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Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

How an established insurance company became digital-first

UK insurer Hastings Direct wanted to rewrite the conventions of its category by offering seamless end-to-end digital customer experiences.

Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

How does technology make insurance more human?

Hastings Direct wanted to offer its customers a familiar but more intuitive digital experience.

Over the last 10 years, the global insurance market has been shifting to include more digital offerings. Consumers have become highly selective and price sensitive.

Once a consumer has taken out a policy online, they often find their insurance provider offers a limited and outdated experience – for example, making consumers call them to make claims, renew or cancel their policies, sitting on hold in the call center queue. It’s a far cry from the customer-friendly, intuitive digital experience that attracted them.

Hastings Direct is a UK insurer that, recognizing this potential drop-off in customer service for their business, developed the strategic ambition to become the best and biggest digital UK insurance provider. That doesn’t just mean numbers of customers or total revenues, it means enabling customers to perform more transactions digitally with the best experience possible.

Hastings Direct had a longstanding relationship with the EY organization as their trusted advisor, having already implemented and enhanced the core Guidewire InsuranceSuite, including the migration of their products to their new insurance platform.

Together, they worked on a path to achieve Hastings Direct’s ambition.

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Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

Thinking and experiencing digital

Hastings Direct formed a multi-year strategic change collaboration with the EY organization to drive a mobile-first digital transformation.

After working with the EY organization since 2014 building the internal technology foundation, Hastings Direct was confident to move forward with EY teams to drive a mobile-first digital transformation.

Working to a new definition of “best and biggest,” Hastings Direct and EY teams had to think beyond traditional metrics. This meant putting the consumer first, for example, enabling self-service and making the sales journey easier and more straight-forward.

EY teams worked with Hastings Direct’s in-house digital hub, which designed new journeys aligned to their customers’ needs. To make these a reality, Hastings Direct needed the underlying technology to transform too. Hastings Direct completed a migration to the cloud, further invested in data enrichment and management information throughout the organization and launched a core platform upgrade to further enable digital customer journeys.

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It takes the whole organization to embed a customer-first, mobile-first transformation like this – so it was essential to equip all employees with the modern workplace tools necessary for Hastings Direct to become a truly digital insurance provider from the inside out. EY teams advised and collaborated on this process and helped establish internal governance to improve overall efficiency and delivery quality.

Strategically, Hastings Direct wanted to use its innovative new technology to get a holistic picture of customers and offer them the best price possible – this included embedding automation in testing to iterate improvements in the journeys.

On a tactical level, Hastings Direct and EY teams addressed the user experience through simplified question sets (which still maintained information gathering integrity to assess the insured risk), a clearer tone of voice, a consistent look and feel to the familiar price comparison sites, and easy toggling between standard and enhanced cover options.

“Hastings Direct and EY teams have developed an effective collaboration based on trust and doing the right thing. By working so closely, we have been able to react quickly to evolving needs for technology skill sets, and we are able to bring capabilities from all over the globe despite working remotely through the pandemic," says, Joel Pegram, Principal, Financial Services Technology Consulting, Ernst & Young LLP.

Throughout, the EY organization mobilized a diverse and global team, spanning more than 10 countries and encompassing strong technical capabilities to bring Hastings Direct the very best of EY teams.

We have been able to react quickly to evolving needs for technology skill sets, and we are able to bring capabilities from all over the globe despite working remotely through the pandemic.
Joel Pegram
Principal, Financial Services Technology Consulting, Ernst & Young LLP
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Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

Transformation that benefits everyone

The holistic change across Hastings Direct’s digital operations significantly transformed the customer experience.

At the heart of this transformation was the idea of making transactions frictionless for customers. And the results certainly reflect that.

Hastings Direct had more than 3.1m active policies in 2021. Positive customer opinion also reflects the value of the multi-year transformation journey, with more customers able to complete their visit successfully and purchase or upgrade a policy online. In January 2022, Hastings Direct became the highest-ranked insurance provider within the finance category in the App Store. And digital adoption continues to increase with 350,000 unique mobile app users per month since December 2021.

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Delivery of these improvements comes from the inside out, and the changes also helped Hastings Direct internal development teams deliver an efficiency gain of more than 40%. Now, and for the future, EY teams are working hand-in-hand with Hastings Direct’s IT organization. The team is digitizing the next level of servicing journeys – for example, providing comprehensive FAQs and help text, and offering the ability to message via chat queries. This will give consumers even greater confidence to execute their transactions digitally – all underpinned by new contact center technology.

Looking to the future, Hastings Direct is embedding forward-looking, rich use of data to develop more tailored, relevant and adaptable products for customers.

“Together, Hastings Direct and the EY organization continue to deliver beyond Hastings Direct’s stated expectations enabled by technology. It’s a relationship that helps us go from strength to strength with digital at the heart of our customer proposition,” says Mark Parker, Chief Operating Officer, Hastings Direct.

EY teams provided deep technical experience to Hastings Direct, architecting high-performing recommendations to complex business problems, and remained agile to their changing needs so they can continually better serve their customers.

As a result, Hastings Direct has chosen to extend the relationship and keep the EY organization as their trusted advisor. Together EY teams and Hastings Direct will work to build a better working world, for every customer.

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Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

Case study: How smart technology helped Fiserv accelerate M&A strategy

Multi-billion-dollar mergers are fraught with complexity, but smart digital platforms can accelerate your deal strategy from design to delivery.

Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

How do you merge two financial services players?

