MANULIFE INKS OUTSOURCING DEAL WITH THOMSON REUTERS

Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corp.'s asset management division has signed a multi-million-dollar outsourcing deal with New York-based Thomson Reuters. As part of the agreement, MFC Global Investment Management will use the Thomson Reuters Portia recordkeeping system for more than $66 billion in public assets under management. According to Thomson, the service will allow for "the introduction of a single book of record for the public asset component of its investment management business."

Many asset managers choose to manage their own middle- to back-office solutions, notes Christy Bremner, global managing director of Portia. But by handing much of that responsibility over to Thomson Reuters, all the MFC infrastructure, including physical hardware and systems, will be located in a hosted data center. The arrangement will provide "a single consolidated global platform, as well as strong technical support and the assurance of a stable operational environment," says Bremner.

"There is a range of activities that we perform on their behalf - not just physical infrastructure in a data center," adds Bremner. The hosted software services will also include data management, disaster recovery support and management reporting.

The Portia investment accounting software, which handles books and records and supports reporting, performance management and a range of mid-to-back-office activities, has 300 clients. Twenty-one of the platform's customers use the outsourced version, with the rest opting for an in-house installation.

ANTARES SELECTS DATADIRECT TO AID CLAIM ADJUDICATION

Antares Management Solutions, a business division of Strongville, Ohio-based Medical Mutual Services LLC, is using DataDirect Shadow, a single, unified integration architecture supporting mainframe SOA enablement and data integration, to integrate mainframe data into a service-oriented claims processing application, the companies report. The product from DataDirect Technologies Inc., an operating company of Bedford, Mass.-based Progress Software Corp., will be used to improve the efficiency of medical billing and customer service.

The auto-adjudication technology was created specifically for Medical Mutual of Ohio and its TOPPS system. In an effort to address the business need to support physicians and providers with patient liability information in real time, Antares set out to build a robust claims processing application that would enable physician offices to submit claim information, and immediately get processing results. The new Web-based application would enable patients to know, at the point of service, the total amount owed for the medical procedure, the company says.

To address integration and agility challenges common to modernizing legacy applications, the company adopted a service-oriented architecture approach. The existing insurance claims processing application relied on mainframe green screens within the customer information control system (CICS) as the primary interface to access billing information stored within a mainframe DB2 database.

THORNTON & PARTNERS SELECTS FINEOS CLAIMS

Thornton & Partners, a Dublin, Ireland-based loss adjuster firm and partner to global loss-adjuster firm Crawfords, selected software from FINEOS Corp., also headquartered in Dublin, to become the new enterprisewide software solution for Thornton's loss adjusting claims operations. Designed to provide major efficiency gains and an enhanced service to Thornton's insurance clients, the new system offers a modern platform that will scale to meet Thornton's predicted business growth over the next few years, according to FINEOS.

"The powerful business process management capabilities within FINEOS Claims ensure the automation, generation, execution and measurement of tasks required to handle claims," says John Eves, managing director at Thorntons. This will help reduce the amount of time loss adjusters have to spend on routine administrative tasks, freeing them up to concentrate on the service we provide. The solution will also allow us to easily measure our performance against the service agreements we have committed to with our insurance clients."

SENTRY INSURANCE LAUNCHES GUIDEWIRE POLICYCENTER

Sentry Insurance, a Stevens Point, Wis.-based property/casualty insurer, has recently launched PolicyCenter from and Guidewire Software, San Mateo, Calif. PolicyCenter is now being used by 400 Sentry Business Products sales producers and staff processing policy submissions for two business units - standard business products and dealer operations.

Sentry uses PolicyCenter to support the account setup and submission process for 12 lines of insurance in more than 40 states. PolicyCenter has been integrated with existing customer relations management software, document management and other legacy systems. The new system significantly improves Sentry's submission process that formerly required labor-intensive data entry into multiple systems.

Sentry wanted to invest in technology that would streamline its new business sales and underwriting processes, as well as help simplify IT support efforts and reduce system maintenance costs, according to Don Olson, Sentry's VP of business products systems.

PolicyCenter provides Sentry's standard business products and dealer operations with a modern business application system that optimizes sales, underwriting and policy administration operations as well as improves service to policyholders. Sentry has replaced multiple new business application systems with a consolidated, integrated and modern technology solution and implemented an improved insurance application validation process on the front end of the application process, improving data accuracy and completeness.

PACIFIC LIFE SIGNS WITH ALGORITHMICS

Pacific Life Insurance Co., a Newport Beach, Calif.-based life insurance, annuity and investment products company, has selected market risk and economic capital solutions from Toronto-based Algorithmics Inc., the companies report.

Pacific Life will use Algorithmics' market risk system, Algo Risk, for managing the market risk of its asset portfolio, and will use the vendor's portfolio replication and optimization capabilities to calculate enterprisewide economic capital across its asset and liability portfolios.

"Our objective is to allocate our capital as efficiently as possible across our business, and to reduce the time it takes us to report enterprisewide economic capital figures," says Jane Hsu, VP, Pacific Life. "Having this technology also will put us at an advantage when Solvency II is adopted in the United States."

