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 improvement:

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 site mapping and audit of the workflow. We watched user session recordings to uncover pain points, compared the experience to the mail-in process, and looked to other financial services for best practices.

Key takeaways:

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

2. The card format made information difficult to scan. 

3. Unnecessary steps cause cognitive overload and friction.

2017 State Workflow 


To tackle our key problem areas, we explored opportunities across the entire user flow and applied our research to target our specific issues. We prioritized the following key changes based on effort and impact:


1.  Simplify the steps in the journey 

2. Bundle all editing functionality onto one page

3. Change card treatment to a more intuitive table layout

3. Add "FAQs" to provide more context to common questions

Wireframes and prototypes were developed throughout the process to test and vet our proposed solutions.

Proposed 2020 Workflow 

Brainstorm sketches



One challenge was working with an outdated design system was not optimized for every experience. There were several discussions with the development team on whether to retain properties to preserve continuity across the site, or embrace new changes for better usability. We conducted A/B tests to seek answers when possible, but this was a lesson for me personally in learning when to challenge existing elements and push for change.



As soon as a couple of months after its release, we were able to capture an increase in completion rates. As an added bonus, we also learned that the call centers received less calls and questions about this online transaction.


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