NYL Manage Beneficiaries

MyNYL is the self-service portal that New York Life Insurance policyholders use to access and manage their account information. Self-service capabilities help both the company and the customers. The more tasks users can complete on their own, the fewer times they need to call the helpline or agent, and the more money and time saved. 

Users usually update their beneficiaries after life events such marriage, divorces, and births. With the death benefit being the primary advantage of life insurance, it follows that beneficiary updates are the most important policy maintenance tool.


UX designer



Paul S., UX manager
Kim S., Researcher

Cat G., Product Owner
Gowtham K., App Developer
Dinesh P., UI Developer



8 months


The product team and our UX researcher have been monitoring the Manage Beneficiary workflow since its launch in 2017. Clicktale analytics and a benchmark test revealed low  conversion rates that signaled to the team that the existing experience needed work:

50% of customers dropped before step 2.

18 out of 20 users in a benchmark test believed they successfully submitted a change, in reality only 7 succeeded.

70% of visits indicate no attempt to change the beneficiary. 

As part of an ongoing endeavor to continuously improve the myNYL experience, the UX team was tasked with redesigning the interface. Success criteria was pre-defined: optimize the conversion rate through increased usability. 


The discovery process involved a variety of activities, starting with a holistic mapping and audit of the workflow. We watched user session recordings to uncover pain points, collected feedback from our site survey, and looked to other financial services for best practices and inspiration. Some key takeaways:

 1. Users had to stumble upon hidden menus to uncover functionality.

2. The card format made information difficult to scan. 

3. The workflow was confusing and steps were not clear.

2017 State Workflow 


Design started with finding ways to simplify the workflow and to minimize clicks. Since we have a design system in place, we took a reverse atomic design approach, starting with the pages before diving into components. Many sketches, wireframes, and rounds of feedback with product and research later, we developed a MVP prototype for user testing. User testing provided additional input that we incorporated in subsequent rounds of design. 

Proposed 2020 Workflow 

Brainstorm sketches



One of our main challenges was that the existing design system was too tight and there was limited room for flexibility. There was always an ongoing debate on whether to retain properties to preserve continuity across the site, or embrace changes for better usability. We conducted AB tests when possible to seek answers, and under the agile development cycle, we were also able to quickly collect feedback and correct when needed. 

BEFORE - 2017

AFTER - 2020


The redesign was released in June 2020 and has been well received so far and the completion rate has increased. However, there are still improvements that can be made and we continue to monitor, track, and iterate. This feature also became the poster child for the rest of the site, allowing us to introduce and demonstrate the benefits of refreshed typography elements and button styles. 

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© 2020 by Stephanie