PREFERRED HEALTH CHOOSES SALES AUTOMATION SYSTEM

Implementation is currently underway at Wichita, Kan.-based Preferred Health Systems (PHS) for a sales automation system from Duck Creek Technologies Inc., Bolivar, Mo. The solution, due for first-phase production in summer of 2008, will provide PHS with an online rating, underwriting and proposal generation system for its multiple lines of business, including PPO, POS, HMO with dental and vision coverage for small and large groups.

The Duck Creek solution met a key PHS objective to find a system flexible enough to handle its multi-line business while providing brokers and marketing representatives the ability to manage their respective book of business via a Web portal. Utilizing the Duck Creek tool set, the PHS actuarial and product teams will be able to develop and deliver products quickly and efficiently, the company says.

The Duck Creek solution also will automate all rating and rules, eliminating the existing use of spreadsheets. Duck Creek’s Web services architecture will complement new and existing PHS installed systems, including HealthTrio connect.

SKYWIRE’S CCM ON TAP FOR NEWLY LAUNCHED INSURER

London-based PruProtect will use Customer Communications Management (CCM) solutions from Skywire Software, Frisco, Texas, to automate the design, production, management and delivery of all its policy-related correspondence. PruProtect is a new U.K. and South African joint venture between Prudential Insurance and Discovery Life.

The company will use Skywire Software’s CCM solution consisting of Documaker Studio, Documanage and Docupresentment to speed the process of creating or amending policy documents, welcome packs, renewal letters, claim letters and other key communications across all divisions and countries.

Skywire Software’s CCM solution can prescribe anything from standardized document content to branding elements such as logo positioning and font and color, thus ensuring both greater consistency and more centralized control across the organization.

The Skywire solution also offers PruProtect a workflow user interface that allows multiple participants from design, marketing, compliance and other relevant groups within the company to participate in the development and approval of customer-facing documents. By extending its existing CCM solution for Discovery Life to the new joint venture company, Skywire Software is delivering a workflow user interface with inquiry, reporting and e-mail/inbox facilities that meets the insurer’s needs, and one that operates effectively across two countries, three sites, and two time zones with cultural and business practice differences.

Based on similar benefits gained at Discovery Life, PruProtect expects to use the Skywire solution to achieve response rates to file requests of less than two seconds.

FIVE INSURERS CHOOSE IMAGERIGHT SOLUTIONS

ImageRight, a Conyers, Ga., provider of insurance-focused content management and workflow solutions, reports that it has won five new insurance organization clients.

Companies that recently purchased the ImageRight content management and workflow solutions system include:

nAppalachian Underwriters Inc. — a brokerage outlet for agents needing workers’ compensation and certain lines of commercial insurance, including general liability and commercial auto based in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

nBeta Healthcare Group — an Alamo, Calif.-based provider of professional liability services and risk management services to hospitals, healthcare facilities and medical groups in California.

nHardy Underwriting Agencies Ltd. — a London-based specialty insurance/reinsurance company with business centered around its management of and participation on, two Lloyd’s of London syndicates.

nKRM Risk Management — a managing general underwriter based in Fresno, Calif., that provides underwriting, policy issuance, premium billing and final audit services to insurance companies offering workers’ compensation coverage in California.

nRockingham Mutual Insurance Co. — a Harrisonburg, Va.-based subsidiary of The Rockingham Group, a provider of insurance services throughout Pennsylvania and Virginia.

“All insurance organizations today need new ways to decrease dependence on paper and automate processes relating to critical business functions,” said Don Elias, president of ImageRight. “Implementing content management and workflow can have immediate returns for companies competing in the insurance industry today.”

PACIFIC BLUE CROSS SELECTS GLOBAL IQX Platform

Pacific Blue Cross, British Columbia’s largest provider of extended health and dental benefits, and its subsidiary, British Columbia Life & Casualty Co., have licensed a software platform from Ottawa, On.,-based Global IQX that includes capabilities for online quoting, rating, proposal generation, renewal management and detailed reporting.

Global IQX’s scope includes the design, implementation and testing of a packaged rating and quotation solution, and its associated processes for PBC/BC life’s extended health, dental and group life & disability benefits. The project scope also includes extracting data for use in other PBC/BC life systems.

It was determined that Pacific Blue Cross required an SOA-based integrated application that could calculate rates quickly for complicated group benefit plans of large sizes for the following benefits: extended health, dental, life, dependent life, critical illness, accidental death & dismemberment, short-term disability and long-term disability.

“In our search, it was also very important that the vendor of choice follow industry standards that will not only easily integrate with our existing technology investments, but also provide a business enabler,” states Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivie, senior VP, Information Technology. “Global IQX has this experience and is on the forefront of XML standards in the employee benefits industry.”

