New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
Robert Regis Hyle | February 12, 2014
Union Mutual of Vermont wanted what most carriers seek: improvements in the way they deal with agents and internal business users.
By Robert Regis Hyle
Technology never rests; it is ever changing. So when insurance carriers study the possibility of investing in a new technology platform, the decision often comes down to two key areas: Will the new platform improve ease of doing business with independent agents; and will the technology enable them to make important improvements in the processes performed by internal users to make them more efficient.
Carriers also have to look closely at their own IT department and how the staff is prepared to deal with both the new technology being proposed and the older less-efficient technology that calls for programming skills that younger IT workers either don’t know or don’t want to know.
With its legacy system running on the COBOL programming language, Union Mutual of Vermont Companies, a personal lines carrier that operates in the Northeast, felt strategic planning in those compelling areas were more than enough reason to invest in the solution it ultimately chose: the SurePower Innovation System from ISCS.
Union Mutual had no preconceived notions of where this project would lead them, so the carrier brought in an outside consultant from IPA to help guide them on the path, according to Gary H. Ouellette, senior vice president, operations for Union Mutual of Vermont.
“[The consultant] helped us define our needs, the products that were available on the market, and identified 15 vendors with products that had the potential to meet our needs,” says Ouellette.
Union Mutual put together a project team that included, among others, Union Mutual’s CFO, CIO, and the head of their project management office as well as leaders from the business side. The search for the right partner took six months, according to Ouellette, and in the end ISCS won the contract by a unanimous decision.
“Their technology was the driver,” he says. “We didn’t feel the other vendors were quite there yet. We also were looking for a partner, not just a vendor. Partnership was important to ISCS as much as it was to us.”
Having the PMO in place helped accelerate the implementation and was critical to the success of the project, which Ouellette explains took just five months.
“We were well prepared for this, plus ISCS uses an agile development process to move things quickly,” he says.
Ouellette explains that the company was so pleased with the agile development that it has adopted agile development for all of its projects moving forward.
“I feel that agile development kept the business side more engaged in the project because we were implementing parts of the system as we moved forward,” he says. “The daily meetings and regular testing during the project, which are integral parts of the agile approach, kept us on track toward our goal. I look forward to continuing to use the agile approach.”
The project was launched in two phases, according to Ouellette. Ninety-six percent of Union Mutual’s business is done in three lines—auto, home, and business. That made up phase one of the project. The remaining four percent of the carrier’s business was part of phase two. Which the carrier wrapped up at the end of 2013.
The ISCS platform is built on Linux with Java-based programming, according to Ouellette.
“It’s good to go for the future with regular updates,” he says. “ISCS has an active research and development department and they understand the needs of their client base.”
For his part, ISCS president Andy Scurto appreciates the value of Union Mutual as a partner.
“Union Mutual of Vermont is an important part of the New England insurance community, with a strong history of independent agent and local support,” says Scurto. “We are proud to be a partner in their use of new insurance technology to provide their time-tested, personal service to policyholders and agents and to grow an even stronger presence in these evolving competitive markets.”
An integral issue to the success of any new policy system is data conversion and Union Mutual hired ITS Data Services, a strategic partner of ISCS, to assist in this area.
“We had a 90 percent success rate on conversion,” says Ouellette.
With any technology implementation, the proof of success comes from the performance and in Union Mutual’s case, its approval rating in the area of ease of doing business has been loud and clear.
“We have record new business,” says Ouellette. “When independent agents saw that we have new interfaces and that we were easier to do business with, it caused a swell in our business. This definitely is a platform to launch our company into the future.”
- It's National IT Professionals Day
- Save the Date for ITA-LIVE 2019
- OneShield Software and UrbanStat Work Together to Improve Real-Time Analytics and Risk Decision-Making
- ITA LIVE 2019 - SAVE THE DATE!
- Insurance Technology Association Announces New Editor-in-Chief
- August 2018 Edition ITA Pro Magazine is Now Available
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- Nationwide launches easy, online insurance platform for business owners with fewer than five employees
- InsureTech Connect 2018 Pre-Conference Workshop to Focus on Customer Acquisition
- HazardHub named as EIA 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year.
- Insurers Leveraging Digital and Analytics-Driven Claims Capabilities to Improve Customer Perception and Results, Says Novarica
- Slice ICS Customer Announces Go-Live of First Digital Insurance Product
- Personal Lines Carriers Focus on Digitalization of Processes, Products, and Consumers, Says Novarica
- Messagepoint Integrates SparkPost with its Leading Customer Communications Management (CCM) Platform
- Insurers Seeing InsureTech as Opportunity More than Threat, Says Novarica
The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
ITA is pleased to present the 2014 Webinar Series. We have many topics for you to choose from and attendance is open to all ITA members. The webinar topics are current and exciting — ranging from predictive analytics to telematics and will focus on the direction insurance carriers need to follow for the future. All webinars are presented by insurance IT professionals along with some of the leading analysts and consultants in the field. There is no cost to attend an ITA webinar. For more information and to register for the webinar, click the “title” of the webinar below.
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
The Insurance Technology Association is pleased to announce that ITA Live 2019 is scheduled for May 5-7, 2019 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and... READ MORE
It has become a common refrain over the past few years to view the practice of enterprise architecture (EA) as something that time has passed by, much... READ MORE
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE
Fraud detection has always been and will continue to be a critical component of claims management. Learning the lessons from current claims Straight... READ MORE
- Vendor Views