Posted on 09/07/2020
New compliance requirements from regulators – and a rapidly approaching deadline – prompted the Belgian branch of insurance firm Baloise to seek a flexible, specialized partner capable of digitally transforming customer onboarding workflows, with short and long-term ambitions. The Harmoney team was up to the challenge – and more.
Immediate results, a future-focused outlook
“This project started two years ago when additional requirements were passed down from the National Bank of Belgium – our regulator,” begins Wim Kinnet, managing director at Baloise Belgium. “These updated rules meant completely revising the way we onboard our clients, with retroactive effects.”
As a result, Baloise faced the daunting task of remediating hundreds of thousands of customers in the short term, with a deadline a few months away. “But we also had a long-term ambition: we wanted to continuously ensure that our onboarding and compliance workflows are as stringent, complete, accurate and efficient as possible,” adds Joris D’Huyvetter, responsible for Product Management Life.
“That’s how I was introduced to Harmoney,” Joris continues. “They were already known in the international banking industry for this unique specialism, which provided additional assurance to the regulator.”
Flexibility in the face of changing demands
The time constraints placed on the remediation phase of the project meant configuring only the most urgently needed functionalities of the Harmoney platform.
“The solution already existed,” explains Wim, “but the Harmoney team had to rethink it a little bit to meet our needs. They stripped it all the way down to exactly what we needed very swiftly. I was impressed with the no-nonsense meetings we had from the very start. We knew exactly what to expect from each other.”
During the initial phase, Baloise sent letters directly to 240,000 customers to request additional KYC information, and a very large number of a customers responded through the secure, white-label Harmoney platform – an impressive response rate.
“The Harmoney team was really flexible,” Joris asserts. “Two months after we started the project, we completely changed the entire concept. Another partner would have refused to adapt their software to the new requirements, but Harmoney was willing to think alongside us to optimize processes from our perspective.”
“And even in the face of these changes, we met every deadline,” Wim adds.
The future of both KYC and customer journeys is digital
Today, the second phase of the project is in full swing, and the goal is to make the benefits of digitalized KYC and onboarding processes even more tangible for the broker.
“Baloise brokers work with the Harmoney platform to handle two processes: identity verification and individual risk assessments of customers,” Joris continues. “By answering a complex list of queries and applying a risk model, the platform assigns a risk profile to each client, leading either to acceptance or rejection. But, of course, there is a bit of a learning curve for the brokers, who have to adapt to a new tool.
“In the near future, they will be able to maintain rich, digital relationships with clients through the Harmoney platform, and we’re working to boost usability and enhance both the broker and the client experience. Plus, if the broker itself uses the Harmoney platform to fulfill its own AML obligations, they only have to do the work once. That’s the advantage of an ecosystem-wide tool like this.”
Complete data, watertight processes
Although the solution is still new, Wim and Joris have already noticed significant data quality benefits.
“Now that customer information is well-structured in a centralized, accessible database, everything is linked together and there are no loose ends or missing pieces,” Joris says
Wim: “We know we have everything we need to onboard clients, and that the process is watertight. I am convinced that this fact will boost our position in the market.”
Compliance has full transparency, operations personnel can perform quarterly audits on data entered by the brokers, the internal audit team is really pleased. In the end, our final aim is to do more business by offering the best solution combined with the deepest expertise.”
Gaining a long-term strategic partner
From the very beginning of Baloise’s relationship with Harmoney, Wim and Joris weren’t looking for an IT service provider, but a true strategic partner in onboarding and compliance.
“We could have developed a technical solution in house – but it would have taken much more time and knowledge build-up. That wasn’t our goal at all,” stresses Wim.
“Harmoney has IT expertise, knowledge of the laws, invaluable contacts – they were discussing emerging concepts that were even relatively new to us. They are a true sounding board.
“I’ve worked with lots of IT providers, I’ve gotten lots of promises, and I’ve been let down. With Harmoney, it was the contrary.”