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06:03 PM
Lori Widmer
Lori Widmer
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Speedy Delivery

When AutoOne Insurance searched out a way to automate its financial processing, it found a wealth of time savings in Applix's TM1 solution.

As its business expanded, AutoOne Insurance (Melville, N.Y.) realized that its manual processes were slowing progress. More man-hours were being spent handling paper than on the more important functions of the business, according to the carrier's director of finance, Lisa Tancredi. Oddly, it took AutoOne longer to find a solution than it did to install it.

Tancredi never expected such a quick turnaround. In fact, she says, only a week prior to the start of the implementation, the company was still shopping for a vendor. "We decided on Applix about two months prior but did not sign the contract until a week before we went to training," Tancredi explains. Through extensive research and referrals from affiliates, AutoOne narrowed down the field to four or five vendors, she says. Westborough, Mass.-based Applix proved to be the standout.

According to Tancredi, AutoOne wanted to automate the financial reporting and planning portion of its assigned-risk business, which had been Excel-driven manual processes. "We wanted to provide management with information on a real-time basis," she says. "We had a wealth of data and we couldn't tap into it because we didn't have a live data feed."

In addition to providing AutoOne, a division of OneBeacon Insurance (Boston; $320 million in 2004 revenue), with the ability to "slice and dice" data, the solution had to be easy enough to implement and use so that someone without a programming background could configure the platform, Tancredi says. Enter Applix's TM1 business performance management application.

Upon viewing the product demo, Tancredi says, she was impressed with its simplicity. And the vendor's tactics made for a compelling demonstration - Applix used actual AutoOne data to demonstrate the application's capabilities. The solution met the carrier's criteria, "And we could still use Excel," she comments.

Implementation of the solution took just 21 days, including training for Tancredi and an associate. One week of training later, Tancredi and Applix's IT folks were working on the data feed from which Tancredi's team developed the blueprint of the application's function. Tancredi then went about training the remainder of the seven executives who would use the application. The biggest challenge, she notes, was determining the project's scope. "We actually had so many choices in building the platform that it was overwhelming to decide which direction to go," Tancredi says.

As a result of the implementation, "We reduced our month-end closing process by three days, and we've saved 80 to 85 percent in man-hours on our budget process," Tancredi relates. The fact that the company didn't have to hire more personnel as the business expanded created additional savings. The cost of the software and implementation was roughly $75,000, and as a portion of the overall finance budget, yearly maintenance is minimal, according to Tancredi.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of TM1 is the flexibility it has brought to the company, Tancredi speculates. "We're able to respond to changes in the market on a real-time basis," she says. As the carrier adds new products, Tancredi relates, it's "relatively simple" to add them into the current TM1 structure. "That's the real savings - we don't have to spend weeks to incorporate this into the system."


Case Study Profile


AutoOne Insurance Company (Melville, N.Y.), a division of OneBeacon Insurance Group ($320 million in annual revenue).

Lines Of Business

Limited Assignment Distribution assigned risk for the auto insurance industry.


Applix's (Westborough, Mass.) TM1 business performance management application.


Fully automate financial planning and reporting processes.

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