Customer Story: Cactus Launched an Online Trading Platform for Commercial Combined and Contract Works Insurance Covers

Cactus launched an online trading platform in New Zealand for commercial combined and contract works insurance covers using Insly’s software. To gain a conclusive competitive edge through technological superiority, Cactus needed a capable and flexible software platform to be able to offer these insurance covers. After a global search for the insurance software provider, Insly came out on top.

“Cactus chose to work with Insly as we had some key areas that were important for us (e.g. the possibility to do web sales, readiness to allow for broker access, different automation and potential to tap into insurer rating engines and data sources). After our initial discussions, it seemed that Insly ticked many of the boxes.” - Nicholas Rolfe, Managing Director at Cactus

Background of Cactus

Founded in 2012, Cactus is an innovative insurance wholesaler with the aim to provide brokers with effective online tools to quote and bind risks in a simple, no fuss manner. The vision of the company is to make insurance sales and understanding easier for both consumers and sellers alike. Cactus focuses on providing insurance covers in property, motor, and liability and has an XY-strong broker network. Down the line, the company also intends to expand into direct-to-consumer sales.

End-to-End Solution

The result after customising the Insly platform and developing modules addressing Cactus’s specific use cases is a cloud-based system that accommodates full cycle sales and administration for brokers and has the online sales capacity, enriched by the certain novel, innovative components:

  • simple quote forms with easy-to-use lookup services for home, vehicle, and addresses;
  • automated rating engine and referral system for all products;
  • e-sales process with e-offers, web-based declaration signing process, and document management;
  • three online payment options: credit card, premium funding, and bank transfer with synchronisation between accounting software (Xero).

Cactus offers multiple insurance covers using Insly’s insurance software:

  • commercial combined - includes business and employers' liability, corporate vehicles and office insurance;
  • domestic combined - insurance cover for private vehicles, home and interior, divided into comprehensive and standard products. For a smooth quote and bind process, the domestic combined product has API integrations to Cactus’s insurer Ando which provides the rates;
  • contract works - insurance cover for construction projects from start to completion.

One of the recent developments was launching the standard product under domestic combined insurance. It is a light version of this product by providing fewer insurance covers, lower sums insured, and a lower price. This makes it easier to offer flexibility and variety in onboarding new customers.

Agile Development Process

Insly started the project with a thorough analysis of Cactus’s needs and aspirations, as well as country and business sector specific requirements, defining the scope, budget, and timeline.

There was some common functionality that needed adjusting to match Cactus’s requirements:

  • how to put in place as much relevant automation as possible;
  • how to make the process flow as intuitive and easy for the user as possible;
  • how to make the documents as short as possible, but not lose the critical information at the same time.

Managing Director at Cactus, Mr. Rolfe explained, “However, we also had a lot of new functionality that we wanted to do differently compared to the classical approach, which required some extra analyses and planning regarding how to configure the Insly platform accordingly.” The full project was handed over with some delays compared to the initial timeline, with an accompanying budget overrun. However, this was mainly caused by extra functionality and mid-term changes in scope, and was approved and welcomed by Cactus.

“This is where our agile methodology comes into play,” commented Armido Hirvelaan, Product Owner at Insly. He continued, “It’s quite obvious that the best ideas come along when some progress is already made, enabling us to experience how the solution works firsthand. A classical waterfall project often fails to accommodate such ongoing scope changes, making participants stubbornly following something that is already known to be inadequate.”

It is worth noting that the entire project was done remotely from the beginning to the end, using virtual meetings and calls while managing the difference in time zones.

Lessons Learned

Some learning objectives that should be considered from the project of launching an online trading platform and new insurance covers:

  • communication, analysis, and planning. The project involved a lot of that, but perhaps even more would have been needed;
  • try to agree on the scope as soon as possible, but leave room for improvements, changes, and consider the potential effect on the budget;
  • focus on the minimum viable version instead of an all-inclusive, long-term vision which is something that you will keep on executing for years to come;
  • speak the same language - an MTA might mean something different in the UK than it does in New Zealand;
  • testing is the most critical of all, demand test access rights from the beginning. Test yourself, use friends and partners to test. When done, repeat.

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