The word "innovator" is a noteworthy term. Its root hails back to the 1540s, with the derivatives innovare, novare or novation-to alter or to introduce something new. To the insurers on the following pages, innovation means bucking the status quo and, with business drivers firmly in place, daring to creatively use technology to improve how their organizations behave-internally and with its agents, its customers and the greater marketplace.

In this spirit, the Insurance Networking News' fourth annual INNovators Award winners represent the best of the best, having led or contributed to a business application or project that uses innovation to successfully drive business impact, technical impact or the innovation itself. These insurers don't claim to innovate in a vacuum; their "supporting cast" represents internal and external backing from internal and external business and technology communities.

In keeping with its own philosophy, the criteria for judging this year's award winners has been altered to reflect what we believe are three categories key to an insurer's livelihood:

Core Systems: Back-office technologies and initiatives that drive bottom-line results.

Enterprise Systems: Enterprise-class technologies and initiatives that bridge cross-functional, operational boundaries.

Customer Experience: Front-office technologies and initiatives that successfully attract, retain and drive customer loyalty, satisfaction and retention.

 

We also altered the cast of judges, expanding the panel of top industry experts to include Matthew Josefowicz, director and insurance practice lead at Novarica, Mark Gorman, principal with Mark B. Gorman & Assoc., Karen Pauli-Bradshaw, research director, TowerGroup, Ellen Carney, senior analyst at Forrester Research, and Lloyd Chumbley, VP, standards, ACORD.

Judges also included INN staff editors, and INN's prestigious editorial advisory board members: Eric Bulis, SVP & CIO, SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Co., Ursuline Foley, SVP and CIO, XL Capital/ XL Global Services/XL Reinsurance; Dennis Mehmen, CIO, VP, Business Information Services, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co.; Mike Murray, VP, Finance, OneBeacon Insurance Co.; Michael Romano, SVP, Risk & Administrative Services, Highmark Inc., Anthony Sisti, Information Systems Director, Travelers Insurance, and Jan Tomlinson, EVP, International Field Operations Manager (retired), The Chubb Corp.

INN thanks its industry experts and advisory board members for bringing a superior peer-based review to this process.

We believe that this year's nine official INNovators are a testament to the industry's ability to alter existing technology and processes for the better. And by using technology in new and unique ways, they are altering the way they do business. As a result, these insurers are creating competitive advantage.

The INNovators program was designed as an educational vehicle and, as such, Insurance Networking News is pleased to publish the winner's stories in this special report. Keep reading.

 

Core Systems

 

WINNER: Harleysville Insurance

Across the insurance distribution network, transacting business over the Web remains a primary challenge. For property and casualty insurers, the imperative is a simple one: make it easy to conduct business. In this light, it's not surprising that insurers face untold pressures to provide back-end systems that support their front office-providing agents with the ability to operate efficiently.

Dependent on a variety of insurer technology platforms, these agents need to determine best fit: Stay with a carrier that retains an inflexible platform, or partner with one that supports their productivity, growth and success.

This basic tenet has not been lost on Harleysville Insurance, which made the decision to accommodate the needs of some 1,300 agencies by implementing new commercial lines and personal lines policy administration systems throughout its operating territory. In all, the insurer replaced 12 legacy mainframe systems, including a second-generation Web-based front end system.

With more than 400,000 policies in force and gross written premium of $1.1 billion, the Harleysville, Pa., provider of commercial and personal lines products had some lofty goals: improve speed to market for new and modified products, enhance functionality, quickly expand into new geographical territories, increase productivity and keep costs under control.

Those goals required a massive, collaborative effort encompassing most departments within Harleysville: Overseen by both the SVP of underwriting and the CIO, the team also included the CFO and the chief actuary, who served on the project's steering committee.

The result was a custom-built, P&C end-to-end Web-based platform called accessHarleysville. Five years in the making, the new Web-server-based commercial lines and personal lines policy processing system is available for agents and internal staff from anywhere at anytime.

