The customer is a leading p/c carrier with a focus on protecting individuals, families and businesses with innovative P&C insurance products. They operate in 25 states with approximately $4 billion in total assets and an independent agent network of about 25,000.
Recognizing the Challenges
The carrier regularly takes top honors on insurance financial performance lists and ‘best places to work’ rankings, however, like most insurers it still relied on some legacy technologies and processes.
To continue meeting its growth and customer experience targets, the carrier’s leadership established a range of strategic modernization and digitization goals. During this exercise, they identified outdated customer-facing correspondence and related legacy form-generation tools as sources of significant inefficiencies.
“Our customer-facing documents range from one to 25 letter-sized pages,” explains their Manager of Business Systems. “Before, a document could be created by accessing a form in one of several decentralized ways, including our legacy mainframe print application; our in-house internet rating application; or company-generated Word 2007 and/or Adobe Templates. The content, however, was siloed and couldn’t be shared across systems and platforms.”
To solve such challenges, the carrier set out on a multi-year streamlining, centralizing and automation initiative. This would provide customer communications management (CCM) efficiencies, reduce a variety of maintenance costs and introduce appropriate governance to minimize corporate risk.
Adopting a Solution
The first step was deploying OpenText Exstream as the company’s modern CCM platform.
Concurrently, a business team reviewed its existing 2,380 Microsoft Word templates for and determined 1,100 Word-based templates needed conversion. The team also began teaching itself to use to Extstream’s Empower Editor and started writing form specifications.
However, the carrier lacked the resources to convert 1,100 Word templates within the required timeframe and tapped Exstream for advice. Exstream recommended evaluating a trusted integration partner, ValueMomentum.
After appropriate vetting, the carrier determined ValueMomentum was a good fit for a strategic IT partnership in terms of both culture and expertise. “Among other things, ValueMomentum came with strong Agile expertise and recommended using agile methodology for the project in order to achieve our goals within our compressed time frame,” according to the Manager of Business Systems.
Realizing the Benefits
Working closely with the carrier’s business and IT teams, ValueMomentum engineered a project-specific Agile framework for completing what was called the Word Template Conversion Phase. The phase was comprised of a series of 10 Sprints, nine of which coincided with a specific business unit and their forms, with the final Sprint focused on shared department forms.
During the course of the ensuing Sprints, ValueMomentum also completed two related integrations with OpenText Empower Editor. These included integrating the carrier’s home-grown web-based loss control and underwriting application plus its home-grown claims solution.
However, soon after starting the Word template Sprints, the project hit a roadblock. As the carrier had no prior experience with creating forms specifications, and lacked Empower Editor training for doing so, ValueMomentum discovered that the insurer’s initial specifications were misaligned with Empower Editor.
“We relied on ValueMomentum’s expertise for revising the forms specifications,” according to the Manager of Business Systems. “This included creating an appropriate process for developing forms specifications and designing a new specifications training program.”
Despite the hurdles, all 1,100 forms were converted within the original 15-month timeline. Concurrently, about 50 people were retrained on proper form specification development.
“Our business users have enthusiastically embraced our new browser-based forms portal,” according to the Manager of Business Systems. “Users are also excited about having modern document creation capabilities – such as auto prefill, auto computations and auto references – at their fingertips, while still retaining the ability to appropriately customize and personalize in order to generate relevant customer communications.”
Quantitatively, the project achieved impressive results. “We’ve reduced form volume by 28%, for forms previously generated using Word templates,” says the Manager of Business Systems. “Based on business user experiences thus far, we expect annual savings of 70,000 hours once the pre-filled forms creation and centralized printing capability are fully enabled for all forms.”
Naturally, the carrier will continue adding capabilities to its new forms portal, such as e-signatures. Additionally, it plans to migrate the remaining pre-initiative forms processes from its legacy mainframe print application and in-house Internet rating solution.
“When completed, we’ll be able to offer more options for co-branding with agents and eventually even extend some types of customer-facing document creation to our distribution network,” according to the Manager of Business Systems. “This will assist us with being a preferred partner for our 25,000 independent agents while ensuring we maintain a strong governance position.”
“Additionally, our business users now have a quality Agile experience to benchmark against for future projects,” he adds. “In short, the forms conversion project is big 360° win for our brand.”