Insurance & Technology is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


00:28 AM
Kristi Nelson
Kristi Nelson
Connect Directly

Intelligent Diagnosis

BusinessObjects helps medical malpractice firm The Doctors Company unite disparate systems to put critical information into the hands of business users.

Like many organizations, The Doctors Company (TDC; Napa, Calif.; $1 billion in assets) relied on a variety of databases to store information within multiple departments. These silos of information made it difficult to obtain a comprehensive view of the medical malpractice insurer's overall performance and hindered management's ability to make the right strategic decisions.

"We lacked the ability to look across the whole enterprise," says Craig Musgrave, SVP of technology at TDC. "Because we had disparate systems, it required a lot of expertise to get information. We had to have very specialized people who knew each of the systems."

Support From the Top

TDC's IT group had used a combination of BusinessObjects' (San Jose, Calif.) Crystal Reports, Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) Access and homegrown reporting tools to generate printed reports for managers. The company wanted a way to get critical information into the hands of business users without IT intervention.

TDC's Chairman and CEO Dr. Richard Anderson spurred the initiative. He "identified enterprise reporting as an area where the company could maximize its results by increasing the consistency of information gathered from each of the different departments," Musgrave says.

Musgrave and Jay Roadarmel, director of business systems analysis, set out to build a data warehouse and business intelligence (BI) platform. They evaluated tools from vendors including Cognos (Burlington, Mass.) and Brio (now Hyperion; Sunnyvale, Calif.), and eventually chose BusinessObjects' Application Foundation.

"BusinessObjects has been bullet proof," Musgrave says. "We didn't have to spend a lot of time trying to work around the technology - we could just focus on the business aspect," he adds.

The solution allowed the company to leverage its existing Oracle database and NT server platform, as well as its staff's knowledge of Crystal Reports, which was incorporated into the new BusinessObjects solution. A staged rollout began in November 2002 with the policy information module. Claims information was added in March 2003, completing the core data warehouse. In March 2004, the executive dashboard tool was completed.

The insurer has trained approximately 40 users from its underwriting, claims, marketing, finance, actuarial and IT departments to develop reports. Many more employees in government relations, premium accounting and risk management can view reports online.

The system allows the company to detect trends among policyholders and act immediately on the information to make consistent, high-quality decisions regarding malpractice coverage for member physicians. In addition, TDC uses BI to do risk analysis, monitor changes based on geography or with competitors, and examine operational performance metrics.

The return on investment was initially estimated at one to two years, based on a reduction in costs to produce reports and increases in efficiency. However, Musgrave says, the actual ROI has been hard to calculate. "From a soft dollar standpoint, the ability to deliver a report rapidly to business users is immense," he says. "Measuring that is very difficult, but we now know the right data is in the right hands."

TDC will continue to develop its business intelligence. It is currently planning to expand both the amount of data in the data warehouse and the breadth of analysis. According to Musgrave, "The ability of IT to deliver consistent data from these disparate systems can be delivered far more effectively and efficiently because of the tool sets we're using."

Case Study Profile


The Doctors Company (Napa, Calif.; $1 billion in assets).

Lines Of Business

Medical malpractice.


BusinessObjects' (San Jose, Calif.) Application Foundation.

The Challenge

Gather and analyze information from disparate systems.

Register for Insurance & Technology Newsletters