As one of the leading General Insurance brands in the UK, Legal and General (L&G) was looking to capitalise on its reputation and deliver on some bold thinking from the senior IT leadership team. With a multi award-winning SmartQuote home proposition already live in the market, the question was where to take this next? For some time now the insurance market has been tied to “traditional” distribution channels of direct, aggregator, affinity and intermediary and delivered via integration with big IT platforms. L&G wanted to re-write the insurance distribution strategy with a suite of more agile propositions for partners of all sizes across all markets. This strategy aimed to enable innovative digital operating models giving distributors the flexibility to create their own customer journeys with their own data enrichment, safe in the knowledge that L&G’s 180 year underwriting expertise would deliver a competitive premium. By transforming their SmartQuote Quote and Buy question set into an externally available set of Insurance APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), L&G calculated that it could attract these new partners.
Given the nature of the engagement and the breaking of new ground in insurance, Legal & General needed confidence in a Consulting team able to deliver this vision. Altus was chosen for a track record of successful delivery of new propositions to the Insurance market as well as its rare mix of domain specialists and technology experts; seen as essential by L&G. Throughout the engagement, Altus had a clearly articulated methodology to give L&G confidence in delivery and the ability to challenge at the appropriate level of detail for every stakeholder.
The challenge of providing API access to a new breed of distribution partners was more than one of technology and Altus highlighted this early on via analysis of the operating model changes that L&G would need to think about.
Using simple visuals underpinned by our comprehensive models, Altus clearly illustrated the shift of business and technical capabilities required to deliver the target operating model, and the potential transfer of responsibilities to new partners.
Technology was a key enabler of the L&G vision and the introduction of an enterprise application integration tool in the estate was an early part of the engagement. Using our standard set of Integration Layer capabilities, Altus ran a RFP with a set of pre-qualified vendors to select a tool that met the business and IT requirements but was also commercially viable for L&G.
The concept of externalising APIs was new to the internal ops teams at L&G and it was important they understood how the process differed from more traditional development. Altus brought a clear methodology that enabled the team to see the whole API journey and the steps they would need to go through.
Once the approach was agreed, we were able to fasttrack the process of gathering business requirements, and documenting architecture & designs for the first set of Quote and Buy APIs for the SmartQuote product. The final step was to enable L&G to become selfproficient in carrying out API-led architecture and design. Our team helped industrialise the process to run an internal API Factory and moved, instead, into an oversight and programme governance role. Business and IT stakeholders were involved to ratify API designs and technical decisions, aligned to L&G architecture strategy and industry standard integration best practices.
As part of delivering on the API distribution strategy, L&G has also been able to simplify its IT architecture and increase speed to market. Key to this success has been a focus on minimising the complexity and run cost of point-to-point system integrations. By introducing a micro-services culture, where products and services can be presented as modern APIs, the L&G team is well advanced on the journey to becoming an industry-leading technology champion.