Harleysville's ability to drive new business at the point of sale is made possible by a well choreographed back-end blitz of technologies. The new policy systems, which focus on reducing manual touch points at every turn, automate the gathering of required underwriting information such as driver records, financial/credit information, and geo-coding data from disparate third-party data sources. This data is integrated with Harleysville's automated risk selection process using an underwriting rules engine and predictive analytics. Also at the back end, a feature called "Product Wizard" helps streamline the business by ensuring that the product selected by the agent is the best possible fit for the risk presented.

At the front end, agents can rate policies and generate quotes, self-service endorsements (policy changes) and proposals. Proposals accepted by the client morph into policies issued in a real-time environment. The systems also provides electronic access to policies and accommodates electronic payments.

To further streamline new business acquisition, Harleysville focused on scrubbing, enriching and re-filling the data being entered by the user-key to sound underwriting and risk assessment. To keep the data clean, agents directly connect with accessHarleysville from their agency management systems and upload policy information, eliminating duplicate entry.

The entire process is supported by online chat and electronic help, automatic pre-fill of information using many third-party data sources, automated coverage selections, and phone access to underwriters for the business that needs to be selectively approved.

"Putting in new systems that had to integrate with the same existing back end was a huge challenge, because they had to assimilate into the new environment without limiting functionality or data it supports," notes Stephen Byrne, Harleysville's VP, agency & field automation. "I liken it to doing a heart and brain transplant at the same time."

To keep expenses flat over the duration of the project, the insurer outsourced its mainframe operations, moving from a fixed- to variable-cost model, notes Byrne. "We used a best-of-breed approach in building out a services oriented architecture along the way, and we leveraged our sourcing partners who came in and supported our production systems while we moved our resources onto the new projects." Despite the significant investments in the development of accessHarleysville, Harleysville has been able to maintain a flat IT operating budget on a year-over-year basis, reports Byrne.

Following full deployment at the end of 2009, Harleysville's small market business had increased by nearly 7% through the first nine months of 2010. Personal lines business grew at a rate of 9% in 2009 and was running at a 14% growth rate through nine months of 2010.

The project's overall impact on agent utilization is evident. Agency-quoted business increased by 150% since the launch of the system, and policies issued by agents increased 50%. In addition, results of recent Harleysville agent surveys indicate that 94% of those queried find the new technology offering to be superior to what the insurer previously offered, and 67% said the carrier's new systems are better then the systems offered by their competition. Feedback is continuous, as the insurer frequently circles back with agents for updates.

"On average, our agents have 10 to 12 different insurance companies that they do business with, and our interactions with our agents yield the same message on a consistent basis...the carriers with the simplest, quickest, easiest-to-use systems get more business," says Byrne. - Nominated by Harleysville Insurance

Supporting Cast

AQS

Duck Creek Technologies

 

Runners Up

 

SECOND PLACE: Travelers Select Accounts

Innovation challenges are not lost on Travelers. In fact, with $25 billion in gross written premium and nine million policies in force, the insurer's small business Select Accounts division seems to relish them-rather, they relish overcoming them. When Travelers' initial teams gathered five years ago to discuss how to reduce agent turnaround time for quoting and issuing business, it was with stated goals: save time and money for its independents, increase the number of agents using the platform and increase the number of quotes per agent.

To get there, Travelers ventured into uncharted territory, introducing service-oriented architecture (SOA) and related Web services that perform automated underwriting and pricing for Select Accounts risks. Called from Travelers existing quote and issue platform (IENet), the services presented technical and education challenges, most notably in training developers on how to determine the level of granularity appropriate for each service to ensure that any services developed could later be reused by Select Accounts, or other divisions within Travelers.

There were a number of challenges facing two teams working in tandem. The first team in Hartford, Conn., had experience with the existing platform (IENet). The second, in Hunt Valley, Md., was assigned to build out the underwriting and pricing services. Each team addressed these challenges using SOA and "contract first development," by which one first defines the message that will be used to consume the service and then writes the service.

