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Nick O'Connor
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Pharmacists Mutual Expands Use of iPartners Performance Management Reporting Services Across the Enterprise

Pharmacists Mutual finds iPartners' Insurance Scorecard adds speed and coherence to the carrier's performance intelligence efforts.


Pharmacists Mutual Companies (Algona, Iowa; $175 million in admitted total assets).

lines of business

Business and professional liability insurance for pharmacists.


iPartners' (Alpharetta, Ga.) Insurance Scorecard and iControl performance management applications.


Streamline policy and claims data sorting, and improve accuracy.

Information is power. But for Algona, Iowa-based Pharmacists Mutual ($175 million in admitted total assets), by 2004 the company's monthly performance reports were nearing obsolescence, according to Shirley Pierson, regional VP. "Using an AS/400 query tool, we had been generating static reports," she explains. "We needed to get more details more quickly than we could with the query tool."

Pharmacists Mutual's CSC (El Segundo, Calif.) policy administration system generates reports automatically at month end, but ad hoc requests for reports raised concerns about consistency, Pierson relates. The reports depended both upon the accuracy of the requesters' queries and IT staff's interpretation of those queries, and too often users making the same request found themselves reading different reports, she says. As a result, Pharmacists Mutual, which provides professional liability insurance for pharmacists, sought a solution to gain a consistent view of data across the enterprise.

The carrier had been working for more than a year with a vendor to develop a solution, but performance didn't live up to the promise, according to Pierson. She notes that the program was complicated to configure and required too much IT support. At that time, iPartners (Alpharetta, Ga.) contacted the insurer's COO about a proof of concept for the vendor's hosted performance management tool, Insurance Scorecard. Pharmacists handed iPartners the project in early 2004. "The cost was fairly minimal," says Pierson. "If they could accomplish the end result we were looking for during the proof of concept, we felt we had found our solution." Installation and testing prior to rollout that summer of Insurance Scorecard to its first users, Pharmacists Mutual's executive managers, were completed within 90 days, followed by user training, Pierson adds.

The Insurance Scorecard provides a consistent, companywide picture of the insurer's fluctuating workflow and claims reserves through a Web interface, according to Pierson. It enables a user to create, for example, a dashboard report of premium data by state, region and producer. In addition, users can further detail reports "down to the granular level," Pierson says.

The iPartners solution has worked well in Pharmacists Mutual's IT environment, Pierson continues. The environment consists of an IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) iSeries 825 running under a V5R3 operating system. The server infrastructure includes two IBM 445 servers and 45 virtual servers. The carrier's policy admin system uploads data monthly to iPartners via an FTP site. "The beauty of this whole thing is that we have not needed to use our IT staff or equipment resources to [generate] reports," Pierson says. The hosted service costs about 2 percent of the carrier's annual IT budget, she adds.

In 2005 Pharmacists Mutual added management staff users, and in February 2006, 45 field representatives began using the Insurance Scorecard portal. Users can ask complex questions without being database experts, and responses are immediate, leading to better risk management, Pierson asserts.

In April 2006, iPartners introduced a new application, iControl, which Pharmacists Mutual uses to create customized reports that combine key result areas. Impressed by the ease of use, functionality and consistent results of the iPartners products, the insurer plans to replace all static reports with iPartners' reports and to add new reports for data yet to be examined, Pierson notes.

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