As Amerisure's policy processing needs evolved, the inadequacies of its workers' compensation policy processing system grew. The situation was so troublesome that before the underwriter of workers' comp, auto, property, general liability, package, fire and inland marine insurance began its search for a vendor that could solve the problem, a team of underwriters, IT and business staffers spent a year defining all of the old system's information and data elements, as well as the platforms needed to support each line of business.
The old system was "based on older business rules and technology. It was very rigid and inflexible and we couldn't get the information that we needed to make proper business decisions," says Frank Petersmark, vice president of information technology, Amerisure ($1.2 billion in assets, Farmington Hills, MI), of the mainframe system that resided on IBM's (Armonk, NY) CICS (Customer Information Control System) platform. Also troublesome was the fact that, because of the system's age, it was hard to find employees who could support it.
Because it planned to first roll out a workers' compensation policy processing system, the team brought its workers' comp ideas and needs to the market. The Amerisure team was in search of a system that had more accurate rating and could produce automated forms and policies. Also, it was important that Amerisure's new policy processing system had a workflow mechanism and resided on a platform that the insurer could build upon to eventually process all other commercial lines policies sold and administered by the organization, according to Petersmark.
After reviewing a number of products, the team's project manager visitedDenver-based Taliant Software to review its Power Comp system, which consists of policyholder services, claims management and work management systems, as well as administration and shared tools.
"Amerisure was shown the product and we knew Taliant was on to something," says Petersmark. "Members of the team knew that this product would take us a far way down the road because they had already done a lot of work that we would have had to do."
In September 2000, the Amerisure IT team began communicating its requirements to the vendor and the company's business rules were integrated with PowerComp. Modifications were made so that the system could handle Amerisure's forms, says Petersmark. A significant part of the systems implementation was a six- to eight-month testing period. Eventual users tested the system and provided feedback (dealing mostly with the process and navigation of the Microsoft Windows-based application), and modifications were made.
Training was an additional necessity for the success of the system, and Amerisure opted for a "train-the-trainer" approach. Several employees from each of Amerisure's offices were taught by Taliant representatives how to use Power Comp. They, in turn, trained other co-workers. Also, so new employees and users had something to refer to post-training, the carrier developed an e-learning program with Performix Group (Southfield, MI).
"We developed the e-learning tool as part of our multi-pronged approach to training," says Petersmark. Amerisure went live with the workers' comp policy processing system in July 2001.
"We are utilizing a new technology and platform that doesn't take up as much training time," says Petersmark. Additionally, the carrier is realizing greater data integrity, says Petersmark, who adds this is only the first step for Amerisure's upgrade of its policy processing systems. He expects that commercial auto policy administration will be upgraded to the PowerComp platform by February 2004.
Case Study Closeup
Amerisure, Farmington Hills, MI, $1.2 billion in assets.
LINES OF BUSINESS:
Workers' compensation, auto, property, general liability, package, fire and inland marine.
Taliant Software's (Denver) Power Comp, IBM's (Armonk, NY) CICS platform.
Implement a new policy processing system.