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2014 Innovation Awards: XL GAPS Mobile Field App

XL Group P.L.C.

2014 Innovation Awards: XL GAPS Mobile Field App


When creating the XL GAPS Mobile Field App, necessity was indeed the mother of invention.

Tim Heinze, Hartford, Conn.-based managing director senior vice president and head of XL Group P.L.C.'s global asset protection services unit, said the impetus for the new mobile-enabled risk engineering platform was the need for better data collection and customer service in the field.

Mr. Heinze, who has led the unit since it was created in 2007 when XL Group acquired the loss prevention consulting service of Swiss Re Ltd., said that while the field tools that underwriters use in evaluating risk have improved steadily in the past few decades, the advent of mobile technology convinced him there was a chance to vastly improve on-site risk analysis and collaboration with clients.

“I have been thinking about this for a long time,” he said. “We've had a couple iterations of tools, but handheld technology has come so far.”

Accordingly, Mr. Heinze approached XL's Stamford, Conn.-based technology innovation team, which is tasked with improving XL's customer and colleague experience. The technology team subsequently created the mobile platform alongside Teaneck, N.J.-based technology infrastructure consultant Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. and received guidance from risk engineers and underwriters, the people who would use the tool the most, Mr. Heinze said.

“It really was field people that developed this tool alongside the technology team,” he said.

Launched in September 2013, the XL GAPS Mobile Field App runs currently on iPad only and leverages many of the tablet's abilities, including cameras, voice recognition and handwriting recognition, to help users remotely access, capture, and analyze data. Freed from carrying extra equipment and performing onerous paperwork onsite, XL's engineers and underwriters can spend more time listening to and interacting with clients, Mr. Heinze said.

“Now when a person goes out to do a survey, all they do is sign on and it will automatically download their work form, customer information and any reference materials might they need such as National Fire Protection Association guidelines,” Mr. Heinze said. “It's all at their fingertips.”

The app also automatically enters data from fire pump tests and quickly produces a graph that can show whether a pump is performing to expectations. “Before, we had to go home, crunch the numbers and wait days for the report,” he said. “Now, we do it all on-site.”

The app is also available to clients on a subscription basis, Mr. Heinze said, noting that the platform was designed for flexibility and to interact with XL's online customer-facing portal, MyAnalysis.

“If we continue to put this in the hands of people in the field and management puts in a framework where new ideas can be heard, then the product will continue to evolve,” he said. “We also want customer input and have a process set up to incorporate that feedback. That's where this will get exciting.”

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