During 2005's July 4th weekend-a time typically filled with barbeques, fireworks and celebrations, Employers Direct Insurance Co., celebrated, but not for the same reason most other Americans were celebrating. This particular weekend marked the moment Employers Direct began its quest for improved efficiency through automation by going live with Guidewire ClaimCenter from San Mateo, Calif.-based Guidewire Software Inc.Headquartered in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Employers Direct was founded in January 2003 to meet the workers' compensation needs of California employers, including those of hotels, restaurants, country clubs, new car dealers, manufacturing companies, specialty supermarket chains and retailers. Employers Direct operates via a direct-to-consumer model.

"It's a very high-touch kind of business," says Greg Schueman, Employers Direct's vice president and CIO. "And that's very different from a lot of the small comp businesses where they're really looking at high transaction volumes that can't have a high-touch personal relationship."

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