MetLife’s agile approach is seeing products rapidly evolve in line with client and adviser needs. 

What sort of reaction have you had to the new MetLife Protect product?

We launched MetLife Protect in August and from the beginning we have been getting really good first-hand feedback from advisers about things that are working and things that need fine tuning. We are still in the early phase where we have the time to go into the research houses and research portals to critically assess the product.

What do you do with adviser feedback and any internal assessments?

Being a smaller team, we are able to make some very quick decisions based on adviser feedback and employ a really responsive, agile way of approaching changes to the product. For most life companies, the biggest cause of delay to product maintenance and upgrades is not recognising the need to change the product and PDS, but the time and cost of upgrading the supporting IT infrastructure. At MetLife we have established a dedicated IT systems delivery team, that operates on a fortnightly release cycle.

How is this approach different?

Our teams now use an agile methodology. This means that once we’ve finalised and prioritised the changes we need to make, our teams work in two-week sprints to ensure the changes are implemented quickly. Once any changes have been made, the philosophy is to continue to gather adviser feedback to ensure that the changes have hit the mark.

How does this work with MetLife Protect’s modular approach?

Many life insurers design their products so that the majority of the benefits and features and benefits are packaged into one product. As a consequence, making any change means having to look at a myriad of the flow-on impacts.

But with the MetLife modular structure, where the base product contains just the core product elements, and modules can be added on, if you realise that there is a module that needs to be improved in order to compete in the market, then you’re only working on that module.

It sounds like a really interesting and collaborative way of working.

It definitely is. We encourage the sales team to actively give us feedback which really helps us understand what our advisers are looking for and what our customers are looking for. This, in turn, allows us to deliver a product with ever-increasing value.

It must also improve the relationship MetLife has with their advisers.

Absolutely. The advisers can see that we are really listening to the feedback and we are making changes based on that feedback. There’s nothing worse than providing feedback that goes nowhere. The agile approach is a more fulfilling experience in terms of growing our relationship with advisers ­­– the adviser can see that we’re taking them seriously and making changes that are aligning with their views and the views of their clients.