Insurance Networking News and Celent celebrated our 8th annual Vanguards in Insurance Practices (VIP) awards in October at the Insurance Analytics Symposium in New Orleans.

The VIP awards, based on a survey of insurance company IT executives, recognize those technology solution providers that represent the “best of the best” in terms of the value they deliver. The awards are bestowed across the five separate categories detailed below.

A second set of awards are presented to insurance carriers that have done the best job of implementing solutions in the five VIP awards categories. The winners are chosen by a panel of five judges based on case studies submitted by the VIP award-winning solution providers.



First Place: Guidewire

Guidewire supports mission-critical insurer operations with systems noted for their high quality, ease of integration and flexibility. Guidewire’s core system suite covers the entire property and casualty insurance lifecycle, including underwriting, policy administration, billing, claims and reinsurance management. 

Second place: BenefitMall 

Third place: ISCS 



First Place: BenefitMall

A provider of integrated employee benefits solutions, BenefitMall offers technology and a national network of offices to support the broker distribution channel. Created around the unique needs of insurance brokers, the solution provider’s web-based tools feature streamlined case management and process more than 120,000 quotes a year.

Second place: Guidewire

Third place: ISCS and Microsoft



First Place: BenefitMall

Second place: Guidewire

Third place: IBM 



First Place: IBM

IBM solutions for insurance include Core Insurance, designed to help agencies streamline and improve policy administration, claims, underwriting and other core insurer functions; Customer Care and Insight, which provide a single view of the customer and business intelligence on the policyholder relationship; Distribution to support agents, brokers and direct-to-consumer distribution channels; and Integrated Risk Management, which takes a holistic approach to managing risk.

Second place: Microsoft 

Third place: Microstrategy 



First Place: Cognizant

Cognizant’s Life, Annuity & Retirement Business Processing Service relieves insurers from managing routine back-office operations, so they can concentrate on revenue-generating activities. The solution provider offers products and platforms specific to the insurance industry for functions including agent compensation, claims processing and policy administration. 

Second place: EY 



First Place: Citizens Property Insurance

Line of business: Property & Casualty

Headquarters: Tallahassee, Fla. Size: $2 billion-plus gross written premium

Nominated by: Bolt Solutions

Solution implemented: A web-based clearinghouse to provide agents and homeowners with expanded access to participating private market insurers.

Background: With more than 1.5 million policies in force, Citizens was under pressure to operate more efficiently and reduce a record high risk exposure of more than $500 billion, following back-to-back catastrophic events in 2004 and 2005. Taking advantage of a rebounding market and expanding options for private-market coverage as new insurers entered the state, Citizens partnered with Bolt Solutions to build and launch its Property Insurance Clearinghouse. This automated, web-based platform provides agents and their customers with access to participating private-market companies authorized to write coverage for Florida homeowners.


Second place: National Life Group

Line of business: Life insurance

Headquarters: Montpelier, Vermont

Size: $151 million gross written premium

Nominated by: NTT DATA

Solution implemented: A data management framework designed to integrate the insurer’s core business functions and add new analytics capabilities. 

Background: In 2008, the National Life Group embarked upon a multi-year effort to upgrade its core systems. Key objectives included making it easier for its agents to do business with the company, reducing its costs per policy, pricing new business more competitively, and improving the speed and accuracy of its forecasting and performance reporting.

NLG brought in NTT DATA as a service provider and implemented NTT’s Data Management Frame- work for Insurance for its enterprisewide data sharing, business intelligence and analytics capabilities. Following the deployment of the framework, NLG experienced three consecutive years of record-setting performance.


Third place: The AssureStart Insurance Agency

Lines of business: Business owner, commercial auto, workers compensation insurance

Headquarters: Seattle, Wash. Size: $400 million-plus gross written premium

Nominated by: MajescoMastek

Solution implemented: A cloud-based insurance service.

Background: In February 2013, AssureStart began developing a proprietary, fully integrated, cloud- based insurance platform. The new platform included a Website, a recommendation engine and a policy administration system, along with billing, claims, service and other functions. The service debuted in Texas nine months later, and it is slated to be offered in a total of 34 states by year-end 2014.

AssureStart, which claims to be the first cloud-based direct-to-small business insurer, currently offers business owner coverage and has plans to expand into commercial auto and workers compensation.


Honorable mentions: ProSight Specialty Insurance and CAA Insurance




In recognition of the growing importance of analytics capabilities for the insurance industry, Insurance Networking News and Celent acknowledged four carriers for their accomplishments in this field: AssureStart, Canadian Automobile Association, Citizens Property and Casualty, and National Life.

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