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From a traditional company to a pioneering health-insurtech in Brazil

How Service Design helped a traditional healthcare company in Brazil on its transformation journey to become a health-insurtech.

Act I
A new vision and governance model for transformation

During the first part of our engagement, we focused on understanding the organisation’s current situation: its digital capabilities and vision for the future. Through conversations and workshops with their executives fueled by our know-how on global best digital practices, we set out to define a vision and a governance model for the transformation.
Livework brought service design, startup experience, technology knowledge, and new business model perspectives to support this initiative. Our first engagement was with the Seguros Unimed C-suite to define a vision and pave the way for innovation.
As an outcome of this phase, we determined a strategic direction for Seguros Unimed, which declared our four ambitions for 2020:

1. The organisation is positioned as a pioneer in the development of Insurtech in the country, innovating in insurance market standards and creating new businesses based on the digital behaviours of Brazilians.

2. The service model grows into a B2B2C Digital Service Platform, expert in service, assistance, protection, and prevention.

3. The platform becomes a source of complementary business opportunities for the Cooperative System.

4. The service delivery operation, previously seen as digitally outdated, becomes a reference in digital transformation in its sector and country.

With a clear vision, we then developed a structure capable of instilling change on the outside, towards more digital service offerings with an updated customer experience, as well as on how the organisation would operate on the inside, its mindset and practices.

As a result, we set up what we called an innovation cell, made up of professionals with design, business and technology backgrounds that would work apart from Seguros Unimed’s current structure to point out and act on transformation opportunities without the ties of the outdated business operation.

Act II
Identifying and prioritizing opportunities

The first task of the newly established innovation cell, named ‘Stormia’, was to approach the challenge through a systemic view. We identified every actor to which Seguros Unimed generated value, and mapped out opportunities in their current journeys, including the status of touchpoints and processes and how they played a role in them. We mapped the customer journey for five main customer groups: beneficiaries, corporate clients, healthcare service providers, healthcare specialists, and insurance brokers.

Although internal stakeholders already knew some of the gathered information, its consolidation indicating internal and external points of contact pointing out positive and negative experiences brought new perspectives and value to the user journey mapping. 

Beneficiaries perceived the five main offerings as two lines – Health Assistance and Financial Protection – resulting in one single offer called Life Assistance. This approach was well received by the organization and connected to its goals for 2020.

All five actors who participated in this study used to perceive Unimed Seguro as backward and bureaucratic. Therefore, whenever possible, they were choosing other alternatives.

Those discoveries represented great opportunities for developing a clearer value proposition, better offers and updated relationships with these stakeholders.

Organising the work on different fronts

With the objective of pioneering the development of Insurtech in Brazil, we started developing digital solutions targeting the prioritized opportunities. The intent was to achieve better operational processes and relationships with customers and stakeholders while generating new revenue streams in the following years.

The Stormia team organised the work on three fronts focusing on pilot projects that were continually improved:
– Redesign of current digital services
– Acceleration of related internal projects
– Development of new businesses and partnerships

And provided the vision and the project roadmap for the launch of new or updated services with the following experience drivers:

1. Perceived value: Develop business models that deliver tangible benefits.

2. Usability: Embed technology that improves the experience by enabling better interactions between insurer and customers.

3. Personalization: Agile and innovative evaluation models that provide extremely personalized and lower-risk offers.

4. Accelerated growth: Fast customer acquisition actions to increase the customer base exponentially.

Act IV
Continuous innovation and harvesting results

Before the project, the cooperative network used to have more than 120+ mobile apps with little relevance to users and health stakeholders. After the prioritization and Stormia roadmap, the company defined its offer as a simpler platform with a unique purpose.

Named “Digital Ecosystem of Shared Value”, it was based on the principle of inter-cooperation, which assumes that everyone should benefit directly and collaboratively from the results. The open and participatory platform would become the place and the means to promote collaborative innovation, quality of life, and people’s financial protection.

Besides the platform, another important legacy would be the positive impact on culture, work methodologies and ways of doing business for the entire organization.

Pursuing these objectives, we designed a specific Service Design framework, which has been improved and adapted to bring new users and collaborators to co-create, prototype, and test ideas that are then developed into a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that are then tested with selected audiences through pilot projects before being improved and made available to their wider market.

From October 2017 to March 2018, we designed and ran four Design Sprints that were adapted into a format that allowed employees to engage and participate over four days and introduced the methodology internally. The results of this engagement were very positive, and, little by little, customer-facing technology and mobile solution projects from other areas began to implement the framework.

Thanks to a better understanding of the user journey, digital channels for customers, partners, and employees gradually improved. Better integration has also been observed between areas, which traditionally operated in silos. The IT department, for example, created an Agile Cell initially to meet the demands generated by Stormia, and quickly realized the benefits of working in this way in other opportunities.

Throughout 2018, Stormia tested seven different MVPs, all related to this new simple and unique digital platform for users that should be fully integrated in 2020. By October 2021, the expectation was to reach six million users, with revenue of $30 million per year.

In addition to the new technology, which features a modern and flexible architecture, this solution expands the offerings and enriches the value proposition of a traditional insurer to include long-term well-being, health, and financial solutions related to a B2B2C model, in which B represents physician and corporate organizations and C, the ultimate beneficiary.

The essence remains the same, but the organization is finding new ways to deliver value to its ecosystem, responding to users’ needs, wants, and expectations while transforming itself internally and externally.

Service Design, as Stormia’s main approach, played a vital role in this transformation: service designers lead the process of mapping opportunities and generating solutions, considering the needs of stakeholders and users to focus on well-defined challenges.

Given the previous dominating culture, structure, and legacy, making things happen this way was a challenge. The changes, however, are evident. The organization is closer to being a user-oriented health-insurtech and further away from the traditional model in which it had existed for so long. It is now able to survive in the very competitive digital arena.

This case was a finalist in the Service Design Awards 2019 and was originally published here.

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Ben Reason Founding Partner

I am a founding partner of Livework having set-up the company in 2001. My focus on keeping Livework at the forefront of service design practice and ensuring we continue to create value for our clients.

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