Case Study

Transforming Life Insurance with Bestow's Journey to Operational Excellence

How Bestow Leveraged Astro to Overcome Operational Challenges, Accelerate Developer Productivity, and Transform the Life Insurance Landscape

In the fast evolving landscape of the insurance industry, Bestow stands out for its innovative approach to simplifying life insurance for carriers. Recognizing the cumbersome process involved in traditional life insurance applications like lab requirements and long waiting periods for results which often deter customers, Bestow leveraged technology to offer an automated customer experience.

By allowing customers to bypass these barriers through electronic applications that use pharmacy and health records as proxies, Bestow significantly reduced the approval time for policies from weeks to minutes, establishing itself as a leader in customer-centric insurance services.

Operational Challenges: Navigating Early Stage Hurdles

Bestow leveraged Apache Airflow to play a pivotal role in managing data workflows, essential for Bestow’s innovative approach to insurance. By integrating Airflow from the outset, Bestow aimed to manage data more effectively, using existing health and pharmacy records to evaluate insurance applications.

This approach not only promised to bypass the time-consuming lab tests traditionally required for life insurance applications but also to accelerate the decision-making process.

Bestow initially faced operational hurdles in automating data processes crucial for evaluating insurance applications. When initially utilizing Google Cloud Composer for data orchestration, Bestow encountered significant obstacles. Challenges included complexities in configuring and launching new workflows, difficulties in effectively sizing computing resources, and the high operational costs associated with the platform.

These issues not only strained Bestow’s operational budget but also impeded the agility needed to scale services efficiently, affecting the company’s ability to rapidly respond to increasing customer demand.

Astronomer helped us execute this delicate move of a critical customer feature with zero downtime. Since the move, we’ve seen an incredible increase in our team efficiency. The benefits have been obvious.

Peter EliasonPeter Eliason, VP of Data and Analytics at Bestow

Strategic Solution: The Shift to Astro

The move to Astro marked a turning point for Bestow. The migration was carefully executed, taking into consideration the intricacies of the jobs and the overarching goal of minimizing disruptions.

The team approached the migration in a granular fashion to mitigate risks and ensure that no critical processes were broken during the transition. VP of Data and Analytics at Bestow, Peter Eliason stated, “Migrating in an orderly, segmented manner was important. Once everything was moved over to Astro, operations became more efficient and effective.”

Astronomer’s robust automation capabilities played a crucial role in Bestow’s ability to scale operations without proportionally increasing its team size. By automating routine and complex data workflows, Bestow could continuously refine and expand its services to meet the growing demands of its clients.

This automation extended beyond simple task execution to include sophisticated scheduling, monitoring, and alerting systems that ensured high reliability and timely delivery of data-driven insights and services to clients.

Peter stated “Astronomer helped us execute this delicate move of a critical customer feature with zero downtime. Since the move, we’ve seen an incredible increase in our team efficiency. The benefits have been obvious.”

Bestow significantly boosted its operational productivity and service delivery, thanks to Astro’s automation and data orchestration capabilities. This enabled Bestow to scale operations, transforming and delivering data to clients, without expanding the team. Astro’s ability to adjust scheduling and respond to specific events enhanced Bestow’s automation-driven approach to life insurance processing.

Peter reflected on the accelerated developer productivity that Bestow has been able to achieve on Astro: ” Our data team is about half of what it was historically, yet I would say the functionality,value, and productivity we’re seeing from our data environment is double, if not more, than what it was previously.”

Peter noted the impact of these features: “It’s been helpful to continue to support this vision of automation that Bestow is built on and Astro fits into that mentality.” This adaptability allowed Bestow to extend its platform to more clients with a smaller team, demonstrating a remarkable level of scalability.

”We’ve been able to persevere and continue to deploy Astro to additional clients, with a smaller team. We’ve been able to continue to maintain what I believe is a pretty impressive level of productivity,” Peter added.

The adoption of Astro enabled a more agile and flexible management of data workflows. This came from the platform’s ability to integrate seamlessly with Bestow’s existing systems and adapt quickly to new requirements as they arose.

The adaptability provided by Astro meant that Bestow was not just keeping pace with its operational needs but was also able to innovate and respond more swiftly to client demands. This has been critical in reinforcing Bestow’s commitment to delivering superior insurance solutions.

As leaders of the Apache Airflow project, the Astronomer team has uniquely addressed our Airflow questions and issues.

Peter EliasonPeter Eliason, VP of Data and Analytics at Bestow

Strategic Support and Cost Efficiency

Astronomer’s support model and efficient infrastructure further amplified the value Bestow derived from the platform. “The support model has been really fantastic,” Peter stated. The personalized assistance, ongoing support for Airflow, and troubleshooting support from Astronomer’s support team enabled a smooth transition and ongoing optimization of Bestow’s data operations.

”As leaders of the Apache Airflow project, the Astronomer team has uniquely addressed our Airflow questions and issues,” Peter elaborated. This level of support, coupled with the platform’s efficiency gains, made Astronomer a highly strategic asset for Bestow, especially during a period of internal restructuring.

Conclusion: Setting New Standards in Operational Excellence

Bestow’s strategic migration to Astro from Google Composer encapsulates a transformative journey towards operational excellence in the insurance industry. By overcoming initial challenges and leveraging the right data engineering tools, Bestow has not only streamlined its processes but also redefined what it means to deliver rapid, reliable, and customer-centric insurance solutions.

Looking forward, Bestow is poised to further capitalize on Astro for data operations, focusing on advancing its MLOps capabilities.


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