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CSAA Leverages Policy Admin App for Membership System

The California State Automobile Association has taken a major step in a multi-year systems transformation with the launch of its MemberPoint membership system, based on The Innovation Group's policy administration system.

The California State Automobile Association (CSAA, San Francisco) has taken a major step in a multiyear systems transformation with the launch of its MemberPoint membership system, based on The Innovation Group's (TiG, Hartford) policy administration system. The system's April 11 go-live date marks a milestone in CSAA's effort to provide seamless service to agents and customers by implementing a single system for its Automobile Club membership as a whole and its insurance customer subset.

The choice to base the MemberPoint system on the TiG Policy product was made in an effort to achieve flexibility in the management of both membership and insurance products in order to be more sensitive to member needs, market changes and competition, according to Marjorie Berte, vice president, CSAA, who is the business sponsor of the transformation initiative. CSAA's objective was, "to replace old technologies that were hindering our business model, growth, product flexibility and our ability to serve customers, but also to create a more integrated business model operating platform that sits on one technology platform," Berte says.

Berte cites the parallels between the emergency roadside and other services offered by the AAA Club affiliate and its insurance offerings as a rationale for the integrated management of those product lines. "For us it's the same customer for both, so we see a need to have an integrated business line," she says. "What we deliver is peace of mind and security -- both physical security at the roadside and financial recovery in the event of a disabled vehicle."

Through the single platform, Berte asserts, employees who have been navigating multiple systems will be better able to serve customers by virtue of a "common view." Launch of MemberPoint will be followed by implementation of what Berte terms a "wide but thin layer of CRM capability" later this year. "That common view will show up through CRM client view screens, and eventually [a resulting] 360-degree view at the point of customer contact will become critical to our strategy," Berte says.

Advantages to the TiG Policy solution include its MemberLink functionality that supports membership and insurance customer data in one repository, and its service oriented architecture, which eases integration with third party rating, rules and eligibility systems. The launch of MemberPoint required migration of about 3.3 million membership records, which was done using TiG's Conversion tool. The migration was executed at a near 100 percent rate, with only 152 individual membership entries requiring rekeying.

Berte notes, however, that that adaptation of the insurance technology product to membership was not easy. "It was more difficult than we thought it would be at the outset," she acknowledges. Nevertheless, she says, "it's a really excellent business strategy for us. One of the biggest advantages of the solution is TiG's "policy factory" capability to configure both membership and insurance products, according to Berte. "And the fact that we're able to put historically different lines of business on one platform leveraging a single client database is a tremendous business advantage," she says.

Migrating membership data onto the system first was a logical step, given that, first, insurance customers are a subset of members -- roughly 40 percent are also policyholders; and, second, that membership products are simpler. "The membership product comes in two flavors and generally involve a single annual payment. So in terms of product configuration, membership is simpler," Berte explains. "That then becomes the foundational database when we begin to convert the insurance over."

That migration -- which is likely to happen early next year -- was preceded by the decommissioning and replacement of an old incentive compensation system with a Callidus (San Jose, Calif.) product, a learning management system, and what Berte describes as "the biggest single piece of the deployment, which was all of the environments and technology -- basically the whole infrastructure framework on which the membership system -- and, subsequently, the auto insurance system will fit."

"I think the toughest part is behind us now," Berte continues. "There's nothing simple about an auto conversion on the scale we're going to do it, but the infrastructure and the applications are in place, and we're learning a lot through the early implementation, which will help us to be flawless when we get to the automobile [insurance] portion."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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