Agents submitting insurance applications to Austin, Texas-based Service Lloyds in 2003 were limited to mail, fax or e-mail, and, in turn, the workers' compensation carrier took up to five days to generate a quote. Noting the advancements other carriers had made in application processing, Service Lloyds ($375 million in total assets) decided to modernize its 20-year-old homegrown legacy system to handle ACORD XML and generate quotes online in real time. "We knew we had to enhance our system," says Joann Assawamatiyanont, IT director at Service Lloyds.
Assawamatiyanont knew the insurer's small IT department would have to partner with a vendor to build a sophisticated front end to handle ACORD XML. Determined to team with a well-known name in ACORD XML, Assawamatiyanont met with executives from Applied Systems (University Park, Ill.) to discuss the vendor's IVANS Transformation Station at an ACORD LOMA conference in 2003. IVANS Transformation Station is a group of real-time servers that translate information from a policy admin system to ACORD XML and provide a connection between agencies and carrier systems for online policy submission.
The vendor suggested that Assawamatiyanont also use Whitehill Technologies' (Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada) iConnect software to coordinate real-time quote responses back to the Transformation Station and other agency vendor systems by connecting the carrier's legacy systems with its eClient Web portal interface. Assawamatiyanont and her team spent three months researching Whitehill's systems. "They were much more tightly coupled with IVANS Transformation Station than any other bridge partner that we could work with," says Assawamatiyanont. So the carrier signed with IVANS and Whitehill in January 2004 at a cost of $300,000 for the first year.
Implementation began in January 2004, headed by a Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) .NET programmer from Service Lloyds and a Whitehill business process analyst. The carrier upgraded from an IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) iSeries 820 server to an iSeries i5 to handle ACORD data. Next, the team installed the IVANS server with the Whitehill iConnect Business Process Integration modeling engine, which accepts the inbound data as ACORD XML, invokes business processes to determine the transaction, applies the appropriate business rules and then transforms the data into ACORD XML. The carrier also installed a Dell (Round Rock, Texas) server to support Web services and two Dell servers to provide backup. After a midproject system redesign that included changes to the underwriting guidelines, the solution went live in February 2006.
As a result, the number of submissions the insurer receives has increased significantly. "Submissions are considerably up," says Assawamatiyanont. "Right now we are loosening up the underwriting guidelines for the system so it will decline fewer submissions," she adds.
In addition, the system's prefill capabilities have improved data accuracy and allow underwriters to spend more time underwriting and less time keying in information. Processing time, Assawamatiyanont notes, has been cut from five days to two days. "Our driving force here is the agents, and we want to be able to communicate with them so we can be the workers' compensation carrier of choice in Texas," she says.
Service Lloyds (Austin, Texas; $375 million in total assets).
lines of business
Applied Systems' (University Park, Ill.) IVANS Transformation Station and Whitehill's (Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada) iConnect.
Build a front end to automate application processing in ACORD XML and provide agents with quotes in real time.