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North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. will use a business process management application from Clear Technology to automate manual processes in its policy processing center.

Raleigh-based North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. (NCFB) will use a business process management (BPM) application from Clear Technology (Westminster, CO) to automate manual processes in NCFB's policy processing center.

NCFB will use Clear Technology's Tranzax product to automate business functions for policy application, renewal and changes, says Pam Hiovich, operations division manager at NCFB, and project manager on the Tranzax implementation. "All 23 of our lines are very manual and Transax is going to automate the manual processes and the rating," initially in NCFB's dwelling, mobile homeowner, inland marine and personal injury coverage insurance product lines. Hiovich says that Transax will be running by mid-September.

According to Hiovich, NCFB chose Clear Technology over other application providers because "when we were in talks with the vendors, Clear Technology had a better understanding of our business processes. They spent a lot of time with us and knew exactly what we needed," she says.

"Currently our agents send applications, renewals and changes on paper," Hiovich adds. "We will still be doing the data entry here, but Tranzax will make the entry more simplified." Tranzax will replace NCFB's current 3270 screens with graphical user interface (GUI) screens and drop-down menus. Specific goals of the project include a reduction of overtime and more efficient use of staff resources, which will allow NCFB to substantially grow its business without adding additional staff. Additionally, NCFB aims to reduce training requirements and the learning curve for new employees.

"We see opportunities to expand our business, substantially improve our quality of processing, and increase our market share," according to Linda Squires, executive of operations and information systems at NCFB. "When we started looking at BPM technologies, we quickly realized we could realize these corporate goals, but only if we found a BPM solution that addressed the most complex, people-intensive activities that take place in our business."

Although future plans have not been formalized, Hiovich says that NCFB may eventually extend Tranzax's functionality to other product lines and could even have agents enter information directly over Web-based technology. "In the future, we have some other products where the agent is entering applications into software. We may look at having Tranzax upload the data" into NCFB's systems, she says.

Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

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