The Federal and State Government Employees' Retirement Fund (Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder, VBL), founded in 1929, insures and provides for more than 4.4 million public sector employees and 1.3 million pensioners nationwide. Its benefits include old-age, reduced earning capacity and survivors' pensions as part of the compulsory insurance provided for under collective bargaining law, as well as insurance products on a voluntary basis for additional funded pension provision.
With a membership of this size, VBL recognized the need for a platform to digitize its business processes at an early stage, as both the application for or amendment of benefits by members and the processing and communication by VBL took place exclusively in writing (largely by post). A circumstance that required a high number of personnel and resulted in enormously long processing times. There was also a fundamental potential for error at all times due to the manual processing.
After an intensive provider research, the VBL commissioned SITEFORUM to set up a self-service customer portal in which its customers could apply for all benefits digitally, report changes digitally and receive information digitally. Customers included both insured persons and employers from the public sector. Communication was also to be handled centrally via the portal.
The time-consuming processing for VBL clerks should also be made significantly more efficient and partially automated with the help of digital workflows. The integration of a digital signature in the application process was also an important prerequisite for the project, since the majority of applications in the government environment always require a signature. Furthermore, the connection to the existing ERP system from SAP was to be realized so that information and data could be exchanged more quickly and without errors.
During the course of the collaboration, authentication using the new ID card (nPA) was also defined as an additional requirement.
SITEFORUM first set up a self-service customer portal based on its digitization platform, which provides all members with a secure login. In this environment, customers could change their master data and were provided with all important information about their VBL benefits in the member area - either via the messaging system or as a download (e.g., tax statements, pension statements or allowances). The content and documents were personalized for the respective user or for all members in general. Via user groups, which are already included in the SITEFORUM standard, the different customer groups "insured" and "employer" were provided with different authorizations.
Subsequently, user-friendly digital forms for a comfortable self-service were developed from the previous applications and the digital signature was integrated. A process was also implemented for the VBL clerks via which all incoming applications and messages are distributed automatically. This turned the previous complex correspondence into a convenient workflow for customers and the VBL.
In addition, the ID card identification procedure was used for the required "login via ID card". SITEFORUM received the required certification from the Bundesdruckerei.
To date, the customer portal "MeineVBL" has been used by more than 700,000 insured persons and more than 15,000 employees from employers' personnel departments. From the registration of new insured persons, to an online insurance contract with digital signature, to a highly plausible online pension application, excellent e-government processes have been implemented here.
"With SITEFORUM's web services, we have the optimal infrastructure to provide our customers on the Internet and our employees on the intranet with an optimal information, communication and service platform. The software-as-a-service model will enable us to continue to develop our "state of the art" customer portal My VBL in the future and to implement further modern e-government offerings."
Martin Appel, Chief Digital Officer at Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder
VBL has adapted the basic structures for the "MeineVBL" portal and has been operating the platform itself since 2021. The experience gained from the 15-year collaboration with SITEFORUM was extremely helpful in pursuing the digitization strategy.