Market consolidation brings scale and innovation by streamlining online payments.

Fintech companies specializing in online payment solutions have been essential support for banks, credit unions and businesses. But, they have tended to build dominance in one link of the financial payment transaction chain. Until a year ago, First Data, a global merchant acquiror, was operating in some 100 countries, providing point-of-sale and online payment solutions for large and small businesses. Fiserv was one of the leading US account processors for banks, with over 37% of US market share in the years prior to the merger.1 With combined revenues of US$13 billion, these companies had grown both organically and through acquisitions to develop their offerings across the payment processing chain. They’d built up capabilities in risk management and credit and debt issuing. The question was, could they be brought together to unlock additional value, provide a better service to customers and accelerate their growth as an integrated asset?

The leaders of both Fiserv and First Data were convinced that their companies would be stronger together, by providing their clients with a holistic payment solution. The underlying logic for the deal — a set of complementary capabilities and complementary clients — was compelling on paper. But grafting together two complex businesses in US$40 billion enterprise value acquisition with over 45,000 employees is a notoriously difficult undertaking. In addition to this, Fiserv made an external commitment to achieve US$900 million in cost synergies and $500 million in revenue synergies within the first five years following the close of the transaction. The achievement of these synergies would be integral to the success of the deal, as the company announced it would invest an additional US$500 million in an ambitious growth and innovation agenda.

The leadership and enablement of the synergy program largely fell upon Fiserv’s finance organization, who was charged with spearheading this effort. Documenting and rolling up dozens upon dozens of cost and revenue synergy initiatives into a structured, repeatable monthly rhythm, where progress could be tracked and measured, was no easy task. Chris Dichiara, Vice President and Head of Financial Planning and Analysis for Fiserv, was asked to lead this program for the company. So, how could these two companies leverage technology to realize the financial benefits and joint vision of this transformational merger?

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Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

A single goal, enabled by an advanced digital platform

Consolidating multiple data-points would have taken years without EY Capital Edge.

“Early on in the merger, I tried to use Excel,” recalls Chris Dichiara. “But piecing together hundreds of Excel files, figuring out what was happening in each of the hundreds of initiatives, getting visibility over the process — workstreams, financial data, roadmaps, milestones — it didn’t work out so well.”

The EY team who led the post-merger integration recommended their end-to-end digital platform, EY Capital Edge, to bring all this complexity into a streamlined solution. Fiserv was able to fully tailor the EY Capital Edge tool to best meet their needs. The tool provided a monthly package which provided all the reporting and insights necessary to keep the new organization on track to meet their synergy targets and execute upon the overall M&A strategy. The platform kept everyone — from the individual initiative owners to the Fiserv executive leadership team — aligned, provided instant visibility across the whole process, and ensured everyone was talking from the same numbers: it brought efficiency to chaos.

“EY Capital Edge was fluid, flexible, cloud-based and easy-to-access,” says Dichiara. “Bringing in EY and EY Capital Edge to help organize the process really accelerated the deal. We’ve got over 100 people on the platform today: all our teams use it. I see the same data being used in one of our business units as in Corporate where I sit.”

A merger of this size encompassing hundreds of solutions, millions of clients and billions of data points, requires “an entire organizational effort,” says Dichiara. The EY team were “there the next week,” putting together the process, instituting controls, and “being innovative in the way they were thinking,” he says. “They built connections internally with us and were extremely flexible…helping us take the Capital Edge tool and really integrate it into our existing financial planning and budgeting processes.” The EY organization did more than provide a flexible digital solution: they got under the skin of the company, bringing a broad range of experience in where it was needed, helping deliver on the strategy.

Critical to Dichiara personally was having absolute confidence in the financials. “We had no room for error,” he says, “and using EY Capital Edge… gave me 100% comfort in signing off on the numbers.”

The newly combined company, now called Fiserv, is already outperforming its initial targets. Within 8 months following deal close, the US$900 million cost synergy target was increased to US$1.2 billion and on the revenue side, “we’ve already upped that target to US$600 million,” says Dichiara.  With the help of EY Capital Edge, Fiserv is well on its way to achieving all its external commitments and most importantly, as Dichiara reflects, “the integration has come together in a way that we're that we're winning in [our] clients’ offices.”

The merged Fiserv is efficiently cross-selling capabilities to its clients, providing a seamless, globally-integrated payment solution that is delivering additional value to its customers.

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Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

A holistic payment solution, backed by a single technology platform

EY Capital Edge helped accelerate this merger and it continues to support the strategy

Chris Dichiara is clear that EY Capital Edge accelerated and simplified the process of the merger between First Data and Fiserv: it was “certainly instrumental in helping us execute on the deal.” But even after the deal was done, the tool is an invaluable aid to running the new enterprise. “We took our financial hierarchies, our business structures, our functional structures, and put them into the tool,” he says. “We linked it in with our ERP system and ..., eighteen months after the deal, our execution plans are kind of just working. It's embedded within everything we do, from a finance side but also a business side and it really has become part of the financial architecture of the company.”

EY Capital Edge was fluid, flexible, cloud-based and easy-to-access. Bringing in EY teams and EY Capital Edge to help organize the process really accelerated the deal.
Chris Dichiara
Vice President and Head of Financial Planning and Analysis, Fiserv

A leading platform that can flex to accommodate a company’s financial, business and ERP structures and systems can continue to provide value post-merger, not just for the company, but for their clients too. The story starts with a bold strategy, but it comes alive through successful execution.

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