Effective selling often depends on knowing your customer. But, for many insurers, putting a face to a customer is a challenge. To improve its cross-selling results, Nationwide Insurance ($157 billion in assets) - a Columbus, Ohio-based carrier of life, auto, annuity, and P&C insurance - needed a holistic view of its customers, according to Todd Okuley, the carrier's director of customer and business intelligence solutions.
Nationwide's legacy systems didn't allow customer representatives to see the whole picture, explains Okuley. "When a customer called Nationwide Insurance, we had to look up each product they had purchased individually, even if they had policies in P&C, life and annuities," he relates. "We could not see the entire portfolio." With a limited view of the customer, cross-selling was a guessing game, Okuley adds.
In March 2003, Nationwide executives began investigating customer relationship management solutions to provide single customer views to employees across the enterprise. "Our goal was to achieve one view of a customer, so a customer service representative at Nationwide Financial or Nationwide P&C could understand the customer, their needs, all their relationships with Nationwide and cross-market effectively," says Okuley. To get the most out of a CRM application, however, Nationwide needed to consolidate customer data in a single system of reference, he adds.
Seven months later, without considering other products, Nationwide decided to deploy DWL Customer, a customer data integration solution from Atlanta-based DWL that creates a single customer data hub and leverages service-oriented architecture (SOA) to deliver the data in real time to disparate systems, including front-end CRM applications. According to Okuley, the decision was based on industry reviews that ranked DWL as the premier vendor in the customer data integrator space as well as the product's ability to leverage Nationwide's SOA. "We chose DWL based on the scalable architecture and our ultimate objective," he says.
Nationwide implemented DWL Customer, which is built on a J2EE platform that utilizes open architecture, in January 2004. Jeff Cain, the carrier's enterprise architect, calls the product "a perfect fit" with Nationwide's mainframe platform, which runs on IBM's (Armonk, N.Y.) D2B Information Integrator. "The DWL product is geared toward working with services and has an XML messaging format," he says. "All of the information is provided and passed in business objects that are represented within the XML, so it's very easy to blend into an SOA."
Utilizing Web services, Nationwide created an Internet portal and user interface to allow customer services representatives to access data in the DWL data hub. By June 2004, Nationwide was ready to run a localized pilot of the product. "From portal to Web services, everything went pretty smoothly," relates Cain. In fact, the pilot was so successful that, by December 2004, Nationwide began installing the system across all business units.
Now, "We are able to see a single view of all the different policies a customer might have, and our agents are able to better serve our customers," says Cain. "Our contact-to-sales ratio is down, and we have been able to target people who have the highest propensity to buy a given product through the use of analytics."
Case Study Profile
Nationwide (Columbus, Ohio; $157 billion in assets).
Lines Of Business
Auto, life, P&C and commercial insurance.
DWL's (Atlanta) DWL Customer data hub.
Integrate customer data from line-of-business silos to create a holistic, single customer view.