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I&T Staff
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SOA Score

AAA Carolinas achieves rapid ROI by leveraging IBM WebSphere to tie together policy admin and document management.

Charlotte, N.C.-based AAA Carolinas has joined the ranks of insurance companies adopting service-oriented architecture (SOA). The company announced in September that it had achieved a return on its investment in SOA in less than two months, based on reduced policy processing time, lowered document handling costs, and a customer acquisition and retention spike of 60 percent.

One of the Automobile Association of America's largest affiliates, AAA Carolinas - which has approximately 1.5 million members - was motivated to pursue the architectural overhaul by both market pressures and technology opportunities, according to Harry Johns, the carrier's manager of insurance IT. The company faces heavily regulated insurance rates within North Carolina and needed to increase efficiency and customer-related performance, he explains. "Our imperatives were to provide better service and customer relations and to cut expenses," Johns says.

A key driver of AAA Carolinas' decision to rearchitect was a vendor redesign of the company's core insurance system - CSC's (Austin, Texas) PointIn system - into a browser-based application. Given the opportunity, AAA Carolinas adopted RJS Software's (Burnsville, Minn.) Web-based WebDocs iSeries document imaging and management solution, and tied the systems together within an SOA based on IBM's (Armonk, N.Y.) WebSphere integration middleware. "IBM is providing the platform and delivery mechanism to use the insurance services and document management services provided by CSC and RJS in such a way that the two separate products look as if they're part of the same application," Johns says.

Integration of the systems has reduced the time needed for both insurance processing and customer interaction dramatically. "Everything is immediately accessible," Johns comments.

The SOA also gives AAA Carolinas increased agility. "This architecture gives us the ultimate flexibility," Johns remarks. "Where it used to take us weeks to create interfaces, we can now hook products together in a matter of days."

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