ALLIANZ, NORWICH UNION DEVELOP ACCOUNTING SYSTEM

Claiming an industry first, business process outsourcing firm CGI Group Inc., in collaboration with two of the largest insurers in the U.K., Norwich Union and Allianz Insurance, reports the launch of a next-generation account reconciliation system called Account Reconciliation Centre (ARC).

A flexible Web-based tool to make paper-based insurance account settlement a thing of the past, the solution is being provided as a managed service hosted by CGI, Montreal, Quebec, and accessed via the imarket e-commerce portal, ARC is six months into a business pilot involving Allianz Insurance, Norwich Union and a range of their brokers.

To facilitate a transition from manual, paper-based processes to a faster flow of electronic information, ARC is now being made available to the wider broker community, and is being launched at a time when insurers and brokers are under ever-increasing pressure to reduce their operating costs.

By enabling automatic matching of all but the exceptional items, ARC brings savings in time and effort, reducing the administrative burden associated with the traditional account settlement process, and enabling brokers to view all outstanding debt in real time, the company says.

Designed to streamline the account reconciliation process, ARC provides insurers with an up-to-date view of the status of brokers’ accounts and, consequently, the progress of statement reconciliation. The system also improves communication between brokers and insurers, leading to quicker query resolution. ARC also reduces the peaks and troughs of the monthly cycle, a feature designed to enable insurers and brokers to make more effective use of their time. Sophisticated inquiry features, which include comments and audit trails, are designed to make the interrogation of entries easier and reduce the dependency on individuals in the credit control team.

THREE CARRIERS CHOOSE GUIDEWIRE’S CLAIMCENTER

Guidewire, San Mateo, Calif., reports that three insurers have deployed its ClaimCenter software. Helena, Mont.-based Montana State Fund (MSF), a public entity that operates as a competitive state fund to provide workers’ compensation coverage to nearly 28,000 employers, is using the software for its end-to-end claims handling needs. ClaimCenter has replaced MSF’s in-house developed legacy claims system, reports the company, and has been instrumental in helping the company reduce its average TTD (temporary total disability) duration from 43.5 weeks prior to deployment, to 29.6 weeks.

Now in production with 211 MSF users, the Web-based ClaimCenter is processing an average of 9,674 active claims.

Other benefits MSF is realizing from ClaimCenter include:

nMSF adjusters have the ability to capture and access more and better quality claims data, which has led to improved decision making during the adjudication process.

nMSF gained a real-time view into adjuster workloads, claims data and status.

nClaimCenter’s modern architecture and intuitive user interface serves as a recruiting aid to help MSF attract new adjusters and IT talent.

nClaimCenter’s rules engine enables the MSF IT team to readily make in-house system changes.

nThe system’s flexible and well-designed architecture provides the technology foundation on which MSF can future-proof its claims handling system.

Automobile club of Southern California also is in production with Guidewire’s ClaimCenter. With more than 10 million members and 9,000 employees, the largest AAA affiliate in the nation will consolidate and ultimately replace the company’s existing legacy claims system, performing end-to-end claims handling functionality for all Auto Club lines of business. The insurer plans to use ClaimCenter to: reduce manually intensive adjuster tasks, freeing AAA to better serve members, share information across its organization by moving to electronic claim files; improve claims practices with automatic assignment and rules-driven handling; and reduce loss costs by identifying cost reduction opportunities and recoveries.

In related news, Australian P&C niche insurer Guild Insurance Ltd. selected a suite of Guidewire products to modernize its core systems, and transform and strengthen its customer-centric business model, the company reports.

Upon deployment of this phased, multi-year implementation, Guidewire’s software will fully replace Guild’s current end-to-end claims handling, policy administration, billing and reinsurance solutions. A significant percentage of these functions are performed manually today, so the implementation of the Guidewire solution will mark a fundamental change in the way Guild is able to operate its business, says Guidewire.

The implementation project will begin with a claims system replacement, which is currently underway and scheduled for deployment in late 2008.

DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT

Strategic Growth Insurance Associates Inc. (SGIA), Walnut, Calif. is using a document management and workflow system from SpringCM to capture, store and retrieve its insurance applications, the San Mateo, Calif., vendor reports.

All insurance applications are faxed to SGIA and automatically routed into the SpringCM application via e-mail. A small administrative staff then enters applicant names, employers, start dates and other criteria into metadata fields that enable quick retrieval. SGIA employees can search by any specific metadata field to quickly retrieve the appropriate application. SGIA’s solution required no custom programming, and was deployed in less than one day, the company reports.

AMERISURE MUTUAL’S RATING SERVICE IN PRODUCTION

ISO Insurance Technology Solutions, Jersey City, N.J., (ISO-ITS) reports that Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. has become the first company to fully integrate ISO Rating Service into its policy administration system.

