BrokerageCo was a leading commercial insurer which had historically grown through acquisition. Because those acquisitions were loosely integrated, it had a fairly decentralized model and a fragmented digital presence. During the pandemic, it faced a rising demand for digital services and several fast-moving, digital native competitors, and had to respond.
Leadership announced a mandate: they would need to bring their many siloed segments and regions together by building a digital sales and service platform in two phases. First, they’d create a new digital offering in a new market to capture demand. Then they’d need to spread those lessons and software development practices throughout the organization to help the entire company grow more agile and efficient.
As for the digital service platform, they had a hunch that it should cater to consumers seeking personal lines of protection. But to build it in a way that it could rapidly succeed, and to include modular capabilities that’d benefit other product lines, they turned to Bain.
Bain’s consultants, venture experts, and designers laid the foundation to answer all BrokerageCo’s questions with a four-phased approach known as NEXT. In this model, the teams would first establish the direction for the new consumer insurance line. Then, they'd validate the demand for it and test for product-market fit, and thereafter build, operationalize, and scale it.
To design and test that initial value proposition, the Innovation & Design team worked with Bain’s modern marketing experts and data scientists to identify five customer segmentations, including their characteristics and needs. They built a growth strategy and validated the business case to help BrokerageCo pitch the idea to its private equity owner. The pitch was a success and earned them a series A investment to begin the work.
What unmet or under-met needs existed for the target segments?
What unique digital offering could quickly reach meaningful scale?
What was the rough size of each opportunity, and the effort to execute?
How could they quickly build a product customers wanted?
How could they compete against well-funded startups?
What was the vision for the new digital offering?
What technology and data would be needed to build that customer journey?
The Bain team worked with BrokerageCo’s heads product and technology to scope a minimum-viable product (MVP). The discover squad designed and built a branded landing page while the go-to-market squad set up a novel approach for reaching customers using APIs in embedded insurance offerings.
The team reduced 100 potential ideas down to just three, then selected one for the prototype—a digital personal insurance advisor serving homeowners across the US. Within four months, they debuted the MVP and thanks to the API-led approach, it launched in three states and was quickly available to 15% of the population. Both teams used that MVP to test, learn, refine, and prove that the product had value.
Once it was clear it could be successful, Bain helped BrokerageCo scale the product, backed by all the latest tech expertise: developer-friendly APIs, modern deployments, an Azure data lake, dashboards, and more. They built a comprehensive launch plan around the product and initiated it. Just one year after starting, BrokerageCo successfully launched a world-class insurance advisor covering 65% of the population and offering multiple product solutions. The Bain team then increased its focus on helping the client develop those capabilities in-house, from identifying needed skillsets to providing one-on-one coaching.
Within 14 months, all the work was complete and BrokerageCo’s team took over. The results exceeded expectations. The new product not only helped the client establish a better market position than they’d hoped, but through the process, BrokerageCo developed new internal capabilities and could repeat this process for other business lines. Just one year after launch, the business was valued at over $1 billion and was well positioned against its digital native competitors.