Projects of CreditUnion724
With assets valued at over one billion dollars, this mid-Atlantic carrier is ranked in the top eight percent of all property-casualty insurance companies in the U.S.A. Since it was established in 1919, its agency base has grown to 1,200 independent partners and represents a nine-state territory. It relies on its network of agents to sell insurance products and service its customers. Firmly believing that investing in its relationship with agents will ensure long-term profitability, they focused on developing a dynamic interface with its agency base as part of its SEMCI (single-entry, multiple company interface) strategic initiative. By enabling online business transactions starting in 2000, its website manifested our client’s strong commitment to its agents. The Agency Interface portion of this wider initiative was intended to reduce redundant data entry for quotes and submissions. In the short-run, the client wanted to create a bridge between its policy processing and other internal systems and the agent’s agency management system. In the long run, they envisioned an interactive, two-way, real-time quoting and issuance capability with its partner agencies. The carrier hoped to expand this scope in the future to include transactions such as policy cancellations and automatic renewals.
Insurance724 led the Agency Interface portion as well as participated in other significant portions of the project. This multi-vendor project encompassed insurance software vendors like Applied Systems and Allenbrook as well as in-house business and development staff.
Insurance724 played a key role during the original design and concept of the Agency Interface project by leading brainstorming sessions, utilizing UML, and reviewing system architecture documents. Insurance724 was the lead technical advisor on this phase of the project. Insurance724 participated in the initial analysis and research on potential options for the clients specific needs. Insurance724 documented its comprehensive research and participated with the management team in crafting the best solution to present to the executive steering committee. Insurance724 also assisted with initial design and architecture of the new Allenbrook Product (Phoenix Conversion Services). Insurance724 established an ongoing dialogue with the technical team at Applied Systems as their product matured from initial brainstorming to live production.
Much of the development work for the Agency Interface project was outsourced to vendors. During the development phase, Insurance724 managed the project timelines, participated in weekly conference calls, reviewed, tested, and approved releases of software through the initial ALPHA release until the final production release. Insurance724 also led the clients internal team during the construction of the in-house portion of the project, leveraging leading edge technologies (such as XML) for performance, flexibility, and usability.
By providing project management, leadership and technical expertise, Insurance724 achieved a reasonable production date for client’s state-of-the-art, high-tech bridge with agents. Insurance724 contributed during the key phases of the Agency Interface project, including analysis and design, development, testing and roll-out. Insurance724 played a vital role by “gluing” internal staff and the multiple vendors and managing all the internal and external dependencies. The Agency Interface project represented an important innovation in the industry. It offered agents a SEMCI environment (single entry, multiple company interface) using the latest electronic commerce technologies available in the marketplace. Insurance724 made sure the client had all of its deadlines met by vendors, and the functionality it needed. The bottom line: We helped our client fulfill its vision of making it “easier, faster and cost-effective” for 1200 agents in 9 states to sell insurance and service customers.
A middle market insurance company in the Mid-Atlantic region was eager to complete the implementation of a new policy system for its diverse distribution network. The organization lacked focus and project management guidelines – roles and responsibilities of resources were not defined, ownership of tasks were not outlined and development efforts were being sacrificed to meet underwriting goals – resulting in escalating costs and slippage of live date. The management hired Insurance724 to prioritize its goals and meet the deadline for live implementation without having to sacrifice new business production.
Insurance724 took stock of the situation by conducting extensive interviews with the management and its key employees. We then outlined a detailed project plan that leveraged existing Best Practices which were specified by Allenbrook and those that were accepted by client and then coalesced and refined them to fit the new objectives of the client.
Version control for documents was introduced to facilitate better knowledge management. Our consultants drew detailed specifications for content requirements from underwriters and formed a committee to review critical implementation decisions from a management perspective. To ensure a maximum turn-around time of one week, a voting format was introduced at times of disagreement so that open issues were quickly resolved and closed.
Insurance724 successfully implemented the Commercial Auto line within the framework of the new policy system solution. The original requirements were simply a replication of IDP. Our consultants provided value-add to the client by exposing them to new approaches – integration of MVR and POLK data, copying coverages in a fleet, use of summary screens – which led to extended functionality and a much broader solution.
The carrier experienced a significant reduction in cycle time between design and production. In the past, it would often take them as many as 7-10 iterations before production. However with the clear prioritization of goals, detailed content specifications and resource reshuffling, the lead time to production was reduced to 2 iterations resulting in over 75% improvement in process efficiency.