"This was one of those rare efforts where there was a clear business directive at work, getting a quote in with no human intervention," says Alan Weiss, Travelers' 2nd VP, information systems.

Travelers automated the underwriting process by implementing referral and declination rules that get evaluated prior to rating the policy. The rules that support these capabilities were implemented using a business rules management system, which enables them to be maintained outside the IT department.

The result is TravelersExpress, a multivariate pricing model that assigns the right price for each risk. Because of this, Travelers sends fewer risks to underwriters for manual review and pricing. And since some of the rules are evaluated immediately after the account is established, Travelers agents, who might previously have had to key in the entire quote and wait up to 48 hours to find out the quote was declined, are more productive.

Since phasing in by line and by state, the TravelersExpress team has much to crow about: Straight-through processing for eligible quotes increased from 17% to 76%. And from 2005-2009, the number of Select Accounts' new business quotes increased from 20,000 to more than 70,000 per month, and the number of Select Accounts' quotes submitted per agent increased by 26%. - Nominated by Travelers

Supporting Cast

TravelersExpress' Internal Team

 

THIRD PLACE: XL Insurance

Supporting 3,800 employees worldwide, XL Insurance (XLI), the global insurance operations of XL Group plc, saw the challenges associated with soft market realities as an opportunity to reduce expenses and increase profitability. The company also wanted to standardize workflows and amalgamate information so it could evaluate performance across locations and use a consistent approach for reporting purposes. With business drivers in place, XLI decided to start with its claims operations.

"We're a company of acquisitions," says Paul Tuhy, XLI's global head of claims, "so we had about five major claims platforms globally that we needed to roll into one."

In early 2008, 120 full-time XLI staffers and their technology partner, Accenture, began planning its new centralized global claims management system to support the insurer's operations in 25 countries. The Accenture claim components solution supports more than 300 core claims transactions-from first notification of loss through final payment. The new paperless system allows claims management to re-evaluate existing workflows to ensure they are maximizing efficiencies and service-level expectations.

The implementation challenges inherent in a project this size were not uncommon for XLI, which, because of its size ($4.3B in written premium in 2009), understood what was necessary to create one global IT platform and get the new claims system into production.

Organized by product lines and further defined by geography, XLI systematically obtained claims management input from various parts of the organization.

"With more than 20 offices around the world we have multiple cultures, some of which accept change easier than others," notes Tuhy. "We established user groups and encouraged continuous feedback." Keeping other departments-accounting, actuarial, risk management and underwriting-well engaged and informed throughout the process also helped facilitate success.

This is important since the new core system integrates with a range of claims interfaces, including policy management systems, agent portals and third-party systems to support all of XLI's property and casualty insurance business lines.

Rolled out in three phases, XLI's global claims system is already in use in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Bermuda, will be rolled out throughout Europe and Asia in 2011.

Thus far, the implementation is estimated at $10 million under budget, allowing the company to reinvest in additional functionality for the final rollout. Plus, the system supports process and workflow reviews, namely, interaction with claims adjusters, which to date has resulted in an estimated $10 million savings to the corporation in claims-related legal fees. - Nominated by XL Insurance

Supporting Cast

Accenture

 

 

Customer Experience

WINNER: CUNA Mutual Group

CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis., knows the industry it serves. Doing business with 90% of the credit unions in the United States, CUNA Mutual pays close attention to its market. In 2002, the insurer knew it needed a quick and easy way to assist customers, so it built Loanliner.com, a loan application system add-on to CUNA Mutual's payment protection products that help members protect consumer loans.

As technology continued to evolve, CUNA Mutual's position in the consumer lending market was affected by competitors that delivered new and improved systems to a growing market that included Gen Y customers. And, formal and informal customer feedback confirmed that credit unions needed to balance diligent underwriting standards, ease of access, and convenience with a complex regulatory environment.

