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Michael Grialou
Michael Grialou
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PMA Insurance Group Follows Vendor to Java-Based Platform

PMA Insurance Group weighed ease of use, the merits of a single reporting platform and cost-effectiveness in deciding whether to follow Hyperion's migration to a Java-based platform.

When Hyperion moved its business intelligence (BI) software in 2006 from Microsoft's (Redmond, Wash.) Visual Basic (VB) to Sun's (Santa Clara, Calif.) Java, Hyperion customer PMA Insurance Group, a subsidiary of PMA Capital Corp. ($2.6 billion in assets), had to decide whether to migrate to the new system. "It was a major upgrade involving a significant investment, so we felt it was proper to consider options," says Joe Flynn, the carrier's assistant vice president, application development.

Blue Bell, Pa.-based PMA first selected the Hyperion BI platform in 2001 to provide reporting capabilities for the carrier's customer-facing PMA Cinch Web-based risk management information system and subsequently leveraged Hyperion as its major internal reporting platform, Flynn relates. In deciding its response to Hyperion's migration to Java for the vendor's System 9 product, PMA weighed its options. [Redwood Shores, Calif-based Oracle acquired Hyperion in 2007.]

"We wanted a cost-effective solution that enabled us to have a single reporting platform ... on which both internal and external users could query the same data," Flynn says. "The platform also had to be extremely easy to use because we were going to have over 2,000 external customers and brokers using the platform."

PMA's internal reporting users include underwriters, brokers, claims professionals, financial analysts, marketing analysts and business developers. External users include broker distributors; customers of insurance services provided on a third-party-administrator basis by PMA; and policyholders, including "customers of our commercial property, general liability, fleet auto and casualty products," Flynn explains.

In mid-2006 PMA evaluated alternative solutions, including Business Objects' (New York) Crystal Reports and MicroStrategy 8 (McLean, Va.). Having verified that the Java-based Hyperion System 9 remained easy to use, the carrier decided to stick with the platform. "It was less costly to upgrade on Hyperion, in part because of what we had already invested in the platform," Flynn reports.

PMA began a phased implementation of Hyperion System 9 in April 2007. The upgrade required investment in new servers, reconfiguration of reporting capabilities and conversion of PMA's reporting library to Java. PMA's IT department undertook the work with assistance from Hyperion to configure the servers.

In May 2007 the carrier rolled out first-phase functionality, which included user log notes, diaries and incurred-change alerts, according to Flynn. With Phase 2 of the implementation, beginning in July 2007, PMA delivered dynamic query capabilities. The third phase, which is scheduled for completion in early 2009, involves replacing in-house-built library maintenance capabilities with those offered by the System 9 product.

Flynn cites a 2007 poll of insured clients as an indication of user acceptance of System 9-based reporting within PMA Cinch. "Ninety-six percent responded that the PMA risk management tool equals or surpasses any available tool," he reports.

PMA declines to comment on the cost of the Hyperion upgrade, but, Flynn says, "The original 2001 implementation delivered ROI within 18 months, and we're looking to do at least that well this time." While the functionality delivered by the new system meets users' expectations, Flynn adds, the carrier is exploring developing dashboard functionality in the future.


PMA Insurance Group, a subsidiary of PMA Capital Corp. (Blue Bell, Pa.; $2.6 billion in total assets).

lines of business

P&C, workers' compensation and other commercial lines.


Oracle's (Redwood Shores, Calif.) Hyperion System 9 platform.


Implement a single reporting platform for internal and external users.

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