The rating and issuance process has become more streamlined and the time taken to generate new business has declined sharply. Product definition has been enhanced leading to more function points enabling better customer service and customer retention.
The implementation is back on schedule and the management is confident that with the continued support and guidance of Insurance724, its impact on the underwriting and production team will continue to decline thus positioning them for continued growth. It is also estimated that the client will eliminate in excess of $75,000 of licensing fees per month at the end of the implementation of the product.
In business since 1914, this specialty Renter’s insurance carrier serves over 11,000 policyholders in the Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Illinois. In efforts to meet the growing needs of the business and separate itself from the parent company, the management decided to implement a new policy and rating system. Like many system initiatives at most insurance carriers, there was a history of management difficulties such as rising costs and slipping live dates. Operational issues had gained precedence over strategic alignment and management only hoped for the realization of business benefits. The project beginnings did not include a project charter and project plan, thus setting the stage for mis-management of third party vendors and sub-optimal utilization of precious company resources. Insurance724 was retained to set a better foundation for the implementation of a new policy and rating system.
Insurance724 conducted interviews with management and resources to determine critical objectives and capabilities and this enabled the creation of a project approach followed by a detailed project plan. After analyzing the current process and future needs, Insurance724 conducted a marketplace review of relevant software packages on behalf of the client, saving their staff valuable time and money and to avoid reinventing our existing vendor knowledge. Our team then performed vendor solution evaluation and scoring within an effective RFP process. The results enabled us to develop alternate go-forward paths with pros, cons, costs, and benefits in support of a recommended strategy based on the requirements. After supporting the negotation process, a combined organizational effort redefined the roles and responsibilities of resources to facilitate and monitor greater productivity. These are examples of pre-implementation activities Insurance724 performed to set the stage for a sensible package selection decision grounded in a solid cost-benefit analysis with a favorable contract.
Insurance724 successfully deployed a phased implementation of a new policy and rating system system with interfaces to bank and billing vendors. It also implemented Intelligent Text Processing to generate automated policy declaration pages. The implementation process included full conversion of legacy data into a format that was acceptable by the new system. Developing custom enquiries that reduced the time taken for retrieval of critical policy information enhanced customer satisfaction. Several reports were developed to provide management with greater clarity on business demographics. Last but not least, our consultants authored a comprehensive training manual for the new system and conducted complete training on all aspects of the system for the users.
The biggest benefit to the client was that it gained complete independence from its parent company. In the past it was dependent on the parent company’s life and health system which proved unreliable for the P&C data that it generated. It also eliminated reliance on 2 full time IT staff leading to lower operating costs. Inspite of the initial problems, there was no interruption of services and the transition to the new system was achieved seamlessly. Several processes – generation of dec pages, commission tracking of agents – were automated leading to significant jumps in worker productivity and the perceived value received by customers and agent alike.
The client continues to generate new business at an even higher rate today and is well positioned for future growth. Insurance724 continues to add value to the client by providing ongoing IT/IS support and helps keep their operating costs to a minimum.
Established in 1919, our client is a property-casualty insurance company with over one billion in assets. One of its subsidiaries was chartered in 1980. It handles third-party claims administration for several hundred self-insured companies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. The parent company and the subsidiary had their own independent claims processing systems, but these aging systems were inflexible and out-of-sync with the real business needs of staff, management and agents. Expensive “work-arounds” had been developed and maintained over the years to address the systems’ shortfalls. Staff often turned to paper files in order to respond to customer inquiries. Agents had to resort to calling customers back to collect and clarify information. Agents and customers alike were increasingly frustrated by the lack of reliable, fast claims handling and customer service. An internal team with representatives from the Claims Division, the subsidiary and IT was assembled to come up with the most cost-effective way to streamline and accelerate claims processing and improve customer service response time.
The client’s internal team developed a strong business case for implementing a centralized claims and imaging solution that would address the carrier’s needs. Info24 assisted with drafting the functional specifications and cost benefits analysis for this solution. Insurance724 then led the Vendor Selection and Evaluation process for this project using its proven set of assessment techniques, which included:
- Comprehensive Industry and Software Research
- Vendor Surveys
- Hands-on Product Demonstrations
- Vendor History and Performance Scorecard Analysis
- User Reference Checking
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) Risk Rating Analysis Functional & Technical Weighting & Scoring
Insurance724 deftly ran the vital Request for Proposal (RFP) process, assuring a level playing field for all vendors while serving the client’s best interests objectively and efficiently.