"We were already working through a time hypothesis for a facelift," says Rick Roy, SVP and CIO of CUNA Mutual. "The way we use Web-based products and how we interact with them had changed pretty dramatically in the last 10 years." The insurer consistently made enhancements to the product over six years, but it was becoming clear that a full refresh was needed-not just for CUNA Mutual's members, but for the insurer itself. "Because we have such a tight affinity to our customers, there are opportunities to build win-win scenarios because our success and their success are tied together very closely," Roy says. "We recognize that if we can make credit unions more progressive in their lending, it would also help us drive sales in some of our insurance products."

In response to all the changes, CUNA Mutual began the Consumer Lending Platform (CLP) initiative in 2008 to upgrade Loanliner.com's functionality and improve customer usability. The biggest gain CUNA Mutual hoped for from the user perspective was a much more streamlined interface-a more intuitive way for the user to accomplish the task at hand, which is applying for loan, getting that loan decisioned and then being able to select insurance products attached to that loan.

In October 2009, CUNA Mutual launched the new Loanliner.com, which streamlined the lending process, delivering loan applications with conditional approvals and compliant electronic disclosures in 30 seconds or less. Through the software-as-a-service delivery model, credit unions are able to implement Loanliner.com within their website, customer service call centers or internally, enabling members, call center representatives and loan officers to quickly service members without additional resources. "We host this application here at CUNA Mutual in our IT infrastructure, and we think it might be one of the first software-as-a-service-type offerings beyond what some of the credit unions use for their core data processing," Roy says. "Many of them use an ASP for their core accounting systems. This is an augment or addition to that."

Of course, the project included its share of challenges. To ensure that the new system operated seamlessly in the older platform while migrating a large portion of the CLP application to a new .NETplatform, the team developed a detailed technical design and initiated frequent project reviews to keep communication open during this phase. "We did a fairly substantial rewrite of the product in Microsoft .NET, and that enabled us to not only use more current technology, but also build in some flexibility to deliver the app on a range of devices beyond the traditional browsers and in the mobile world," Roy says. "Without changing the underpinnings of the architecture of the product, there was no way we would be able to use some creative versions of the user interface for those mobile devices."

The second challenge was preparing for the first major implementation of AJAX technology in CUNA Mutual's environment, which required extensive staff training. By successfully leveraging AJAX, CUNA Mutual can retrieve data from its server asynchronously without interrupting the display a member sees on the existing page, thereby improving the user experience.

The project significantly improved Loanliner.com's ability to enable credit unions to provide online lending services through a multi-channel loan platform that streamlines the lending process and delivers quick online approvals. More than 500 credit unions (16% of the credit unions that offer online lending services) now use Loanliner.com to process some 500,000 loan applications annually. More than $6 billion in new loans are processed through Loanliner.com each year.

That success also feeds forward to CUNA Mutual. Loanliner.com developed new revenue streams for CUNA Mutual and its credit unions through new third-party delivery channels. And, with the unique ability to showcase additional products on Loanliner.com, cross-sales of Payment Protection products is on the rise. "That translates into more closed insurance business, and that number is considerably higher than the $3 million in cross-sales," Roy says. "It's definitely giving us the financial benefits that we hoped for. And you can't quantify it, but we have felt the buzz from our customers. It helps credit unions drive lending, which is their bread and butter. It's a great example of how we can use technology to drive value through the value chain." - Nominated by CUNA Mutual Group

Supporting Cast

Accenture

Adobe

Microsoft

 

Runners Up

 

SECOND PLACE: Encharter Insurance

Encharter Insurance is a relatively small insurance agency with big outreach. With 43 employees and $35,000,000 in gross written premium, the Amherst, Mass., provider of personal and commercial lines products decided in September 2009 to embrace social media to drive business forward. Encharter's goals were unique: target the agency's local community to develop relationships, increase awareness, and cull leads, new business and retention in the process. Specifically, Encharter set out to partner with local business owners, allowing them to advertise discount offers, then attract to the agency's website local personal lines traffic looking for discount offers from those local businesses.

