Santander Bank Polska continues to develop new products and services via remote channels such as online banking and mobile applications. It has now launched a special tool for users to quickly compare car insurance packages offered by four different insurance providers.
The pandemic has encouraged many customers to switch to self-service channels such as mobile banking. In a recent report by Deloitte, as many as 33% claim they now use digital banking much more often than they did before 2019. For banks, this is a clear incentive to develop digital sales channels and provide customers with a more diverse, personalized portfolio.
A new trend, known as “bancassurance”, where banking and insurance products are offered by a single provider, is one way in which companies try to respond to new customer expectations. The option enables insurance products to be cross-sold along with banking products or added to the bank portfolio as an independent element. Importantly for the client, this means convenience and time-efficiency, especially since the insurance sales process can be 100% hosted online.
Between business and technology
Santander Bank Polska set out to launch a car insurance comparison engine, based on a tool that would deliver real value to customers, i.e. automatically perform a range of tasks. In this particular case, once all the necessary data are collected, the engine will need just a few seconds to compare insurance packages offered by selected insurance providers.
Because it has a very extensive portfolio and usually works on several new products simultaneously, Santander Bank Polska decided to hire an experienced technology partner to support its in-house developer team. This move was meant to speed up the process, especially since the solution supports a wide range of functions that span the whole sales process – from the moment data are fed into the system, through calculation, policy purchase support, documentation, all the way to final payment.
The bank decided to partner up with Altkom Software because the software house had extensive prior experience in carrying out projects for the insurance industry. With its support, the in-house developer team could easily start the project, using agile methodology and sharing their experiences. The bank coordinated the creation of the engine’s MVP, which was then converted into the final product, following user surveys and FUT tests.
A modern car insurance comparison engine
At present, the comparison engine is integrated with the systems of four different insurance providers. It supports the entire sales process and synchronises data between the bank and the insurers. The bank has designed the whole process in accordance with the best UX and UI practices.
The comparison engine is available to customers of Santander Bank Polska via online banking and mobile apps. The focus is on maximum time efficiency, which is achieved, for instance, by partial data input automation. In this way, users can find an attractive car insurance package in a matter of minutes.
The quality of insurance products offered by the comparison engine does not differ between different providers. What varies is the price; this is the factor that allows customers to make their final choice. The comparison engine only needs a few seconds to tally and present available insurance offers, and customers can buy a package online, without switching to another platform or leaving their house.
Domain Driven Design
Santander Bank Polska wanted to create a valuable and trustworthy tool that would also be scalable, so that new functions could be added in the future. App performance was also of paramount importance. The bank had to be sure that customers would get an instant comparison between policies.
The system was developed from scratch, based on the Domain Driven Design approach, where the bounded context technique was used to build the microservice architecture. This is important from the perspective of the engine’s intended use. The approach allowed Santander to provide participating insurance companies with a uniform integration interface.
The modular nature of the solution allowed different tasks and responsibilities to be separated, which improved final app quality and ensured it could be easily developed in the future. Dedicated authorisation and encryption mechanisms guaranteed user security. The engine is based on the SPA model, which means that content is displayed instantly, without the need for large volumes of backend data.
The system was created in Java 11, using technologies such as:
- Spring Cloud – for building distributed systems,
- Apache Camel – for asynchronous services,
- Angular 12 – for SPA app design,
- OpenShift – for implementation,
- Rabbit MQ – for internal communication and data synchronisation with insurance providers.
The selected technology stack enabled quick project implementation. CodeScene and SonarQube were used to analyse data quality in order to control team performance and address any security and quality issues in real time.
Integration was the greatest challenge. The engine not only retrieves and uploads data between different bank systems, but also between the systems of insurance providers and external databases. At present, the solution is integrated via a dedicated API.
An agile approach to cooperation
IT solution development projects are typically highly complex and require close cooperation between the end user and the developer. In this case, both parties preferred to adopt an agile approach to make sure the product would meet the expectation of the partner and its future end users.
“More and more customers today want to manage their financial affairs online. Our priority is to deliver simple, intuitive, easy daily banking tools. A few clicks is now all it takes to send a bank transfer or pay your road tolls. Adding new, useful solutions, such as insurance sales, is just a natural next step in the development of online and mobile banking. By standardising the scope of insurance packages, our comparison engine allows customers to compare the portfolios of four different insurance providers” – says Joanna Borysiewicz, who is responsible for bancassurance at Santander Bank Polska.
“With its experience in the field of finance and insurance, Altkom made it possible to fast-track the project, lending professional support to our own developer teams, but also weighing in with the necessary know-how” – she adds.
“Our cooperation with Santander Bank Polska allowed the project to move forward at a fast pace and avoid problems. Without it, it wouldn’t have been possible to create a product from scratch, automate processes, and ensure integration on such a wide scale in such a short time. Open communication enabled us to improve the system in real time to make sure its final quality would meet all the business needs of our partner. I particularly want to thank Joanna Borysiewicz, Santander’s Tribe Leader, who supervised the project on the other end” – adds Michał Lisiecki, Head of Digital Now Unit at Altkom Software.