Insurance724’s systematic approach to vendor selection and evaluation and experience with running RFPs allowed the client to have:
1. An Efficient and Effective Vendor Selection and Evaluation Process
Insurance724 reduced the number of known vendors to a manageable size and eliminated those vendors who were not capable of meeting our client’s requirements. Because of Insurance724’s involvement, the client assessment team made better use of their limited time, focusing only on those candidates that could provide a solution and maintain the overall project momentum.
Acting as an objective, single point of contact for vendors during the RFP stage, Insurance724 ensured a level playing field for all participants. Each vendor was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and intent to bid.
2. Quicker User Adoption and Enhanced Outsourcing Partnership
Insurance724 arranged and managed the multiple vendor visits to the carrier for demonstration and proposal presentations. The “hands-on” workshops allowed the various stakeholders to participate, analyze and compare the different solutions. This direct contact with the software and vendors proved to be a seedling for the smooth transition and widespread user acceptance of the new systems.
Other important stakeholders included the in-house, technical resources. They were given direct access to the competing vendors as part of the RFP process. The technical staff was given the opportunity to drill down into the architecture, design and integration requirements for each solution offered. These sessions resulted in a clearer understanding the overall technical effort and resource requirements for the project. Additionally, the internal project team was able to meet and dialogue with some of the vendor resources that would be involved later during the implementation phase. When the final vendors were chosen for the claims and imaging, a sense of partnership had already been established between the carrier and vendors, which made for a faster and cleaner project kick-off.
3. Cost-Effective and Painless Negotiations
Insurance724 set the right tone for negotiations by making sure each vendor offered the client their solutions at a fair price. By helping our client clearly define its requirements and scope, Insurance724 positioned the carrier to get the best deal possible from its vendors. The well-run RFP further minimized risks and uncertainty for all parties. Pleased with the final deal that was inked, everyone walked away from the table smiling.
Executives at a property and casualty insurance carrier issuing $700 million dollars in business annually did not have access to the disaggregated product and customer information they needed to run and grow their particular lines of business. The data warehouse had failed twice at the beginning of the previous year. Existing reports only provided an aggregate view of business that was not comparable across lines of business and did support the decision-making needs of executives from specific lines of business.
Insurance724 utilized its Business Dimensional Lifecycle approach to design and delivery a data warehouse solution on time and on budget for the personal automobile product line. We designed the data warehouse’s technical architecture and developed Microsoft Visio diagrams to aid in its discussion. The goal was to transform mainframe flat-files into a relational database. The ETL tools proposed were Common Business-Oriented Language, EMC Corporation’s InfoMover, and Microsoft SQL Server’s Data Transformation Services.
The source platform was an IBM Operating System 390 mainframe, and we recommended that the target platform be a Microsoft Structured Query Language Server database on a Microsoft Windows 2000 server. Three 2000 servers would be necessary to support the warehouse’s lifecycle, and we outlined the hardware and software specifications for each.
Insurance724 consultants led the data modeling sessions and lend in-depth software development and database knowledge to the team as it sought to interpret and implement the IBM Insurance Information Warehouse (IIW) model.
When the two initial source systems had been mapped and development began in earnest, we transitioned to a programming team leadership role. We developed the team’s project plan for the next several months and began managing each member’s daily contributions.
We also implemented security both on Microsoft SQL Server and the Windows 2000 machines, and worked with the programming team to incorporate these changes into their code. We then established a version-control process, and instructed everyone on its use. We also managed the team’s unit and volume testing.
The first phase of the data warehouse (which included two mainframe source systems) was successfully implemented on time and under budget at the end of the year. At this time, we defined the project plan for the second phase, which was expected to take 9 months. We identified several ways to shorten the timeframe to 6 months, including the team’s need for an additional team leader and two more full-time developers. The project plan and the need for these three additional resources were then presented to the CIO and approved.
Now that all of the platforms, standards and processes were in place, we began training another manager to lead the data warehouse project – even while we continued to manage several outstanding items from the first phase and the entire development cycle of the next two source systems
The carrier estimates that the product and customer knowledge, efficiency and flexibility provided by this new “decision support system” for executives amounts to $10 million in savings. These savings are derived from:
1. Better and faster executive decision-making.
Executives can quickly and easily access reliable, accurate information for their particular lines of business. The high-level figures can be rolled-down to a detailed transactional view for a comprehensive, in-depth diagnosis of product sales and customer information.
