PROJECT INTRO
Client Portal is a secure, electronic portal for an insurance agency's customers to verify coverages, view policies and request changes, print auto ID cards, manage certificates of insurance, upload or download documents, and create custom content pages. Agencies can brand their portals with their own colors, logos, and fonts, assign user-level permissions for certain actions and page access, and customize automatic emails the system sends out. The portal is integrated into the agency management software, requiring tight coordination with those teams to develop APIs we could use. When I joined the team a rough beta version was in place, and I built up the architecture and functionality to a robust v1 release and acted as lead designer for the next several years, continually testing and adding features with our dedicated design partner group. Client Portal has been one of Vertafore's most successful new products and continues to draw new customers interested in providing their own customers with the best service possible, leading them to greater retention and satisfaction rates.
Client: Vertafore  |  Date: June 2014 - May 2017  | Services: Competitive Research, Journey Mapping, Wireframing, Prototyping, User Research & Testing (visual design courtesy of another team member)
GETTING STARTED
When I first came on the project, there was ambiguity from the product team and executives around which features to develop first, as the list was large. The portal caters to both commercial and personal lines customers, who have very different needs. Based on input from our design partners, I proposed that we focus on one line of customer, personal, and created a user journey to tell the story of how an agency's customer would use and find value in the portal. The journey begins with an insured logging in to check their policies, adding a new driver to a policy, printing an auto ID card, and continues through using a mobile accident assistance app to begin a claim, finishing and sending the claim later when clearer heads prevail, and accessing documents related to the claim. This journey helped everyone step back to see the bigger picture and allowed us to prioritize features into cohesive user workflows so we weren't releasing a mish-mash of unrelated capabilities.

A sampling of slides from a user journey PPT to demonstrate the capabilities for a personal lines customer

CHAMPIONING AN IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT
One of the first steps I took when redesigning the beta site was to convince the team to implement a responsive grid layout. Based on the user journey described above, it was clear users would want and need to access the site from mobile and tablet devices, in addition to laptops and desktops. The dev team chose the Bootstrap framework and I got to work redesigning each page with a more modern layout and interaction paradigm that also adhered to the new responsive grid system. Our agency customers let us know that they were receiving rave reviews from their own customers about how easy the portal was to use from smaller device screens, and that the simple ability to pull up an auto ID card on their phone gave them peace of mind when out and about.

Redesigned to align to a responsive Bootstrap grid, with grids showing in pink

TACKLING THE NEXT USER GROUP
After the core feature set for personal lines users was released, we tackled the commercial users. One of the most valuable services the portal offers them is the ability to add holders to master certificates and issue them on the spot. Imagine a contractor showing up to the job site at 7am and not being allowed in because they can't prove they have the proper insurance coverage. This feature saves them from that scenario. Our design partners indicated that they compete with other agencies based on their ability to quickly turn around certificates, often within just several hours. Realizing we needed more info, I reached out to one of our local customers and asked if they'd be willing to let us sit with them and watch how they issue certificates for their customers. Being onsite watching over the shoulders of customer service reps as they processed these requests was eye-opening. We came away with a better understanding of the importance of this feature, the impact of timing, and how we'd need to build it. We worked with our customers as we designed it to make sure we were addressing their core concerns. After releasing, our customer message boards lit up with praise about how much time this saved them each day. It's a really great feeling when you've made your customers' lives that much better.

Commercial lines users can access a list of all master certificates (left) and add holders and issue a cert (right) without having to contact their agent. Because the portal is integrated with the agency management system, it creates a notification for the agent of the action that took place and adds the holder in the system so the agent doesn't need to duplicate work.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES
Additional features I designed include: agent-client document sharing, DocuSign integration, agency customizable email templates, portal usage reporting, client policy change requests, and laying out complicated policy documents in an easy-to-read format.
Agents/clients can securely share documents
Agents/clients can securely share documents
DocuSign integration flow
DocuSign integration flow
Customizing auto email templates
Customizing auto email templates
Usage reporting and data point options
Usage reporting and data point options
CONCLUSION
Client Portal became one of Vertafore's highest-selling products and was the lead topic in the January 2016 internal sales conference. It was an incredibly proud moment in my career knowing I (and my team) had taken this product from a one page skeleton to a robust, successful product being showcased to our entire company. We couldn't have done it without our dedicated design partners, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting at our annual conferences. Great things happen when you have great relationships with your customers.
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