With an understanding of social media's power as a fast-paced, ever-changing medium, Encharter invested in the technology (new website, contact manager, e-mail advertising, blog sites, phone technology and more), and people (social media engineers) necessary to turn online relationships into revenue. The firm's methodical marketing approach includes use of Facebook; Twitter; Flickr; YouTube; WordPress; LinkedIn; and local listings on Google, Yahoo, and Bing outlets. Relentless in its outreach, the firm posts messages two to three times per day on Facebook and Twitter, tailoring its communications to the social media outlets' culture. The goal is not to sell, but rather to establish a relationship with prospects and clients.

On the commercial side, the agency's Encharter Partners program is designed to help local businesses learn how to use social media effectively. Encharter provides guidance via an informational social media presentation made for business groups and customized consultations on an individual basis.

Outreach to both commercial accounts and consumers is working. Encharter's pipeline of prospects continues to rise, as well as its hit ratio on quoted business.

A perspective: When Encharter embarked on its social media plan, the agency produced 90 new accounts each month. Using a relatively conservative forecasting approach, Encharter is well on its way to the estimated amount of new business required to support this initiative-120 new clients a month. In fact, the agency expects to double its new business in the coming year.

Meanwhile, Encharter's expenses continue to decrease as it lowers expenditures on traditional advertising (newspapers, direct mailing, sponsorships, etc) and focuses its efforts on lower-cost social media.

"Our biggest problem now is finding the resources necessary to respond to the quote requests we receive," says notes CEO Ken Peterson. - Nominated by Encharter Insurance

Supporting Cast

Astonish Results

 

THIRD PLACE: Plymouth Rock Companies

Imagine giving your customers the ability to manage nearly every facet of their insurance policies-anywhere, anytime-from their mobile devices. Coupling next-generation consumer technology with increased customer demand for on-the-go services, Plymouth Rock Companies (Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp., High Point Insurance and Palisades Insurance) has done just that.

With 780,000 insurance policies in force and $1.11 billion in written premiums, the Boston-based provider of personal and commercial lines property/casualty insurance launched a mobile web offering that gives its customers the ability to find an agent with integrated navigational directions, view their policy, make a payment, log into their online account or call customer service with just one click.

Plymouth Rock's mobile customer experience strategy began with the knowledge that consumers demand instant access to information. Several interwoven goals followed: Open another Web channel for all its companies and in the process provide its customers with additional value added service and ease of doing business.

Like all insurers seeking to deliver on the mobile technology promise, Plymouth Rock's seven months of development and testing brought challenges. The most pressing issue was ensuring that the technology would work effectively with the hundreds of different mobile devices available. Another concern was in determining which features and functionalities would be offered on the mobile site versus the traditional, more comprehensive website.

Vendor partners were contracted to enable device identification and testing. Further build-out of the system enabled it to identify the device based on its code-whether a smart phone, PDA or a Web-enabled cell phone-and automatically open a web page with the right specs for that unique device's screen. Emerging QR code technology enables mobile device users to take a snapshot of a special bar code image on posters at more than 6,400 locations around New England, on Facebook or on the companies' websites, which takes them quickly to Plymouth Rock's mobile website. More testing using a web service that virtualized the experience on any given device ensured that the system worked properly.

It does. With full launch in May 2010, it's too early in the process to measure statistical ROI, but all three companies report experiencing a consistent and steady growth in the traffic. In addition, the companies experienced an immediate, dramatic use of the Web payment function, which plays to Plymouth Rock Companies' belief that making it easier to conduct business is key to improving the entire customer experience. - Nominated by Plymouth Rock Insurance

Supporting Cast

Conmio

 

 

Enterprise Systems

 

WINNER: Farmers Insurance Group

Can an insurer make a significantimprovement to its claims process while maintaining a legacy system? Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance Group managed to do so by integrating a business process management (BPM) solution into its existing claims environment.