2. Improved data quality.
The enterprise data is organized and structured so that it’s easier to navigate and mine for an executive’s specific line of business. The operational detail has been tailored and “scrubbed” to enable executives to plan and manage their sales, product mixes and profitability. The system’s security features allow the carrier to determine who can mine the value that is found in its enterprise warehouse of claims and policy information as well as how.
3. Enhanced flexibility and modularity.
Because the data warehouse design and architecture can adapt to changes in the carrier’s underlying operational systems, there is less risk of business disruption if its original systems are changed in the future. In fact, the client is already planning to expand the scope of the enterprise data warehouse to include its life and commercial automobile products information.
This Healthcare insurance company is one of the country’s leaders in the health care sector providing Healthcare and Pharmaceutical benefit services. It has over 6 million members across the country and also provides health and pharmaceutical insurance to expats all over the world. Pharmaceutical benefit management is a process of managing prescription drug programs. The PBM is responsible for adjudicating and paying prescription drug claims, developing and maintaining formularies, contracting with the different pharmacies, and negotiating rebates with pharmaceutical manufacturers. The process of managing and billing rebate contracts based on the millions of claims adjudicated each quarter for the different generic and prescription brand drugs is called rebate billing. These rebate contracts are based on both the benefit plan details of the Company’s members and the claim attributes of individual claims. The rebate system must have accurate benefit data for all its members (over 6 million) and the claim level data for 10-20 million claims each quarter in order to accurately bill the pharmaceutical manufacturers for rebates. With the benefit plans and contracts changing and increasing in complexity constantly, the need for more accurate and timely benefit and claim level information was great. Even a minor piece of information missing could cause several million dollars in rebates lost.
Info724 ltd. was hired to analyze the company’s pharmaceutical claims and rebate billing processes and identify opportunities for improvement and increased revenue generation by making the billing process more efficient. The project team at Info724 interviewed all key personnel from every department and at all levels to understand and map the current pharmacy processes and data flows. Then the team identified several opportunities for improvement and created solution steps for each along with an ROI cost-benefit analysis. Then we created ideal scenarios for each strategy in detail going down to the individual systems, feeds, databases and down to the field level. The solution path options were then presented to the president and management team along with the road map and including the ROI cost-benefit analysis for each.
The best option was recommended and Info724 was hired again to implement the solution which was implemented in an extremely short period of 2-3 months. As a result of the implemented solution the company was able to record a revenue increase of approx. $2 million quarterly which was much more than forecasted.
Due to the tremendous success of the project and the swift implementation, Info724 was hired again to provide Business/Systems analysis services by the company for a huge integration project.
This Healthcare insurance company is one of the country’s leaders in the health care sector providing Healthcare and Pharmaceutical benefit services. It has over 6 million members across the country and also provides health and pharmaceutical insurance to expats all over the world. The company had recently acquired another Healthcare company and their Pharmacy divisions needed to be integrated together first followed by their medical divisions. Info724 was brought in to provide Requirement gathering, analysis and design help to both the companies.
The complexity of the project was huge not only because both Companies had their own individual needs but also because of the number of external and internal systems and vendors involved and the technology gaps along with data integration issues. Also the Rebate contracts that the new company had were vastly different from those that the parent company had with the various parties such as Pharmaceutical manufacturers and Members. It was decided to build a Rebate billing and contract management system from the ground up using the newest technologies and making it extremely flexible and dynamic to account for the ever changing contracting landscape.
Due to the high degree of complexity and many moving parts of this project the best approach was to provide the client with experienced Info724 personnel onsite, who had worked on developing and designing their Pharma systems before. Info724 provided Business analysis, systems design and Data Analysis services along with some project management service. The year and a half long project was one of the most successful projects ever undertaken at Cigna and project team that included Cigna and Info724 personnel was well appreciated
Inspite of several problems and road blocks along the way the project was implemented within the deadline and yet again there was additional revenue (Approx $2.4 million) generated from increased billing because of system efficiencies, additional flexibility and complexity built into the new system. The new system that was architected on a completely rules based design giving the power of contract management to the business user. It also gave the power to do what-if scenarios and contract modeling to the management in order to optimize contract negotiation for the benefit of the company.
Due to the tremendous success of the project and the swift implementation, Info724 was hired again to provide Business/Systems analysis services by the company for a huge integration project.