CASE STUDY Financial Services

Westhill Connects Insurance Ecosystem Stakeholders with AWS

Westhill is a US-based technology company providing 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. 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

digitize business process for dealer financial services

Westhill partnered with Infostretch to build a disruptive, first-to-market, customer-centric solution that brings carriers, contractors, and policyholders to a single platform via mobile and web channels. Westhill wanted the platform to seamlessly fit into the existing insurance ecosystem and support integration with all other significant products in the market.

Infostretch proposed to design and develop a digital solution to bring policy holders, contractors, service providers, insurance companies, and Westhill administrators on a single platform for transparent claims processing. Our solution provides a unified and consistent workflow for claim processing through mobile applications and web portals.

THE CUSTOMER Journey
2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2016
  • Established automation for mobile platform
  • Enabled CI/CD for mobile platform

2017
  • Requirement Analysis
  • Detailed Solution Architecture & Design
  • Initial UI design

2018
  • Clickable Prototype
  • WHG Portal, Contractor Portal & App, Homeowner App
  • NEO – Mobile Automation
  • Portal Enhancements with dashboards

2019
  • Profile Gorilla Integration
  • Claimsend Integration
  • HO Mobile App changes
  • Changes to tickets module

2020
  • Dynamic reporting
  • Payment module, finance role analytics
  • Bot powered communication channel
  • Apply machine learning to identify cost of restoration for appliances

THE CHALLENGE
Bringing Visibility to the Property Claims Process Lifecycle

To enhance the relationship and synergy between insurance carriers, service providers, and policyholders, Westhill 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-providing-a-line-of-sight
Providing a line of sight and monitoring all progress of an ongoing job

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

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

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

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

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

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 requirements
BUSINESS

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

Carrier Services
Carrier Services

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

Homeowner
Homeowner

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

Contractor
Contractor

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

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.

Platform
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.

Technical
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

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

westhill-high-reliability

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-workflow-mechanism

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

Our methodology

how
we did it

With this company, Infostretch worked across all stages of the digital lifecycle on multiple projects for two separate business units.

Go Digital
Go Digital

Accelerating the delivery of new digital initiatives with confidence

Be digital
Be digital

Creating the infrastructure and foundation to scale digital initiatives

Evolve Digital
Evolve Digital

Leveraging data and analytics to continuously improve digital delivery processes

The Solution
Amazon Web Services (AWS) & 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.

Other components of the solution built and deployed on the AWS Platform included:

digital solution built and deployed on the AWS

build a recommendation engine

Rules-based recommendation engine

Workflow mechanism to guide policyholder

Workflow mechanism to guide policyholder

Escalation and feedback module

Escalation and feedback module

Pricing and negotiation module

Pricing and negotiation module

Rapid compute process

Rapid compute process to serve customers quicker

Rapid deployment model

Rapid deployment model to meet mission critical and business critical tasks

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:

build & deployed digital solutions for insurance ecosystem
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
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
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.

enabale monitoring
Monitoring, Logging
& Notification
Functionality

Enabling monitoring to check overall health of the cloud resources, logging for user actions and notification mechanism.

our approach

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

aws solutions deployment approach

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

aws
SERVICES USED:
  • amazon-api-gateway

    Amazon API Gateway

  • amazon-cognito

    Amazon Cognito

  • amazon-dynamodb

    Amazon DynamoDB

  • amazon-api-lambda

    AWS Lambda

  • amazon-sns
    amazon-s3

    Amazon SNS, S3

  • amazon-cloudwatch
    amazon-iam

    Amazon CloudWatch & IAM

Infostretch also deployed several 3rd party applications in support of the engagement, including:

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.

the Results

Key Outcomes

Westhill gained significant business and technical advantages as a result of the deployment.

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

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

Enabling faster delivery of new, market-driven business features