The new SCIP Lab: Reality check for online sales

To give interested insurers the opportunity to test SCIP Sales extensively, sum.cumo Sapiens has recently launched the SCIP Lab: This is a combined offer consisting of a time-limited demo environment of SCIP Sales and corresponding workshops. This allows insurers to decide early on and without significant costs whether SCIP Sales will work for the expansion of their online sales. We spoke to Lukas Wehrle, Unit Director at sum.cumo Sapiens:

Lukas, please introduce yourself briefly: Who are you and what brought you to the topics of application forms and digital sales?

I have a background in business informatics and have been working in the insurance environment for 12 years. In the past, I was more involved in consulting and project management. Today, I work for sum.cumo Sapiens in the area of business development with a focus on digital sales for insurance companies.

Five years ago, in my first project at sum.cumo Sapiens, we implemented application forms for over 20 products for a client, all based on custom development. There I got to know the requirements of our customers, the end customers and the sales channels and developed my passion for the topic.

Can you say something about which challenges or pain points insurers face when it comes to implementing digital application forms?

These challenges can be found on two levels:
From an organizational perspective, it is the fact that almost all areas of an insurance company are involved for the go-live of an application form or a new product: Input is needed from the actuarial department, the specialist department, marketing to legal. Therefore, projects have to be thought and implemented cross-functionally.

Other challenges are of a technical nature:
We have learned from the past that even in custom development, time-to-market can be gradually shortened through modular development and best practices from application form to application form. However, this leverage is limited. The only way to avoid having to access in-house IT, which is often at capacity, or to source ongoing efforts from the service provider is to use a product solution such as SCIP Sales. This enables the insurance company’s specialist departments to create and maintain application forms independently. As a result, IT expenses are incurred where they are reasonable and necessary: In interface connections and more complex IT projects.

Insurers often have a large product range and also want to integrate products from cooperation partners. There are ongoing rate adjustments, new and changed requirements, or regulatory changes that need to be taken into account in online sales. Only through an efficient approach and independent maintenance by the insurer can such projects be managed. In order to offer an insurer’s entire portfolio online, there must be a short time-to-market and the cost-benefit ratio must be right.

How can you solve these problems and where do you start?

With SCIP Sales as a lightweight e-commerce solution, we support the digital sales of insurers. They can use it to configure and manage insurance products and integrate the application forms into all sales channels. To get started with the project, we recommend a lab approach, with which we provide a test license and accompanying workshops as a package for three months. The customer receives full access to our product, is trained in it and can quickly and independently implement their own products and application forms with real pricing in SCIP Sales. Depending on the focus, we accompany with workshops, for example on the topics of user experience or sales. The procedure can also be chosen in an MVP approach to check the actual demand of the insurance product – or to optimize the form and the product before it is rolled out.

What are the advantages of this approach for potential customers?

The software itself solves the otherwise usual challenges mentioned at the beginning. Product owners can create their product independently in the Product Configurator on a no-code interface, the actuarial department can integrate pricing at the low-code level with formulas and mapping tables, the marketing department implements the CI/CD in the Theme Designer, while the sales channels design end customer and broker form variants in the Journey Creator using drag and drop.

The fact that these dependencies no longer exist also results in very concrete advantages. In the past, a designer would create a design in a tool based on CI/CD, UX would build a prototype on top of it, and the UX writer would create the texts. In addition to clarifying the technical connections, it becomes a click dummy that is approved in several rounds of committees. Then tickets are created and the technical implementation begins. But the practical experience is like this: At the end, when everything is ready, it becomes apparent that the order of the application form should be different or that a legally required consent is missing. Then the process starts again with tickets, implementation and acceptance by the project management and the product owner. In the end, after all this effort, you realize that the product is hardly in demand, you don’t know why and the adjustments require more time again.

With SCIP Sales, the insurer independently incorporates such changes in a new product version. It can go live directly at the click of a mouse and without the need for technical deployment.

Who are you specifically addressing with this lab approach?

The target groups are diverse, just like the use cases:
It could be the insurer or insurance underwriter who wants to expand and accelerate their online sales. Or the in-house lab team that wants to test new sales channels. The product department that wants to quickly bring a new product to market and test it. Often it is also an individual sales channel that needs modified products, application form logics or designs for its brokers or cooperation partners.

What specific requirements do interested companies have to meet in order to use the Lab approach?

There are no special prerequisites, and the training period is also short. SCIP Sales is operated via a web interface and sum.cumo Sapiens provides the environment and access data. However, the interested parties need a concrete task and vision. For the best result, the team should be cross-functional or have areas such as product actuarial and legal within reach.

Can the embedded approach also be served?

SCIP Sales relies on a consistent API-first approach. This means that the insurance product purchase can integrate directly with the insurer’s shopping cart via interfaces. Alternatively, SCIP Sales is able to receive the pricing-relevant data from the partner and, in a styled widget, implement the purchase directly on the partner’s site in a shortened mini-application form. Embedded Insurance is therefore another sales channel that can be served with SCIP Sales. In addition to the technical implementation that SCIP Sales makes possible, embedded requires above all good concepts for integration and dovetailing between partners. Topics like embedded are important for innovation and openness to new topics. However, there is still a lot to do at the grassroots level and in the more traditional sales channels.

What happens after such a lab phase? Does a new project follow?

One thing is very important for me to communicate: The Lab approach with SCIP Sales is not better prototyping. It is not, as is often the case, the creation of a click dummy from tools such as Sketch or Figma, which is created for user research or to convince the board of directors.

For the Lab approach, the mindset of a “Minimum Viable Product” applies – but the result is a fully saleable application form. For real digital sales, a productive environment is set up and things can get started. Step by step, and once the product has been successfully launched on the market, it can be scaled up.

For example: SCIP Sales has an internal pricing engine, but can also process external pricing. In the MVP approach, one would use the pricing engine first, as even a complex pricing can be implemented in less than a day. If the product is successful, the insurer can implement the pricing in its own calculation core and this can be connected to SCIP Sales. The same is true for policing into inventory systems, print pieces and emails. SCIP Sales can be used independently. But depending on the project phase and needs, SCIP can also be integrated directly or successively into an insurer’s ecosystem thanks to its open interfaces. As an alternative to the approach of connecting SCIP Sales to inventory systems as a front-end-over-legacy, we offer a total solution for insurance companies and underwriters with the SCIP Suite.

Are customers already using the SCIP Lab or is there other practical experience?

Yes, the first customers are already using the approach and are planning further scaling. For us and the product team, it is great to see how quickly and independently insurance companies implement their own products in SCIP Sales. The SCIP Lab approach is fully in line with our mission Make insurance feel simple. This has been true for end customers for some time thanks to our customer-centric application forms – and now, thanks to SCIP, it’s also true for insurers.

Who can be contacted if I am interested?

If you are interested in the described lab approach, you can simply contact our sales department. In a phone call or virtual meeting, we would be happy to provide further insights into SCIP Sales and the Lab approach and discuss the use case.

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