Growth is good, but a company that is unprepared for rapid expansion can fall victim to its success. To ensure its ability to sustain growth, Melville, N.Y.-based AutoOne Insurance, which was formed in 2001 and more than doubled in size in 2003, adopted the Opus Suite of performance analytics tools from Opus Consulting Group (Chicago). AutoOne manages assigned risk obligations for its parent company, OneBeacon Insurance Group (Boston; approximately $320 million in annual revenue in 2004), a unit of White Mountains Insurance Group (Hanover, N.H.), and more than 30 other carriers.
Concerned about the credibility of performance management data in a manual environment, AutoOne's VP of underwriting, Myra Rakosky, sought an automated performance measurement solution in January 2004. She considered several vendors before signing a contract with Opus Group in March, Rakosky says, because, "They understood our work environment and the tools we needed to accurately measure our productivity." The deal-clincher, however, was Opus' guarantee that the solution - which cost just under $600,000 - would enable AutoOne to cut costs by $1.5 million. "We've nearly realized that in less than a year," says Rakosky, who adds that "We've also achieved a 30 percent increase in productivity."
Opus tailored the solution to AutoOne's unique business needs, Rakosky says. "It involved the mapping of our current processes, observation and analysis of these procedures, and installation of a frontline tool that would enable us to better measure and better manage performance," she explains.
The solution integrates data feeds from various systems to compile data on work volume, work completed and available resource hours, and enables AutoOne to measure the amount of time people spend on their core work functions against a consistent standard. "We can see where our productivity is on an individual, team or organizational basis, and managers are better able to assign work appropriately," Rakosky relates.
The system went live in July. "I assigned two managers to work alongside Opus Group consultants to learn the system," she explains. The solution runs a Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) Access database on an SQL server.
"No internal programming resources were required," Rakosky continues. "We did use IT resources to help accommodate data feeds from our policy administration system and our IT department ensured that we had enough server capacity. Otherwise, the system requires no more technical support than any other business application."
As AutoOne managers have become more familiar with the solution, they have discovered additional benefits. "It gives us more opportunity to develop our staff. We can talk with them about productivity and quality and show them what we mean because the data is so readily available," Rakosky says. "Our reports are automated and, as a result, have dramatically enhanced our ability to manage individual and team performance." AutoOne has been so impressed with the solution, Rakosky adds, that it expanded the system into its finance area and is looking into migrating it to the claims department.
Case Study Profile
AutoOne Insurance (Melville, N.Y.), a unit of OneBeacon Insurance Group (Boston; approx. $320 million in annual revenue).
Lines of Business
Assigned risk and voluntary auto plans.
Opus Group's (Chicago) Opus Suite of performance analytics tools.
Improve productivity and reduce expenses.