Meet our customer hero
Getting ready for the next chapter
The insurance industry in Israel has become extraordinarily competitive – especially as it floods with new InsurTech startups looking to disrupt the market. It has put the incumbent provider – Clal Insurance , a 34-year industry veteran – in an interesting position. It needs to react quickly to beat startups at their own game, which isn’t always easy with troves of data tied up in older systems.
On top of that, Clal has had to deal with a global financial crisis, aggressive changes to the regulatory landscape, and the challenge of low-to-zero interest rates. To stay on top and to meet SLA requirements, not innovating was simply not an option.
That’s why Clal has worked hard (and smart) to respond quickly to these changing market conditions. Their approach has been a combination of integration to connect their own systems and API management to collaborate with external systems.
With its market-leading approach to integration and APIs, Clal has been able to unlock new opportunities that have set them apart – including a new way of automating manual insurance product forms through their Simulator initiative.
Clal has credited much of its resilience over the years to webMethods, its integration platform of record since 2002. But it recently stepped up its approach to integration a notch by developing a central, unified platform to connect core systems with external partners ranging from more than 70 agencies to the Ministry of Finance’s Pension Clearing House.
This platform now handles traffic reaching millions of files per month—covering events and information requests ranging from pensions to payments, from powers of attorney to clearing fees—all while massively cutting costs, time to market and SLA compliance risks.
The upside was dramatically improved time to market for regulatory changes and parallel treatment to increase output and improve SLAs, and robust survivability that lifted availability to a jaw-dropping 99.9999 percent.
One of the by-products of the newly aggressive regulatory landscape is an emerging set of complex internal-external developer requirements. And when it comes to developers, you need APIs to speak their language.
“The best way forward was actually pretty obvious,” says Haim Inger. “A comprehensive API management platform would let us turn a bottleneck into a booster, and a regulatory liability into a capability advantage.”
In 2019, Clal started using webMethods for API management. Out of the gate, Clal was able to eliminate duplicates among 25% of existing APIs, cut internal-external development times from months to weeks, and immediately accrue financial savings.
This approach to API management was key to developing Clal Express, which allows customers to avoid out-of-pockets costs and instead be reimbursed before they have to pay their bills.
“Developing the service would have taken over 5 months doing it the old way. But this time as soon as we had our internal development done, we enabled a green lane and exposed the API in 1 single day. That last step alone would have taken a whole month with our legacy system. But now when we’re ready the API is ready,” says Guy Serfaty, Head of Infrastructure Development Department. “That’s the difference between missing the vacation season and needing to wait a whole year versus owning the market for an entire cycle.”
While the insurance industry has continued to modernize, some products have lagged behind. For example, life and pension insurance in Israel are only available through insurance agents directly and have relied on customers and agents to complete and send PDFs that would then be manually checked.
Clal recognized the opportunity to automate the process to reduce time to approval, eliminate manual processing hours and increase agent and client satisfaction. Now, instead of submitting PDFs, agents can work with customers to complete a digital form with all of the requisite information that is ingested as an XML or JSON file, and then exported as a PDF (to adhere to local regulations).
Instead of having the information manually checked, it can be checked automatically so that issues are flagged in a manner of 2 days max instead of a minimum of 6 days.
This is one application of Clal’s new Simulators project. Business rules are modeled for each simulator - including XML and PDF documents in a unified structure. The infrastructure mechanism provides inputs and redirects each form to the relevant core system (using webMethods API) to create the new insurance product, and then sends feedback back from the core systems to the simulators.
As Clal continues to adapt to emerging trends in the insurance market, their foundation of APIs and integration will continue to pay dividends. Nothing is impossible for Clal when everything is connected.