CASE STUDY

Connecting Key Stakeholders
in the Insurance Ecosystem with AWS

INTRODUCTION

Customer
Overview

Westhill is a US-based technology company that provides cutting edge software, tools, and a platform ecosystem to the property & casualty (P&C) insurance industry.

By leveraging data and advanced analytics to connect insurance carriers, service providers, and policyholders, the company provides customer choice and removes inefficiencies from the claims process. Westhill believes that all successful experiences need a foundation grounded in transparency and shared value, and these outcome-based principles are woven throughout each facet of its business model.

  • provides cutting edge software & tools

    provides cutting edge software & tools

  • grounded in transparency & shared value

    grounded in transparency & shared value

  • Near 100% Customer Satisfaction

    Near 100% Customer Satisfaction

Business Goals

CLIENT OBJECTIVES

faster cycle time for larger dealer financial services
Faster cycle time

improve business process for dealer financial services
Operating Efficiencies

improve digital performance for dealer financial services
Higher Service Levels

digitize business process for dealer financial services
the challenge

Bringing Visibility to the Property Claims Process Lifecycle

To enhance the relationship and synergy between insurance carriers, service providers, and policyholders, West Hill required a platform approach that would enable several automated processes to be seamlessly integrated across those three stakeholders.

The platform would need to bring transparency to every job executed for policyholders

a complex scenario which might include:

westhill-recommending
Recommending a highly-rated, accredited and rigorously vetted contractor

westhill-negotiating-pricing
Negotiating pricing with contractors on behalf of the policyholder

westhill-ability-to-reallocate
Ability to reallocate resources accordingly, creating additional touchpoints for the carrier

westhill-providing-advanced-tracking
Providing advanced tracking throughout the process to compile smart data

westhill-providing-a-line-of-sight
Providing a line of sight and monitoring all progress of an ongoing job

westhill-human-intervention
Human intervention to overcome technical limitations of policyholder or contactor

Handling escalations and feedback logging mechanisms
Handling escalations and feedback logging mechanisms

FINDING A FULLY FUNCTIONING SOLUTION

  • Even though insurance companies have strong claim processing engines and settlement processes, handing all of the above required a scalable platform capable of guiding the process and delivering 100% policyholder satisfaction – building the future claim experience.
  • Some of the key design challenges included: identifying scalable and high-performance platforms on which to build recommendation engines, serverless computing services to construct service-oriented architecture, workflow functionality, timely triggering of notification mechanisms, and a fully functioning solution that could scale easily to handle above-market volumes.

Key Business
Requirements:

Business service enablement and automation for
carriers, homeowners, contractor, general services:

westhill-carrier-services
Carrier Services

Onboard new carrier, manage carrier users, claims and generate invoices, etc.

westhill-homeowner
Homeowner

Registration, manage new claims, process claims, capture customer feedback for contractors, etc.

westhill-contractor
Contractor

Onboarding new contractor company, verification, manage contractors, manage claims, process claims, generate invoices, etc.

westhill-general-services
General Services

Carrier recommendation engine, SLA management, notification, and alerts mechanism, analytics, ticket management, generate recommendations of highly-rated, accredited, and rigorously vetted contractors, etc.

Key Platform
Requirements:
westhill-price-negotiation

Price negotiation with contractors on behalf of policyholders.

westhill-escalation-management

Escalation management and feedback-logging mechanism between carriers, homeowners and service providers.

westhill-progress-monitoring

Progress monitoring of ongoing home repair jobs and enable notification service for homeowners.

westhill-customer-data-protection

Customer data protection including personal identifiable information (PII) at rest and in-flight.

Key Technical
Requirements:
westhill-microservice

Microservice-based architecture with optimal use of cloud resources and services to boost speed-to-market and shorter deployment SLA of new and dynamic business changes.

westhill-performant-solutions

Performant solutions covering Mobile & Web Integration/database/storage/ accessibility/Reporting/Logic Processing Engine to handle over several hundreds of claim processing requests, complex claim processing logic and high storage.

westhill-high-reliability

High-reliability cloud solution/resource/services and operational efficiency to minimize disruption and downtimes.

westhill-workflow-mechanism

Infrastructure security to protect customer’s data, encryption mechanism, data consumption policies and procedures.

The Solution
Amazon Web
Services (AWS)
and Infostretch

Westhill needed a cost-effective technology platform capable of rapid analysis, computing, and deployment of new business features to support its business model and growth potential.

To better understand Westhill’s specific requirements, Infostretch conducted a two-week assessment covering business services to be automated, technical controls required to support business goals, risks and mitigation strategies, and security in the cloud. The additional analysis included cloud vendor evaluation, scalability, security, performance, cost, reliability, operational efficiency, and more. This included analyzing web traffic frequency-pattern-volume, type of services (homeowner, carrier, vendor), and specific security requirements of Westhill (infrastructure, data, and processes).

