Case Studies

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Berkshire and Guardian Life


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The Challenge

Berkshire’s challenge was how to leverage the web as its primary marketing and enrollment channel, grow the business, and roll out new products such as “buy ups” that could gain traction in a fiercely competitive market. This would help it meet is overarching objective of measurably improving its competitive positioning in the Multi-Life DI market.

They needed an enrollment system flexible enough to accommodate different industries and employer demographics, as well as discrete groups of employees within its target companies. Specific objectives included:

  • Streamlining the case setup process, using web services to swiftly create product offers, pricing schedules, contact data and user profiles.
  • Improving case management and statistical reporting, including data export and review protocols, microsite assignments and product lifecycle management.
  • Facilitating web content management and site administration, including support for microsite registration and authentication, workflow configuration and dynamic content dissemination across microsites.
  • Enhancing Berkshire Life’s brand through the delivery of persuasive educational content and value-added tools such as cost calculators and consumer tools.
  • Supporting online enrollment including electronic billing, eSignatures and all aspects of the application submission, review and approval process.

The Solution

To gain a deep understanding of Berkshire’s business drivers, Bridgeline met with key stakeholders, including several end-users of its products. Bridgeline solutions architects also met IT stakeholders to identify baseline requirements and critical touch points for the enrollment system. Using clickable prototypes, Bridgeline’s designers conducted extensive usability testing based on six distinct employee personas, the results of which informed the user interface design and site functionality.

Bridgeline developed Berkshire’s new enrollment system using its flagship iAPPS Content Manager. Using service level APIs built into the iAPPS Framework, the new system employs web services between the online applications and Berkshire’s legacy technology environment, including its back-office mainframe and imaging systems. This created a system that was simple to use and maintain, easy to customize, and capable of supporting the delivery of flexible, targeted, and conversion-oriented DI educational content.

iAPPS Content Manager allows Berkshire’s business users to quickly create a custom microsite portal for each new client, built to address specific needs, such as custom branding with logos and colors, multiple riders and coverage amounts, and even varying interfaces for different types of employees, such as salaried or hourly workers. New “cases” are easily created from XML participant and offer data to allow an unified interface for each client company’s employees. The system is full-service, from creating the first password to providing employee education, offer information, enrollment materials and allowing employees to opt for direct billing or payroll deductions.

The Results

In the first two months of operation, Berkshire completed a voluntary case with greater than 35% participation, a higher level than previously achieved. In addition, Berkshire accomplished an industry first – the successful sale of a Guaranteed Standard Issue (GSI) DI product with buy-up through the online enrollment system. Since the system’s debut in 2009, Berkshire has created dozens of sites that have served thousands of plan participants.

Interactive widgets developed by Bridgeline’s application developers educate employees on the benefits of Multi-Life DI. Bridgeline also created online calculators to assist employees in determining how much insurance they would need to replace lost income due to a short- or long-term disability. The system validates and transmits encrypted employee information that enables Berkshire/Guardian to generate multiple individual and supplemental offers for each employee, and even creates secure PDF applications from individuals’ form data, allowing Berkshire to better serve its client companies and their end users.

Administrators of the system are now able to quickly and easily upload case census data and create new, individually branded customer enrollment sites without the need for IT intervention. Berkshire/Guardian continues to add features to their online system and successfully showcases its demo enrollment site to independent brokers as a sales tool.