Below is the 10th of 11 Novarica Research Council Impact Award nominee case studies, which INN is presenting in no particular order. The awards will be presented at the research and advisory firm’s August 13th event in New York and honor best practices in insurance industry IT initiatives and strategy.
Patriot National’s legacy systems were not able to support its aggressive business growth plans, and the cost to maintain the systems was prohibitive, given their lack of functionality and inability to scale.
In 2011, the company, a mono-line workers’ compensation carrier operating in all 50 states and distributing through independent agents, began an end-to-end legacy replacement project. The endeavor included a complete conversion of all data from its legacy platforms.
A senior executive committee including the CEO, president, CIO and others took part in weekly status meetings. A project management office was created and IT governance was implemented with weekly meetings.
In addition, teams consisting of business leads and analysts helped with setting requirements, prototype, design and user acceptance testing and sign-off. The project was broken down into work streams so that the teams could focus on their deliverables. This included core development (agency rating portal, policy, billing, claims and reinsurance); infrastructure; data conversion; data reporting; and data warehouse initiatives.
The teams used Agile project management methodology to accelerate build out.
Once the core system product was selected, it took two and a half years to launch a full systems conversion across all 50 states. Thirty-five internal IT employees and a number of business subject matter experts staffed the project. In addition, the core system vendor provided staffing onsite and offshore. Additionally, there was a total of 50 vendor personnel involved in the project, including an engagement manager, project managers, project leads, systems analysts, data analysts, application developers and data conversion developers.
Conversion was the biggest challenge. The new platform needed to handle all the data inadequacies of the converted data while continuing to feed the existing data warehouse. Using ETL and XML technologies allowed the team to overcome many hurdles in this area.
In addition, teams leveraged a tight change management process to manage the rapidly changing business requirements so that they could keep the project on scope.
The endeavor was completed in 2013, and since releasing the new system, the company has successfully met and exceeded a number of goals. It has increased volume of quotes through the agency web portal, which also has resulted in additional submission of new business and an overall increase in efficiency.
Patriot has seen improved ease of use and productivity gains in the field office for policy, billing and claims processing. A time study performed to baseline transactions on the new web system shows a significant time savings when compared to the legacy application benchmarking time studies — in some instances up to 70 percent to 75 percent higher.
In addition, the company has increased speed-to-market for new states and products. Several new writing companies and additional products have been built in the system since the deployment.
Finally, the upgrade has enabled increased use of mobile capabilities. Quoting new business and inquiry of policy, claim and billing data has improved the ability for the sales and marketing team to immediately service customers.
In her own words, Judith Haddad, EVP, CIO and CTO at Patriot National, shares lessons learned from this project.
Create key controls and mange this process tightly. It is a clear potential for scope creep, even after the system has been deployed. Defects versus requested changes — changes must be quantified, categorized, prioritized and delivered for continued success on the project.
Create a PMO, if you don’t already have one. It is an area worth investing in, especially when you are able to execute and deliver on time. It is also the best way to help manage expectations since it streamlines communication through one area.
The management team must possess strong leadership abilities to ensure analysts and developers are focused and working on the right deliverables. Also, reward the entire team early and often. Everyone is in it for the long haul; make sure they know they are appreciated for their dedication and commitment.
Architect the “right” solution with your vendor partner. Leverage a new technology platform with all the benefits it should deliver. Some benefits should include business/IT prototyping, in-house rate/rule/forms configuration, virtualized/hosted solutions and SaaS environment.
What would you do differently?
We would have focused much more time on developing business requirements and ensuring the UAT included more use case testing as well as a longer parallel test.
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