As a result of its assessment, Infostretch proposed to build a serverless architecture using AWS Lambda. With over 10+ services, Westhill paid only for the execution time of the Lambda functions. In addition, Lambda enabled developers to choose the programming

language, further accelerating the delivery timeline and addressing skill gaps in the delivery team. This pay-only-for-execution time model helped Westhill save on compute cost, and handled peaks and valleys of web traffic very efficiently.

The company was already using AWS’ Lambda serverless computing for a rules-based recommendation engine and workflow triggering tasks. This trigger-code-when-required approach helped them serve individual policyholders efficiently, capture logs, and trigger workflows using a step function – all of which were seen as a breakthrough in meeting their current design challenges in a cost-effective manner.

Infostretch also deployed AWS DynamoDB to store several gigabytes of homeowner insurance data with key-value pair. This provided high durability and large-scale performance with the ability to deliver within a few milliseconds.

key successES

One of the key success factors in the engagement was the ability to quickly onboard Westhill’s system landscape on the AWS cloud, enabling important cost-saving controls and an efficient operational model to support multi-regional growth. Some of the key tenets of cloud architecture include:

  • Secured Client Accessibility Layer enabled mobile and web client interaction with the AWS Cloud environment using secured https protocol and authentication mechanism using AWS Cognito service.
  • Scalable Service Layer handled several hundred client API requests with the help of AWS API Gateway while also improving customer engagement ratio and retention rates.
  • Protected Database Layer to store data using flexible schema, structure, and data protection using encryption algorithms while meeting the reporting /analytical needs of the user community.
  • Monitoring , Logging & Notification Functionality enabling monitoring to check overall health of the cloud resources, logging for user actions and notification mechanism.

Other components of the solution built and deployed on the AWS Platform included:
  • westhill-rules-based
    Rules-Based Recommendation Engine
  • westhill-workflow-mechanism
    Workflow Mechanism to Guide Policyholder
  • westhill-providing-advanced-tracking
    Escalation & Feedback Module
  • westhill-negotiating-pricing
    Pricing & Negotiation Module
  • westhill-rapid-compute-process
    Rapid Compute Process to Serve Customers Quicker
  • westhill-rapid-deployment
    Rapid Deployment Model to Meet Mission Critical & Business Critical Tasks

In the deployment

Infostretch followed AWS best practices and well-architected design guidelines
by using the following AWS cloud resources:

westhill-cost
Cost

AWS Lambda-based services as opposed to Dedicated EC2 instance and clusters

westhill-operational-efficiency
Operational Efficiency

AWS Lambda serverless architecture

westhill-performance
Performance

AWS DynamoDB, Lambda, S3 storage

westhill-scalability
Scalability

AWS DynamoDB to store and process large size insurance dataset

westhill-reliability
Reliability

AWS Lambda serverless architecture

WESTHILL + AWS

Westhill now uses AWS for high-performance computing, workflow management, and risk analysis of customer data to create test and development environments for their commercial application.

westhill-aws

aws

SERVICES USED:

  • Amazon API Gateway
    amazon-api-gateway
  • Amazon Cognito
    amazon-cognito
  • Amazon DynamoDB
    amazon-dynamodb
  • AWS Lambda
    amazon-api-lambda
  • Amazon SNS, S3
    amazon-sns
    amazon-s3
  • Amazon CloudWatch & IAM
    amazon-cloudwatch
    amazon-iam

Supporting Software

Deploying 3rd Party
Applications in support
of engagement

An application used by insurance carriers and other professionals to create/edit/submit insurance claims. These claim transactions were then pushed to the Westhill AWS platform for processing and reporting.

A financial application used primarily to generate invoices, and process payments and settlement.

This application is used by insurance carriers and other professional businesses to send requests for estimates and services to adjusters, contractors, and service providers.

LESSONS LEARNED
A Process of
Continuous Improvement

The Westhill engagement created several key learning
opportunities for Infostretch on AWS:

westhill-enable-cloud resources

Enable cloud resources in appropriate environments on an on-demand basis; e.g, services such as SNS and SQS can only be turned on in the QA and production environment since these services are not heavily used outside of Development, Sandbox and other environments. This can offer important costs saving in the long run.

westhill-performant-solutions

Use of Lambda serverless architecture instead of EC2 created significant cost savings. Understanding business requirements, functions, and overall frequency of web traffic is important to ideate and optimize the solution for compute resources and related services. Westhill had a specific ask to design a solution to save cost when there is no web traffic or pay-only-when-traffic-is-served. In this scenario, running and maintaining dedicated or reserved large EC2 instances would have created unnecessary expenses.

westhill-price-negotiation

Performing TCO cost assessment at the beginning of the project is a critical step to help management decide on budget allocation, cost optimization strategies, and to promote cloud resources as needed in a smarter fashion.

Key Outcomes & Achievements

faster test cycle reusable test components
Shift from CapEx
to OpEx Model

Enabling faster delivery of new, market-driven business features

reduce testing time by 97.5%
Near 100%
Customer Satisfaction

Via fast deployment of new business models; process transparency

automation enabling daily and on demand execution
100% Business
Continuity

Assuring higher service levels and reducing operational costs