Unlike many states that rely on ISO reporting, Massa-chusetts has a plethora of regulatory bodies that oversee the sale of auto insurance. For example, there's the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), the Uninsured Motorist System (UMS), the Merit Rating Board (MRB), Commonwealth Automobile Reinsurers (CAR) and the Automobile Insurers Bureau Detailed Claims Database.
The existence of so many state bureaus--each with unique reporting requirements--makes processing auto policies in the Bay State technically and administratively challenging, says Mark Giuliani, vice president, information systems at Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Co., Quincy, Mass.
"You need multiple system interfaces to process policies in Massachusetts," he says. There's the UMS that insurers have to report to on a daily basis. There's the cession system we have to report to on a daily basis. And, there's the pre-inspection system.
"Under certain conditions, the state requires policyholders to have their car inspected," says Giuliani.
"If they don't, within 10 days, we have to send a letter out. By 20 days, we have to suspend collision. And, by 30 days, we can suspend coverage."
In addition, insurers have to report monthly statistics as well as the status of their policies to the CAR. They also have to report certain claims and losses.
"The state's systems have extremely good edits and cross-checks behind the scenes on the data, so we have to get it right," Giuliani says. "When we submit our statistical reports at the end of the month, the information has to match up and be coordinated and reconciled."
After years of outsourcing this complex and difficult job to an IT firm that Giuliani prefers not to disclose, Quincy Mutual decided for cost and control reasons to bring the processing of its 40,000 Massachusetts auto policies in-house.
"One of the benefits of having the Mass auto system in-house is that it is integrated with our other lines of business," Giuliani says.
"It's not that the outsourcer's system was bad. But it had a different interface than our system. It was separate. And we wanted Mass auto integrated."
Specifically, Quincy Mutual was using the WINS enterprise software package from AIG Technologies Inc., Livingston, N.J., to process its other lines of business, which include homeowners, personal auto in other states, business owners, commercial auto and workers' compensation.
Streamlined and simple
Therefore, when AIGT--a member of the New York-based American International Group--approached Quincy Mutual with a proposal to develop an auto policy processing system for Massachusetts on the WINS platform, a collaborative effort made sense.
"We wanted to make the entry of a Mass auto policy very streamlined and simple for both our agents and our internal staff," Giuliani says. "We wanted to focus on consolidating entry screens and improve the workflow with expert edits built into the application."
As a result, in April 2002, the two companies began the 18-month process of producing specifications, developing code and bureau interfaces, and testing and analyzing each interface for optimal information flow between the browser-based Mass auto application, called MassXpress, and the various state regulatory bodies.
Using a two-page plan that had been developed by AIGT, the two companies expanded on each item in great detail, Giuliani explains. "It was spec development for a good six months." In addition, the team discussed several changes Quincy Mutual wanted to make to workflow and entry screens.
"One important goal for us was to prefill data from the Registry of Motor Vehicles-to minimize data entry errors," Giuliani adds. Another objective was to simplify license and registration lookups through the dozens of different Massachusetts registry screens.
"We tried to keep everything on one screen. When people are entering information, they do not want to enter and scroll," he says.
Because AIGT developed Mass-Xpress in modules, Quincy Mutual implemented each component over the course of approximately nine months. In all, Quincy Mutual has deployed seven interfaces to the regulatory bureaus, as well as an agency interface download for the 250 independent agents who sell Mass auto, online PDF forms capability and a printing module.
"We built the interfaces one at a time, thoroughly reviewing manuals, specs, and record layouts and formats," says Gerald Grossman, vice president, processing services, at AIGT. "We established contacts at each bureau to provide feedback, answer questions, and point us in the right direction."
In addition to streamlining the interfaces to the state bureaus, the system also simplifies the process of writing Mass auto insurance during the state's provisional rate period.
"In Massachusetts, a lot of policies are effective on the first day of the year, but the rates don't come out until at least three or four weeks later," says Giuliani.
MassXpress automates the re-rating process by using provisional rates from the prior year-and automatically re-rating all transactions, including mid-term endorsements, when the state releases the current rates.
"This is a huge, huge improvement," Giuliani says. "The rates were announced, and we had all the tables loaded within four hours with all the new rates. That weekend, we ran our re-rate of about 8,000 policies. That was the fastest we have ever re-rated them-about a month sooner than usual," he says.
Indeed, since going live on the system last September, Quincy Mutual has saved time and money using MassXpress, says Giuliani. But he declines to provide specific numbers.
It's easier to train people to use the system, and the company has more data available for management reporting.
"It's so hard to measure the ROI," Giuliani says. "It's more a feeling you get from the operations management. It has improved our workflow--and you just have to look at our operations manager's face and understand that she and the agents feel very good about the system and they're happy with it. She's more productive and her people are more productive. And I can't put a number on that."
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