How Hiscox’s “fail safe” and automated agile approach keeps them one step ahead


Emma Peet

Growth Content Marketing Manager

Date: May. 18, 2021

It’s a common misconception that once automated testing is rolled out in any business, you can simply sit back and let the tests run themselves. However, the amount of time, money, and effort saved is highly dependent on the organization’s underlying strategy for what and when to test, as well as what and when to automate. Insurance provider Hiscox automate at least 75% of their tests and are always confident that it’s the right 75%.

Brietta Smith, Director of Test Practice at Hiscox, recently dove into how Hiscox has adopted a methodical end-to-end testing mindset at the Tricentis Virtual Summit. Brietta’s business-leading work ethic shines through in her interview and is evidenced in what Hiscox have achieved, including the successful rollout of a four-year transformation project.


Read on for our top takeaways on how to think strategically when automating – and as you prepare to automate.

Continuous learning in continuous testing

Hiscox fully embraces the fact that to get the best results possible, a constant strategic mindset is needed to review what’s working and what’s not. They have put in place the following critical elements so that round-the-clock improvement keeps ticking:

  • Dedicated staff – Hiscox never misses a beat because they have an individual on board who focuses strictly on test automation, giving it the headspace required to audit their tests with an eagle eye.
  • Automation meetings – Hiscox formed a group of key individuals (their automation center of excellence) who meet weekly to check in on project progress—ensuring that best testing practices doesn’t fall off the radar. Looking ahead is also an essential part of these meetings. They collectively anticipate potential obstacles and brainstorm how to stop them in their tracks.
  • Extensive tool assessment – Prior to adopting any tool to improve their Agile processes, Hiscox does a rigorous analysis to see how it fits into their application landscape. They conduct product lifecycle analyses to assess how the tools sit in the market and ascertain their business value compared to others available.

Tailored and traceable automation is a game changer

We asked Brietta how Hiscox maintains a balance between speed and quality, while adhering to the strict security and compliance standards within the insurance industry. She is quick to remark that automated testing is absolutely critical.

Their 75% of test automation covers a broad spectrum (ratings, forms, letters, the list goes on), and Brietta shares just how versatile this automation is:

“We’ve been able to tailor our automations so that it’s broken up by functional areas. We can change one thing without having to worry about changing all of our scripts. And that also allows us to push through the volume that we need to do validation and the various classes of business and states.”

In a world where compliance is top of mind, the ability to trace testing requirements back to use cases, test cases, and results, has made Hiscox’s practices more transparent. Tricentis qTest is the backbone behind their test case management, a tool that Brietta shares they can truly rely on.

Close alliances for world-class quality and speed

Hiscox lives and breathes Agile, with each team being a vital organ in keeping their digital transformation projects in good health.

Forging strong relationships between QA and the business was essential to the success of Hiscox’s 4-year transformation project, which Brietta comments “spoke volumes for our ability to release as fast as we did with a high level of quality.”

Next on the Hiscox agenda is for the Development and Operation teams to really come together as one unit to make a robust CI/CD pipeline. It’s no surprise that Brietta has already sown this seed with DevOps – her forward-thinking and larger-than-life persona has made an enormous impact, and will no doubt propel Hiscox to continue to perform at an industry-leading rate.

Hear more about Hiscox’s transformation journey in our new podcast

Find out what else lies ahead for Hiscox in the new Tricentis podcast Transformation in 10 – you can listen to the interview with Brietta here. Brietta takes us on her career journey in application development and testing leadership and offers her best advice on how to tackle testing.


Emma Peet

Growth Content Marketing Manager

Date: May. 18, 2021