Located in Farmington Hills, Mich., the regional provider of P&C insurance implemented ISO Rating Service for commercial auto in all ISO-supported states to process quotes and policies, as well as endorsement and renewal transactions.

ISO Rating Service is a comprehensive, automated insurer rate-management system using a combination of advanced technology and product-management tools. Through a powerful rating engine, combined with insurer-controlled rate-management decision tools, the system provides insurers with advisory information and continual ISO updates.

“We’re looking forward to using ISO Rating Service to help streamline our rate/quote and service processes, enhance our rate-maintenance workflows, and improve performance,” says Debbie Szmagaj, VP of Application Services at Amerisure. “The shortened turnaround time on our rate revisions and compressed product-implementation time frames are other benefits.”

Amerisure plans to implement general liability in all states by mid-2008, and inland marine and crime in late 2008, with commercial property and commercial package to follow in early 2009.

COLUMBIA GOES LIVE WITH INSURITY’S POLICY DECISIONS

Columbia Insurance Group, a Columbia, Mo., regional P&C insurer, has completed an upgrade and entered production using Policy Decisions, the .NET-based policy administration system from Insurity, a Hartford, Conn. ChoicePoint company.

The software is part of Insurity’s Insurance Decisions, comprehensive software and services covering rate, quote, issuance, administration, billing, claims, reinsurance, data warehousing, compliance support, regulatory reporting, hosting and managed services.

Columbia now has 800 internal users and independent agencies that access Policy Decisions through Columbia’s portal, using it to quote and process several key commercial lines of insurance. While Columbia’s agents currently use Policy Decisions for quoting and capturing new account data for the insurer, the system’s advanced technology will enable Columbia to provide its agents with expanded functionality, including policy issuance.

SHARING REPORTS VIA SaaS

ULLICO Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based unionized provider of multi-line insurance, financial services and administrative products, has implemented the iPartners Insurance Scorecard, a Software as a Service (SaaS) business intelligence (BI) application designed especially for insurance companies.

The iPartners Insurance Scorecard allows authorized users to share reports, and the information required to prepare them, in consistent formats. Users can add and store comments to explain financial variances, reports iPartners, Alpharetta, Ga. Data from customers’ systems is loaded automatically and stored securely, and users can access their data from any Web browser.

EXCELLUS BLUES SELECTS MEGA MODELING SUITE

Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, a non-profit health plan in New York, is using the Mega Modeling suite from Mega International, to eliminate redundant business processes and IT systems and improve information access.

When several Blue Cross Blue Shield programs in upstate New York merged to create Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), each organization brought its own business processes and IT system to the new entity.

Because they were so different, yet had to be consolidated, Excellus BCBS wanted to first implement a strong business analysis process to clearly identify company functions and processes. The MEGA Modeling suite helped Excellus BCBS identify all company functions and processes as it worked to reduce duplicate processes that were a normal result of the merger. With multiple platforms and environments, it was challenging to create smoothly running, cohesive business processes without a clear understanding of what processes and systems were serving each organization, says the company.

Many of these legacy systems, some in place for 30-plus years, didn’t have adequate documentation, so there were parts of the systems that were completely unknown.

DISCOVERY CHOOSES SUNGARD IWORKS COMPASS

Discovery, a South African financial services group, recently went live with iWORKS COMPASS, a group and individual insurance, pension and investment product administration system from U.K. based SunGard. Discovery selected SunGard’s iWORKS COMPASS as its single, strategic platform to help administer and support a set of investment products being launched under a new company within the group, Discovery Invest.

Discovery Invest was created to leverage the success of Discovery Health, its health insurance arm, and its life division, Discovery Life, by extending its offerings to include retail investment and annuity products.

SunGard’s iWORKS COMPASS is designed to support Discovery’s initiatives to enhance quality of client service, improve time-to-market for new products and services and reduce operational costs.

NATIONWIDE LEVERAGES SAS TECHNOLOGY FOR ERM

Columbus-based Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. selected technology from SAS, Cary, N.C., to help strengthen its enterprise risk management (ERM) program. Through superior operational risk management, Nationwide seeks to safeguard its customer policyholders’ interests by ensuring its financial well-being while protecting sensitive policyholder information.

An SAS customer for 27 years, Nationwide plans to integrate risk and control self-assessment processes across its various business units and functional areas. The provider of personal lines insurance, investment and banking services intends to leverage this integration to better share information, coordinate risk management coverage and increase alignment between and amongst its partner programs.

“One of the goals of enterprise risk management is to enable a portfolio or enterprise-level view of a company’s risk profile. For large organizations, operational risks can be a particularly challenging part of that profile to effectively identify, assess, measure and manage,” says Mike Mahaffey, Nationwide Mutual’s VP of enterprise risk management.

(c) 2008 Insurance Networking News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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