ITDS supporting Belfius with implementation of Keylane Axon

27 July 2021 Consultancy.eu 6 min. read

For the last two years, a group of eight ITDS consultants has been working on setting up Keylane’s cloud-based Axon solution for Belfius Insurance in Belgium. A conversation with client Veerle Josson and ITDS senior consultant Joan Cremers about the project and its contribution to performance.

Veerle Josson has more than twenty years of experience in the insurance sector. At Belfius Insurance, she is end responsible for myriad products within the Core Insurance Renewal Non-Life programme, from product development to transformations implemented in Axon – a web-based policy and claims administration solution for insurers. 

Developed by Dutch insurance-focused technology firm Keylane, Axon is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model that supports front, mid and back office processes throughout the policy and claims lifecycle in an integrated system. 

Belfius Insurance implements Keylane Axon

Helping with the Axon implementation at Belfius were eight consultants from the Product Design team (PD team) of management consultancy ITDS. Joan Creemers – a senior business consultant at the Dutch financial services specialist – explained the depth of the approach.  

“The team consists of 21 people in total. The role of PD is often flattened to just configuring products. This is certainly not the case. The role is incredibly diverse: it involves collecting requirements, elaborating them into a functional design, tuning, having them validated and then working out how you want to implement this technically in Axon.”

“After that comes the furnishing work. The whole process is sometimes broader than Axon itself. You need to explore the ‘question’ behind the ‘question’.” 

According to Veerle, a solid PD team is crucial: “If you don't have a well-functioning PD team, you simply cannot launch products. You want to put an insurance product on the market as quickly as possible, with the highest possible quality.” 

Joan supports this statement: “Ultimately you want to make the product and the processes as user-friendly as possible for the customer. Good cooperation and communication within the team and with the mission team lead, test team and other IT departments is very important.”

An extra step for each other

Both Veerle and Joan are very enthusiastic about the collaboration that began in June 2019 –when it was still possible to work together physically. Veerle explains: “Personally, I think that you can work together better if you have physical contact. Especially in the beginning, when building the relationship.” 

“Some of the ITDS team started in Covid-19 times. That is also going very well. That shows the team’s flexibility. If you like working with someone, you go the extra mile for each other. And that works both ways. The PD team leader Herman Montoisy also played an important role in this.” 

Joan added: “Certainly, we received a lot of trust and responsibility from Herman right from the start. As a result, even as external employees we had a good connection with the team. The ITDS team at Belfius Insurance consists of a healthy mix of juniors and experienced consultants. The juniors start with the design work and the slightly simpler analyses. The experienced consultants spar with the business and mission team leads and train the juniors.”

“The ITDS consultants are one team with us, they think along with us.”
– Veerle Josson, Mission Team Lead at Belfius Insurance 

“By working together in this way, the knowledge spreads to each individual and we ensure efficient collaboration with other teams.” 

Veerle: “I personally think it is very important that the junior consultants are guided in their growth by the experienced consultants. It’s nice to see how they develop. They are becoming well versed with the system, ask better questions and work more independently.” 

An extra challenge

Keylane Axon is an insurance package that has been developed for the Dutch market, which poses challenges to standard implementation in Belgium – where significant differences exist. 

Joan explained: “The processes are not only more complex in Belgium, but also differ legally to those in the Netherlands. In Belgium, for example, it is mandatory to take out civil liability for, among other things, car insurance for a full year with a company. While in the Netherlands you can change insurer at any time.” 

“And they don't have a national database in Belgium that compares with RDW in the Netherlands. Various documents must be requested from various institutions in order to take out insurance, which makes the Belgian insurance process not only different, but also more complex.”

Not all business expectations are achievable in the system – a reality that Veerle has learned to accept. “Of course this can happen, so it’s important to focus on what’s possible – even if, for instance, an incident has been submitted and the technical solution is very complex.” 

“Working together with the business is key, to critically examine what adjustments are necessary, what alternatives there are and, for example, whether it is user-friendly for the customer. The ITDS team is very good at thinking through the process.” 

Future proof products

Beyond setup and maintenance, ‘future-proofing’ requires meticulous documentation. Joan explained: “We know from experience that it is very important to describe what you do and why you have implemented it in a certain way. It is important that the functional design is as clear as possible and that the technical solution connects to this as efficiently and effectively as possible.” 

“This ensures that all colleagues within the Product Design team can understand what has happened, and it’s the only way to make all products future-proof. Not only you, but everyone in the team must understand what it says.” 

Veerle concludes: “We have really made progress on efficiency thanks to the expansion of the PD team. A great deal of effort is put into quality and internal training. The way we do that now has really evolved – thanks in part to the support of ITDS consultants.”