Zurich’s account team close business, and the impressive velocity of the project, Clarke believes this demonstrates how impactful the DevOps Team’s way of working can be within Zurich: “The power it gave our sales teams and our claims teams to go to a customer and say, ‘We can do that for you, and we can deliver that. Not in six months or nine months, but actually, we’ll do that today or we’ll deliver that by the end of the week.’ It’s really powerful.”

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