Western National Case Study

19.10.19 11:07 PM Comment(s) By Jordan

Western National is a niche Commercial Insurer specialising in providing total solutions to the small to medium size commercial and business market in both South Africa and Namibia.


Name: WesternNational
Location: Cape Town
Industry: Insurance
Size: 350+
Website: http://www.westnat.com/Western National is a niche Commercial Insurer specialising in providing total solutions to the small to medium size commercial and business market in both South Africa and Namibia. Our focus on the Commercial market, our effective team of highly skilled staff, our flexibility, our quality products and exceptional claim services, our intermediaries are able to provide their clients with the best solutions available in the market.

What problem is the customer facing?

Western National deal with numerous processes in their organisation based around short term insurance needs. The processes involve dealing with numerous brokers who submit “tickets” to Western National to administer. Western National were dealing with this process through email, as such tickets were logged as an email received. Due to the nature of the business Western National had a number of SLA’s that they needed to achieve in terms of response time and ticket completion for both Underwriting and Claims.

Western were unable to:

  1. Track tickets through the process and understand what status a ticket sat in.
  2. Understand ticket allocation per staff member
  3. Understand metrics around meeting the SLAs
  4. When allocating ticket they had no indication of where the ticket was logged and for whom
  5. Western were unable to allocate subtasks and assign them to individuals
  6. They were unable to process approval rules for payments based on criteria of the ticket

What have they done to resolve the issue ?

Western National Attempted to build a cloud solution on Azure, but found it costly and too slow for their purposes, and development on Azure took too long, development turnaround times were too slow

What other products/services where they currently using?

Western had started their journey on Office365 and were dabbling in Azure as well with limited success due to performance issues.

How did they find GTconsult?

Word of mouth, trial and error with service providers – Settled on GT

Why did they go with GTconsult Services/Solution?

Preferred solution – Taking base on SharePoint and Extending existing frameworks to limit the turn around time, time used ith board to switch service providers.

Enabled By GTconsult

Western National decided to leverage the power of the GTconsult Workbenches, on Office 365. The solutions were an amalgamation of SharePoint Online for management of data and presentations of the queues, a custom Javascript HTML5 framework underpinned by jQuery and REST API to generate a highly responsive, performance oriented application that worked on both desktop and mobile and benefiting from Gtconsult’s approach to deliver data with as few screen refreshes as possible through AJAX and the Rest API.

Three solutions were built, one to manage Underwriting tickets, one to manage claims and a third to track sales staff metrics and actions. The solution were built with the following functionality:

Claims and Underwriting

  1. Responsive Application Framework using jQuery, RestAPI and a number of jQuery plugins
  2. Security driven navigation and functions for different roles in the process
  3. The ability to capture tickets into the workbenches either manually or via email.
  4. Auto-assign tickets based on user presence and maximum ticket per user allocation rules.
  5. Client notifications of process, ticket numbers and status changes
  6. Track ticket and user history
  7. Assign SLA based on ticket types
  8. Auto assign and manually assign subtasks for tickets
  9. Track and push notifications for internal feedback, ticket allocation and client feedback
  10. Status tracking and SLA tracking
  11. Search for tickets
  12. Matching Similar and Related tickets
  13. Upload documentation against a client
  14. Automatically generate client folder information into a centralised repository
  15. Archiving of data
  16. Processes to track information awaiting and to remind agents of information on given dates
  17. Upload bulk data from CSV
  18. Bulk Assign tickets and tasks to users
  19. Provide real-time drill down reports for managers to monitor SLA, task allocation, Age analysis and user metrics
  20. TV dashboards for teams to self-monitor metrics

Sales Workbench

  1. Track sales tasks, to do lists and appointments
  2. Track clients Claims and Underwriting tickets
  3. Manage contacts
  4. Manage quotes

The email component was managed through ThinkAutomation that brought back the ability to “Email to a list” in SharePoint as well as provide automated feedback to clients via mail, ticket routing and document upload.

The team provided a Workbench solution which comprised of our REST API based responsive framework for SharePoint. Once complete WN chose to engage in A-Team contract to build out all the rest of their workbenches and support their installation.


1 Month

Team Used:

JavaScript developers, Sharepoint Gurus and ThinkAutomation Devs

Issues Faced:

Limits on SharePoint Lists needed to be carefully negotiated, indexes carefully thought through and filtering carefully managed. The 5000 item limit on SharePoint lists cause a number of initial issues in the build but were carefully managed to promote better filtering possibilities.

Caching of data and refreshes – With the minimal download strategy of SharePoint and Office 365 we found roll out of version to be problematic due to historic libraries being cached. This was mostly prevalent in Chrome which was the preferred browser used by the client.

This was mitigated through no-cache rules which obviously have a minor performance impact on first load of the site.

Return On Investment (ROI).

Management Reporting – full visibility and opportunity to react and shift resources to address problem areas. Move teams proactively and reactively. No increase in staff numbers – work coming in has gone up by 21%, able to react to calls so much faster.

Automate emails have made massive difference with client, SLAs, the emails no longer needed to be typed by agents but are instantly generated by the solution resulting in massive time savings

Thoughts on GT

Western strives to be a forward-thinking company embracing new technologies as much as possible to give us a competitive edge within the industry. As such we try to partner with service providers that enable us to achieve these goals. In GT Consult we found a partner that can help us achieve these goals. GT Consult always provides excellent customer service and is very end user focussed resulting in solutions that are easy to use and quick to adopt. Their knowledge of Sharepoint, Office365 product suite and Azure have been invaluable to Western achieving our goals through technology. It’s all about making technology work for us.

Thoughts on the solution

The solutions created by GT Consult exactly addressed the original business needs discussed when we started the journey to create these custom workbenches. The workbenches offer a fast, stable and cost effective solution to address a real business need. The ability to roll out new features in quick time adds the flexibility and scalability required to stay ahead of the business needs. User adoption is relatively easy due to the heavy focus on building in a good user experience. The reporting provided by the solutions give management the correct tools to make decisions and manage productivity in real time.

– Waldo Brand |  Western Union

GTconsult Team Quotes

Working with a forward thinking team like Western makes it easy to craft solutions. The team understand some of the ground breaking work required to achieve their requirements, yet always pushed the GTconsult team to keep pushing for enhancements and try new techniques. Some of the work was completely proof of concept that resulted in some of the greatest successes.

The toolsets used allowed for rapid development with GTconsult’s strong JS and REST API knowledge resulted in a product we are proud to label as ours, responsive, performance oriented and easy to use all built on Office 365.

– Craig Tarr | Chief Operating Officer

Get into contact and lets enable productivity together


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