The methodology of portfolio replication enables insurers to create a proxy portfolio of standard capital market products to replicate the scenario-dependent payoffs generated by the company's existing liability projection systems. Portfolio replication enables insurers to calculate their economic and regulatory capital numbers - on a market-consistent - more quickly, transparently and accurately across the enterprise than existing methods, the companies say.

Under Solvency II, with the regulator's approval, the replicating portfolios also can be used as part of an internal model.

3 INSURERS SELECT HYLAND SOFTWARE'S ONBASE

Three insurers have chosen Hyland Software's enterprise content management (ECM) software suite, OnBase. Global Aerospace, London, an aviation insurer, provides underwriting and claims expertise from its headquarters in London, a network of six offices in the United States, as well as Toronto and Zurich. Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Co., Topeka, Kan., is a member-directed insurance company providing insurance protection for physicians, hospitals, dentists, medical groups, professional associations and other health care professionals. Modern Woodmen of America, Rock Island, Ill., is a fraternal benefit society offering life insurance, annuity, investment and banking products, along with fraternal member benefits for families and their communities.

"I think it's safe to say that being able to do more with less has never been more important to insurers," says Jason King, director of insurance solutions for Hyland Software. "And the right ECM solution can help organizations run better and faster. Reducing paper-based transactions and getting staff important information when they need it positively impacts both the bottom line and customer satisfaction. But, for insurers to spend right now, they want proven products from trusted vendors at a price they can afford. Established, respected and award-winning, insurers that demand a successful track record are turning to OnBase."

These additions capped a 33% year-over-year (2007 to 2008) increase in new OnBase insurance customers. And although budgets are tightening, industry surveys report that 2009 IT spending won't change dramatically, the company says

RISK SERVICES SIGNS WITH TROPICS SOFTWARE

Sarasota, Fla.-based Risk Services LLC signed with Sarasota, Fla.-based Tropics Software Technologies, a national software company specializing in workers' compensation systems, to get Tropics' support for the rollout of a new workers' compensation program that will span a large number of states.

The program will include all underwriting, receivables management and policy administration to be performed by Risk Services, utilizing Tropics' Workers Compensation Policy and Billing Administration Systems, on A.M. Best rated "A VIII" paper. The program will be available to payroll processing companies, which also will be serving as the retail agents relative to new business generation.

"Tropics' 15-year history of successful implementations of its workers' compensation software suite, coupled with its outstanding reputation in the market, made this decision easy for us," says Mike Rogers, chairman of Risk Services. "Given the importance of implementing a solution with robust workers' compensation functionality across many states in a relatively aggressive time-frame, Tropics appeared to be the natural fit."

UNITRIN COMMITS TO DEPLOY CSC'S FORTHCOMING EXCEED J

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), Falls Church, Va., announced its plans to roll out Exceed J, a Java Platform Enterprise Edition (Java EE) version of its Exceed software suite of components for top-tier P&C companies. The P&C insurance business of Unitrin Inc., Chicago, is the first client to commit to deploy Exceed J, which will use CSC's Continuous Delivery upgrade process to speed implementation by delivering small amounts of code that can be moved into production immediately. Unitrin has licensed seven components of CSC's Exceed software suite to manage personal lines auto processing for its entire P&C insurance operations. The three primary business segments of Unitrin that comprise its P&C insurance operations, Kemper, Unitrin Direct and Unitrin Specialty, plan to implement the same seven components of Exceed J supporting personal auto.

"After decades of successful decentralized operation, we determined it was time to adopt a shared services approach to speed our time to market and lower operating costs," says Keith Sievers, SVP and CIO, Unitrin Services Group. "After reviewing competitive alternatives, we chose CSC. We have confidence the development strategy being pursued by CSC will yield Exceed J system components with the deep, product-line-specific functionality and service-oriented-architecture strategy we need."

With general availability planned for mid-2010, Exceed J will provide platform and database flexibility to insurers that want a scalable, function-rich solution that can be implemented together or individually to leverage and extend their IT investments, CSC says.

FORT DEARBORN LIFE SELECTS GLOBAL IQX

Downer's Grove, Ill.-based Fort Dearborn Life Insurance Co. has licensed Ottawa, Ontario-based Global IQX's software platform to provide capabilities for Web-based quoting, rating, supporting proposal generation, renewal management and detailed reporting.

Fort Dearborn Life offers both employer-paid and voluntary group insurance products designed to improve the quality of employee benefit programs and meet the recruiting needs of employers and the security needs of employees. Fort Dearborn Life also provides retirement planning with a line of fixed and index annuity products.

The carrier chose Global IQX as the best scalable solution to support the company's prospecting automation system for its group insurance business. The system's scope includes the design, implementation and testing of a packaged rating and quotation solution and its associated processes for supporting Fort Dearborn Life's group dental, disability, and life insurance products for both proposal and in-force business.

The project scope also includes extracting data for use in other Fort Dearborn Life systems as well as quoting by other sales partners.

(c) 2009 Insurance Networking News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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