HanseMerkur is a Hamburg-based insurance group with more than 130 years of experience in private health insurance, its main business segment. The company, which is also Germany's third-largest travel insurer, offers a full range of life, casualty, property, accident and motor insurance. With gross premiums written of 671 Million EUROs in 2005, HanseMerkur's investment portfolio registered at around 3 billion EUROs in 2005.
HanseMerkur set a goal to dramatically improve its web presence and to increase the amount of information available online to prospective customers. The company envisioned a site populated with marketing content in mixed formats like HTML, various graphics, and pdf. Visitors to the site would interact with online content including contracts, job applications and downloadable forms. Hence, a content management system (CMS) capable of managing its 350+ pages of content was high on the list of desired capabilities and features.
After evaluating a number of solutions, HanseMerkur decided an open source portal would work best as a service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework. HanseMerkur then quickly chose Liferay Portal as the best candidate to provide a foundation for this enterprise-wide SOA. Liferay's ease of use, scalable CMS and high degree of functionality compared to that of the other portal offerings further solidified the company's decision.
Moreover, HanseMerkur was impressed with the Liferay consulting team's vision and depth of knowledge. HanseMerkur traveled to the Cebit conference specifically to meet with Liferay representatives, after which a proof of concept was delivered. As Liferay provided further ideas and vision for the portal's potential, the initial effort grew into a full collaborative development and integration engagement that leveraged personnel from both HanseMerkur and Liferay's German and U.S. teams.
Despite a detailed yet oft-changing list of specifications, the HanseMerkur site was successfully delivered under tight deadlines. The end result was a portal that exceeded the client's original vision and showcases the fruits of its collaboration with liferay. Besides the strong, scalable content management capabilities demanded, the portal also delivers added site functionality and enhanced marketing potential through a search engine optimization (SEO) feature that HanseMerkur sponsored and which was immediately added to Liferay's 4.2 release.
Liferay Portal continues to provide a framework for further enterprise integration throughout the HanseMerkur organization. Following the first successful team effort and the establishment of a strong working relationship, Liferay worked with HanseMerkur on new development and enhancements, including the streamlining of HanseMerkur's back-end processes to bolster the company's competitive edge in the insurance marketplace.
Notable benefits of using Liferay Portal have included:
- Scalability – Liferay Portal's CMS easily manages HanseMerkur's 350+ pages of mixed content. Liferay also allows HanseMerkur to incrementally add hardware to comfortably scale the site in complexity and size.
- Enhanced marketing potential – search engine optimization (seo) allows the site to automatically and dynamically optimize its visibility on leading web search engines, keeping the HanseMerkur brand at the forefront of consumer minds.
- Improved site functionality – the portal acts as an aggregator of services and allows the end-user to complete an insurance policy via the website.