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OneBeacon has gone live with its first major policy administration deliverable, involving the deployment of Sapiens International's Web-based Policy INSIGHT administration system.

OneBeacon (Boston) has gone live with its first major policy administration deliverable, involving the deployment of Sapiens International's Web-based Policy INSIGHT administration system, in a business and technology turnaround dating from the former CGU's 2001 acquisition by White Mountains Group (Bermuda). The system has gone into production with OneBeacon's commercial package and commercial auto, with workers' compensation and umbrella to follow early next year.

Begun April 1, 2002, Policy INSIGHT was developed using IBM's WebSphere and Sapiens' (Research Triangle, NC ) eMerge rules-based development platform. Among its benefits are accelerated business acquisition and agent empowerment through integration directly into OneBeacon's core infrastructure applications and third-party systems and services, according to Sapiens. The system reduces customer response time through a "quick quote" feature with application and policy information clearance capabilities; facilitates agent and underwriter collaboration, allowing real-time policy issuance, and gives agents the ability to support all policy life cycle transactions over the Internet, the vendor claims. It also reportedly delivers the ability to give OneBeacon the ability to rapidly configure new rates, products and lines of business.

OneBeacon invested in Policy INSIGHT after cutting its losses at $50 million on a previous policy administration effort, relates Mike Natan, CIO, OneBeacon. "I think we were going to throw a lot of good money after bad to make it work," he comments. By the time the workers' comp and umbrella lines are in production, Policy INSIGHT will have cost $16 million, Natan says. The carrier's personal lines will also be brought on the Sapiens platform, bringing the price tag to a total of approximately $25 million.

However, that figure needs to be reckoned along with the gains from sun-setting legacy systems. "For the systems we just put into production, we're going to retire seven systems," of a total of nearly 50 in the long haul, Natan says. "Our maintenance costs have gone from $120 million in 2001 to a projected $75 million next year," he adds.

The failure of the previous project had left the pre-OneBeacon IT department with a reputation of "not being able to deliver anything, so we started from a very bad place," observes Natan, who arrived in June 2001 in a consultant capacity.

If there is one down side to the current success, it is in the vein of no good deed going unpunished, Natan jests. When setting dates for the Policy INSIGHT rollout, OneBeacon's CEO constantly reminded him that he had never seen a project come in on-time and within budget, Natan relates. Expectations have changed, however. "We were approved for the personal lines project at the beginning of May, and we're talking about a December deliverable," Natan says. "So you can see the times have shrunk considerably."

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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