The carrier's ability to accrue immediate benefits from the BPM system while it is still it in the midst of developing and putting out its modern enterprise claims system replacement is notable.

Currently in use for its auto lines, the rules-driven BPM system was built using technology from Cambridge, Mass.-based Pegasystems Inc., and gives Farmers' customer service representatives a single, simplified presentation layer to record first notice of loss. The new system also includes workflow process managers to trigger alerts at critical junctures in the claims lifecycle, such as document arrivals, subrogation, recovery and reinsurance. It also provides a centralized repository that captures a record of historical data from various transactions throughout the claims process.

"The key is to keep it in one window for CSRs," says Bob Evoy, SVP for shared services, Farmers. "Because they are now getting more information, faster, they are now able to have more of a dialogue with customers. They're pretty happy with the tool."

Since the systems' rollout in January 2010, the evidence of its worth has been more than anecdotal, Evoy notes. "We're 25% more efficient, and we've seen quality improve by 6%, which was a pretty big leap because we were not poor to begin with," he says.

These numbers are all the more estimable considering the BPM layer is working with the company's aging claims system.

Shohreh Abedi, CIO and VP of claims applications - IT, says she expects the company to derive even greater benefits from the BPM offering as the firm completes its concurrent and complementary transition to a modern enterprise claims systems, Oracle's Siebel 8.

"Normally, with BPM you get better functionality [paired] with a modern claims systems," Abedi says.

From an architectural point of view, Farmers is leveraging BPM to build consistent processes. "We looked at all the different adjuster processes and came up with a standard one to build into the BPM tool," she says. "BPM has helped us take our best practices and processes and automate them as much as possible."

One of the primary benefits of automation is that it begets consistency, Evoy notes, adding that reducing complexity for end users was another primary goal of the undertaking. "My view from the business was to give the information to frontline people when they need it and not rely on them remembering to go get it," he says. "If they have to remember, your consistency goes out the window and then so does your ability to achieve the highest quality."

Yet, Abedi notes, adding BPM is not merely a technical endeavor. She says that carriers that build BPM tools into their claims process without first re-examining underlying business practices, and if necessary re-engineering them, may simply be automating obsolete or unnecessary steps. "To be successful, you have to look at the processes and see what actually should change," Abedi says.

To accomplish this holistic reassessment of the processes being automated, tight collaboration between business and IT units was vital. "This took months of working hand-in-hand with the business," Abedi says. "Something like this could not have been achieved by requirements documents passing back and forth."

Abedi adds that the company implemented a formal change management process in order to communicate the "hows and whys" of the process to its broader CSR base. "Some companies feel that change management is fluff, too touchy-feely or a waste of money, but we embraced the process and made sure we had solid champions at the senior levels of the business," she says. "People buy in when they feel they have been heard. We didn't sit in an ivory tower, coming up with a plan to force this on the masses."

With the system implemented and end users happy, Farmers can concentrate on the business advantages it brings to bear. One large benefit is shorter training time. Evoy says this benefit will pay dividends in the event of a catastrophe when the company needs to bring extra hands in to its call center and rapidly get them up to speed. "When a hurricane comes, you have a couple of days to prepare for it," he says. "We can now put 300 extra people on the floor and have them do competent work. That's a big difference from the past. Now, we can get consistent quality even though we're adding hundreds of people on short notice." - Nominated by Pegasystems

Supporting Cast

Pegasystems

 

Runners Up

 

SECOND PLACE: USAA

When USAA CEO Josue "Joe" Robles, Jr. introduced a new center of excellence focused on planning, innovation, transformation and strategy, he may not have anticipated how his 22,000 employees would respond. Thanks to its Innovation Communities for the Enterprise (ICE) program, employees of the San Antonio-based provider of insurance, investment and banking services to the military and their families have identified "golden nuggets" that will reduce cost, increase revenue or significantly improve value for its 7.7 million customer members.

