Swiss Life’s Journey with Elastic
Swiss Life is a major player in insurance and wealth management. On the French market, its position as a private insurer is renowned. Swiss Life offers comprehensive advice to individuals and corporations, plus a broad range of products and services such as life insurance, private banking, financial management, health and disability, and property and casualty insurance. Swiss Life France supports its customers throughout their lives, building a lasting relationship thanks to personalized advice and provides them with tailored solutions to help them face a longer self-determined life.
A few years ago, Swiss Life France embarked on a company-wide strategic project — Digital Foundation — to re-architect and digitize its system architecture across all of its web and mobile-enabled portals and applications. The Vision 360 project is part of this endeavour and deals with customer information. With over ten million customer records accessed with divergent means and formats, it was becoming increasingly difficult to make data consistently accessible to different audiences including private and business clients, sales people, insurance brokers, and customer service representatives. The access to this centralized information was so to say “siloed.”
To streamline operations and homogenise how this information was accessed, Swiss Life France chose Elasticsearch for indexing and publishing its customer data. “We developed an architectural vision for our new customer information access system, mapping it to the current and future requirements of digitalization, and based on evaluating the solutions available on the market, we selected Elasticsearch to be the core of our new architecture,” said Chief Enterprise Architect Christian Phan-Trong.
A key requirement for the Vision 360 project was support for real-time queries across customer records, contract data, market segmentation data, and pension and insurance scoring information. “Elasticsearch’s flexibility makes it easy to merge different data sets together and derive cross-source insights in real-time,” says Phan-Trong.
To implement this, Elasticsearch gathers all the customer data in one place and acts as the single point of exposure for all kind of customers through the MySwissLife customer website and mobile application. So for all customers who have access to the portal, it is critical that the system is able to look up customer and contract information in an eye blink, while providing a guarantee that the information is propagated to the index in less than 10 seconds after any record has been updated in the source systems. “Speed and reliability are therefore critical. Elasticsearch takes it all in its stride, indexing the data in real time,” stated Phan-Trong.
In addition to the customer portal, Elasticsearch is also embedded in a sales portal and used by sales people and brokers searching for customer data. Swiss Life implemented "visibility restrictions" whereby only sales people can access and view data for their own territory.
To implement this Swiss Life France used Elastic's filtering capabilities, which allow the control of access to sensitive and certain customer data. In total, approximately 23 million documents are searchable across two indices, one client-oriented and the other contract-oriented. The documents have complex structures with a large number of fields and substructures inside them.
According to PhanTrong, "access to data is much quicker thanks to Elasticsearch, which means the user applications are now much more responsive, and with Marvel, Elastic's monitoring plugin, we are able to monitor our Elasticsearch clusters. With the core customer data in Elasticsearch and Swiss Life's customers, employees, and partners relying on the customer portal to access their information, "Elastic's subscription support is critical for Swiss Life," says Phan-Trong.
He furthermore confirms that the support will be even more important as they extend their architecture. Today, Elasticsearch manages structured data from the backend; however, "in the future we are planning to extend Elasticsearch to manage unstructured data created by customers, such as emails and other documents, to expand the amount and scope of the customer data in Vision 360 and give users access to an even broader database," concludes Phan-Trong.