How Aviva Built a Brilliant Customer Experience

Aviva's API overhaul unlocked new levels of business agility and innovation while enabling rapid scaling and providing a stellar customer experience. The team at Aviva shared insights from their API journey at API Summit 2023.


Aviva is one of the United Kingdom’s leading insurance, wealth, and retirement businesses serving over 18.7 million customers throughout the UK, Ireland, and Canada. Aviva UK experiences over 1,000 integrations, 500 applications, and 1.1 billion API calls per month.

“If technology is at the core of everything we do at Aviva, then APIs are at the heart of our digital strategies to unlock data and achieve a composable enterprise,” said Santosh Menon, Head of Engineering.

The goal for the company was to create a consistent, brilliant, and seamless customer experience with technology. To make sure the business is ready for any future technological developments, Aviva wanted to decouple from legacy systems to promote propositional agility, new partnerships, and local autonomy.

The Challenge

Challenges in Aviva’s API integration journey included operational risk, security, cost of ownership, and scalability.

The team at Aviva was dealing with an out-of-support, end-of-life API platform technology that was restricting the ability to securely connect and exchange data with our external partners. 

Another major challenge was time-to-market, which was constrained by limited DevOps and automation capabilities and limited knowledge of how their APIs were being used, making the development and maintenance of APIs very expensive. 

The Solution

After researching many potential API gateways, Aviva found Kong was the best fit for their needs.

  • Aviva implemented a distributed API integration framework using Kong to localize APIs and isolate them for improved security and reduced regression testing.

  • The team standardized technology across the API estate by removing duplicate/outdated versions and replacing them with a single codebase.

  • They centralized API management and governance by consolidating multiple API gateways into Kong, enabling consistent policies, security, and standards.

  • They created reusable pipelines and templates to empower self-service API development across teams.

  • Aviva adopted API linting to ensure alignment to industry standards like OpenAPI Specification.

  • The team carefully planned API migration by categorizing each as requiring modernization, alignment, transformation or decommissioning — helping to minimize impact on consumers.

  • They engaged consumers early in migration planning to bring them along on the transformation journey.

  • Aviva launched a developer portal to accelerate partner integration and API consumption through improved discoverability and self-service testing.

“Kong API gateways — both external and internal — provide that single point of entry to our estates solving our common issues around inconsistency of authentication, authorization monitoring, rate limiting, and policies in general,” said Gurinder Parmar, Senior Engineering Lead. By consolidating to one entry and exit point, it’s easier for Aviva to manage all the traffic that comes through safely and securely.

The Results

Committed to the idea that technology was the core of the business, Aviva went all-in on their synchronized API management system. The results?

  • Reduced time to market and costs by 50–70%

  • 75% reduction in cycle time — down to 3 days as opposed to 12

  • Introduction of a seamless API developer portal to accelerate new partner integrations

  • Full API overhaul that delivers a self-service, reusable integration platform

  • Driving Aviva to reach the Rule of Five — a 5/5/5 vision where APIs can be understood in 5 minutes, tested in 5 hours, and live in 5 days

  • Continue to be at the forefront of new and inclusive technologies, showing the commitment to the longevity of the business and serving its partners

  • An easy-to-govern API system, both internally and externally

  • Adding agility, reusability, and automated scalability to the business' services 

The team at Aviva stresses the importance of the streamlined API process not only to themselves but mainly to their customers. As a company committed to serving partners, creating a safe, productive, and understandable environment is crucial. With Kong, Aviva was able to stand by that ideal to optimize themselves and the service they provide to customers.