Atlas Insurance

With Salesforce, we can focus our efforts on what truly adds value to the customer experience”

Ian-Edward Stafrace | Chief Strategy Officer at Atlas

Atlas Insurance drives simplicity for its customers and partners with Salesforce

For most people and businesses, insurance is a crucial safety net – the guarantee of protection when things go wrong. For the citizens and organisations on the island of Malta, Atlas Insurance has been the go-to insurance partner for over 100 years.

But it takes more than domain expertise to protect a nation against an entire century of disruptive events. The secret to real longevity is the agility and foresight to adapt and evolve with a changing world. Fortunately, Atlas is no stranger to self re-invention – its transformation from an insurance agent to a fully fledged insurer when Malta joined the European Union is just one recent example.

“Atlas is the insurer you come to if you want to protect against complex risks and get great service – for customers and brokers,” explained Ian-Edward Stafrace, Chief Strategy Officer at Atlas.

One of the most significant changes Atlas has needed to respond to is the way a rapidly digitising society has re-written customer expectations. As the insurer’s customers and partners became more digitally-oriented, the Atlas team realised the next phase of evolution needed to complement Atlas’ expertise with a digital-first approach.

A streamlined, flexible digital-first approach could only be taken with the adoption of an agile, futureproof, cloud-based digital platform: which is where the Salesforce Industries for Insurance came in.

“We needed a future-focused solution that not only would enable us to replace our legacy systems, but would also keep evolving as we moved forward,” said Stafrace. “The Salesforce Platform fit all our criteria.”


Reimagining a legacy of complexity

A key part of Atlas’ ability to adapt and grow was founded on its in-house, purpose-built legacy systems. Over the years, their development team had pioneered more and more systems to handle the company’s rising customer and operational needs.

But this growing infrastructure came at a cost: new solutions were typically taking over two years to deploy, which also meant the team couldn’t learn and test iteratively. The team also spent significant time maintaining Atlas’ on-premises infrastructure and custom coded solutions.

“Over time, we accrued technical debt that slowed the pace of evolution when we most needed it to speed up,” said Straface.

Replacing this infrastructure with Salesforce’s single, unified platform would free up Atlas’s development team to spend less time and energy on maintaining legacy systems and internal processes and more time and energy on innovating to improve its customer experience.

But this wouldn’t be sufficient for Atlas to achieve its ultimate ambition: to continuously strengthen its already leading customer experience – and Net Promoter Score – in Malta as customer expectations rapidly evolve. Atlas needed to go beyond mere technology replacement to create a truly digital-first mindset within the business.

Stafrace:“We needed to adopt agility across the business – in terms of software, hardware and culture.”

Adopting a digital-first mindset

This wasn’t just a tech transformation, it was a business transformation. Stafrace’s challenge was to help Atlas’ employees reimagine the art of the possible. In some cases, this meant revamping processes that had been used in the same way for decades. The Salesforce Platform made this possible.

“We wanted to disseminate the agility mindset everywhere,” explained Stafrace. “we needed staff to adopt concepts like servant leadership over command and control.”

Atlas set and met increasingly ambitious goals, deliberately incentivising staff with shared objectives that required them to work outside of their operational silos. And teams across the business made rapid deployments and iterative improvements across products such as home and motor insurance, overseen by the board’s technology oversight committee and supported by the Salesforce team.

“The Salesforce team flew into Malta every week, helping us learn first how to deploy and then how to continue our transformation independently. Since we started work with Salesforce in December 2019, we’re now 95% autonomous in how we manage our new infrastructure and ongoing transformation,” said Stafrace.

Power to the people through self-serve

To deliver the rapid, flexible and comprehensive customer service it was aiming for, Atlas needed a cloud-based solution with omnichannel capability that could support the entire policy lifecycle.

“We wanted an end to end insurance solution that simplified the customer journey and provided processing all the way through to our remaining legacy systems without manual input,” said Stafrace. “Salesforce Industries for Insurance (formerly Vlocity) and Salesforce’s Platform capabilities made that possible.”

One of Atlas’ challenges was addressing simpler risks as effectively as the gnarly, complicated ones it had become known for solving. As customer purchases and interactions increasingly moved online, Atlas launched a completely digital quote and buy self-service offering.

With Salesforce Industries, Atlas could use external data enrichment to reduce the questions underwriters needed to ask while pre-filling data for the customer wherever possible. “By reducing the process’ reliance on human input, customers enjoyed a simpler and faster journey. At the same time, our people spend less time on admin and more time providing real value to our customers.”

Simplifying the process plumbing

Part of that value lay in rolling out better offerings for customers through smoother and faster internal operations.

By adopting the full Salesforce Platform suite, Atlas could access Salesforce’s ecosystem of third-party apps complementing the industry-specific solutions with wider innovations and technologies.

For example, Atlas needed to enhance its document generation process – using Salesforce partner, Smart Communications, it had a Proof of Concept within a month that quickly went into production.

“By running these solutions through Salesforce and its partners, implementation became so much faster than if we had fragmented systems – there’s no need to code and maintain cumbersome integrations and reconciliations.”

Internal benefits reap external rewards

This newfound agility meant Atlas could roll out new products for customers and brokers at pace and scale.

Within four months, the Atlas team had deployed an online home insurance and buildings policy process from scratch. Three months after that, Atlas launched its online motor insurance offering.

“We went from no online motor solution to the best in Malta,” said Stafrace. “In fact, now our partners wish to embed our processes into their systems. The customer journey and processing is so simple, they can sell new products with minimal training.”

Atlas’ evolution is relentless. It's scaling more products and scenarios it can cover and rolling out new features and enhancements on a monthly basis – all prioritised according to business and customer needs. “We can configure new products so much faster. Our multi channel approach means we can serve customers where they’re best suited – from writing business directly online, to live chat, or serving over the counter at our branches.”

Atlas is just getting started

As Atlas continues to scale, Ian’s confident there are more benefits to come. Its partners have taken note, seeking new opportunities to cross and up-sell into new markets.

“We’re building stronger relationships with our broker partners,” explained Stafrace. “We’re redesigning and simplifying most of our customer journeys to be digital-first, and our partners want to be part of that journey.”

In two years, Stafrace wants as much as 90% of Atlas’ sales to flow through Salesforce followed closely by claims transactions. And as the insurer starts exploring what’s possible with Financial Services Cloud and Marketing Cloud, Stafrace’s optimistic about the next phase of Atlas’ evolution and growth.

“We’re pioneering a new customer experience – a straightforward digital approach for employees, intermediaries and partners who meet customers in a multitude of channels.”

“With Salesforce, we can focus our efforts on what truly adds value to the customer experience and makes us unique, deploying new services faster than ever.“


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