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Building a Responsive Application for an Earthquake Insurance Provider

INSURANCE | APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT

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Building a Responsive Application an Earthquake Insurance Provider

TEKsystems helped a not-for-profit earthquake insurance provider build a fully responsive web application used by inspectors to assess seismic vulnerability in the field.

Client Profile

Our client is one of the world’s largest providers of residential earthquake insurance, writing 76 percent of all residential earthquake policies sold in California. TEKsystems has partnered with this organization since June 2016.

Situation

Digital technology has transformed the way organizations operate and interact with their customers. It has also created more opportunities to impact business activities. As a leading earthquake insurance provider, our client needed to leverage digital technology to provide a more accessible and accurate system for their field inspectors when assessing buildings for seismic vulnerability.

Traditionally, their Seismic Vulnerability Inspection form—which customers, inspectors and insurance partners used on a daily basis to assess potential seismic effects on structures—was paper-based. Our client wanted to rebuild this form into a web-based application that could calculate the final inspection score. This legacy modernization effort would better enable them to raise visibility about seismic vulnerability and the need for earthquake insurance. It would also create a more accessible and mobile-friendly inspection form that would help improve accuracy and support consistency in catalogue records.

Our client began developing a mock-up for the application, but soon realized they did not have the capacity or technical expertise to complete this project within the timeline requested by the executive team. They issued an RFP and sought a partner to support their legacy modernization initiative. The partner would need to have diverse expertise, provide an efficient resource model and deliver a quality product while staying within their business parameters.

Solution

TEKsystems learned of our client’s need for application development support and presented a proposal to design, develop, test and implement a legacy modernization of the Seismic Vulnerability Inspection form. Our client originally envisioned a native application, but struggled to develop a thorough concept that fully articulated their business needs or identified the required technology. TEKsystems Application Development Services recommended a responsive web design instead to increase initial use and availability of the application, while decreasing development time. Leveraging Entity Framework technologies, we would support the development and mapping of the data-oriented application, as well as provide data capacity expertise, leadership and process management perspective. Our team—which would consist of a Delivery/ Project Manager, Practice Architect, Lead UI Developer, API Developer and QA Tester—would work closely with the client’s IT and business teams to bridge communication gaps and ensure the application’s functionality aligned with the capabilities the business sought.

We presented our proposal to the client with prospective project team members and delivery managers to show the strength of our workforce strategy. We would leverage our network of credentialed IT professionals to provide execution team members with the right skill sets—and with whom we had previously worked with—to ensure the best team was in place to drive the project and implement the application successfully. Furthermore, we demonstrated our ability to navigate two central challenges:

  1. A committed timeline and budget. The business hoped to meet a six-month deadline and stay under budget, all while meeting their Minimal Viable Product (MVP).
  2. Outsource restrictions. Due to our client being a state-like entity, they had restricted outsourcing abilities. They would not able to leverage a near-shore or off-shore delivery model for this project, so we would have to be creative and flexible in finding the right resources to complete the project. We proposed part-time resources. Working with an adjusted-time support team in Sacramento, we would work closely with our client’s IT and business teams, having daily stand-ups and defining guidelines for communication and consistency.

The client agreed with our approach and ultimately selected TEKsystems over an incumbent provider, as well as two competing providers, to build the web application. We gave our client confidence in our team model and they appreciated our proactive approach to gathering the skilled resources for the project.

Results

TEKsystems remodeled a historically six-page paper form into a working, fully responsive web application in our client’s production environment—on time and on budget. Not only did the final application accurately calculate the final score from the paper form, but we saw an opportunity to add deeper value and built in additional logic with suggested steps based on value inputted by the user. For example, if a question is not applicable based on a response to a previous question, the form would skip it. This made the application smarter than the paper form and exceeded our client’s expectations in functionality. In addition, our team adjusted the order of the online form to be more intuitive to provide a more fluid user experience.

With a responsive web application, inspectors are now able to access the form anywhere and on any device—especially helpful when working in the field. The digital form has reduced errors and increased business efficiency. Previously, paper forms were not accurately tracked or accounted for. Now, these forms can be located and documented through the website, and users can access versions up to two years old.

Finally, we provided leadership support outside the scope of the project, identifying areas where the client could streamline cross collaboration and break down silo effects. Finding and providing the top execution team members was critical to driving this project and making it a success. The final product has made our client’s inspectors jobs painless and more automated, with the business feeling empowered to use more digital functionality.

Our team kept the client’s MVP a high priority within every step of production to ensure all goals were met by their target. When additional functional requests were made, we helped our client prioritize their goals based on what was most important and feasible within the desired parameters. Our client is now looking to integrate the application with other systems, such as seismic retrofit programs and entities, and evolve it with additional functionality.

Overall, this project was a success, leaving the client, inspectors and partners very impressed by our delivery and product. Our client is considering TEKsystems for additional opportunities for enhancements and application integration.

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