ICE is an engagement tool designed to foster collaboration across various teams and businesses. Created as a single system that can capture ideas, manage their review and implementation, ICE is built on a customized version of the Salesforce.com ideas community and uses the back-office side of Salesforce.com's Force.com cloud platform to automate tracking of ideas all the way through to implementation and feedback.

With operations related to managing more than $11 billion in gross written premium, USAA's ICE process must be organized and methodical. The insurer organized the platform into several sub-communities to support USAA's business model, then identified dedicated "business innovators" for each sub-community to review every idea for potential. These business innovators assume many responsibilities-engaging and training employees, conducting road shows, imparting the message of Robles, and monitoring and championing ideas in ICE.

All staffing levels, from frontline member service staff to underwriters and executive management, can submit, view, vote and comment on ICE ideas. And they have. To date, the system has amassed some 11,000 ideas, 23,000 comments and 236,000 votes.

The innovation team and executive staff track this information from their desktops and a variety of mobile technologies via dashboards. USAA also measures employee participation levels, the number of days that ideas are in the community prior to receiving a response, and ideas implemented. By mid-year, USAA exceeded a 10X ROI on the ideas that have been implemented and the company was on track to implement 75 ideas by year end 2010.

Employees may have been asked to make innovation part of their DNA, but the results clearly play forward to USAA's members, thanks to process improvements accorded to managing more than 16 million policies in force.

USAA reports that one idea now in development has a projected benefit of $4.6 million, "so obviously, the return on investing in a platform, process and people who truly champion innovation is quickly being revealed," notes the company. - Nominated by USAA

Supporting Cast

Salesforce.com

 

THIRD PLACE: Pacific Compensation Insurance Co.

To say that Pacific Compensation Insurance Co. (PacificComp) has experienced its share of change over the past year and a half is an understatement. In business as a direct writer of workers' compensation insurance since 2002, the company, previously known as Employers Direct, responded to recession-based market changes by changing its name, its business model and its entire technology strategy.

Changing to an independent agency distribution model, the Agoura Hills, Calif.-based insurer stopped writing new business and shifted its focus to revamping and implementing its enterprise architecture and core business applications, including claims, billing, underwriting and rating. With $85 million in gross written premium and 700 policies in force, PacificComp's goal was to be able to manage new business-and higher volumes-without increasing its staff.

PacificComp's new technology strategy included building a distributed architecture using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for its systems wherever possible. This meant selecting technology that can be delivered via application service provider (ASP) or SaaS-even in favor of a traditional installed system. This presented a challenge to PacificComp, which took the leadership role in convincing core systems vendors to support the SaaS/ASP model.

An architectural review of PacificComp's enterprise architecture resulted in several recommendations, including the use of enterprise service bus technology, to achieve event-based real-time asynchronous integration. Since the move to a distributed infrastructure, new systems include SaaS/ASP vendor-hosted applications with a claims and legacy AS/400 policy administration system hosted at managed data centers. All systems are geographically distributed and a successful service-oriented architecture-based implementation and integration effort ties them together.

Because PacificComp evolved to an independent agency business model, an agent portal was installed to support the underwriting function, and implementation is underway for a replacement of the billing component.

Cost savings permeate the enterprise, including capital expenses (hardware, development, licensing), infrastructure, support and staffing costs, maintenance, integration and disaster recovery.

Now benefiting many non-IT business processes, the initiative has evolved into an enterprisewide business and IT strategy, allowing PacificComp to grow and expand its business without significant capital investments in technology. - Nominated by Jarus Technologies Inc.

Supporting Cast

Jarus Technologies Inc.

Majesco Mastek

Guidewire

LegacyFaces

Aviana

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Digital Insurance content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access

Corrected February 8, 2011 at 9:46AM: yes