American National Increases Automation to Speed Underwriting and New Business
- Consolidate and modernize systems for underwriting and core processing
- CSC's nbAccelerator software for underwriting, CyberLife software for policy administration, and VP/MS software for rules and calculations
- Streamlined new business processes
- Increased automated underwriting volume
- Consolidated five policy administration systems
Once known as a home service company, American National has transitioned into a mid-sized multi-line carrier with an ever-growing, complex line of life insurance and annuity products, including a range of variable and indexed products.
To help increase new business sales, American National began focusing on sales of simplified risk products. However, the Galveston, Texas-based company needed to introduce a new underwriting system that would support automated underwriting and streamlined processes.
The company had relied on the Lincoln Underwriting System for many years, but the software was out of date and no longer supported. After reviewing several new business systems on the market, American National chose CSC’s nbAccelerator® software to create an end-to-end new business process.
‘By Far the Best’ New Business Solution
“nbAccelerator was by far the best thing that we found,” said Meredith Mitchell, vice president, Application Development and Support at American National. “There were other systems out there that would do the automatic ordering of requirements and receiving of requirements. But there were no other engines that we found that would allow you to put your rules in and would apply logic to the cases and get the auto issue rates that we wanted out of our business.”
The system allowed American National to automatically order requirements such as laboratory tests and then automatically evaluate the results using company-defined new business rules.
“One of the benefits we’re reaping is the ability to tweak the rules ourselves,” Mitchell said. “It’s been very easy to go in there and make the changes that need to be made. We’ve been gradually raising the face amount for computer-issue cases, and our auto-approval rates are on the rise.”
In addition to streamlining the new business process, American National is extending self-service capabilities to policyholders. Under the first phase, policyholders were given access to policy information including policy values.
“Phase two is going to allow updates to their policies for certain things,” Mitchell said.
“It’s also going to put us in the business of electronic delivery of our documents, and we’re also looking at electronic bill pay. The third phase is going to expand that and allow them to update more and more of their policy information.”
Simplifying Through Consolidation
About a decade ago, such modernizations projects would have been difficult if not impossible for the IT staff at American National. Before undertaking a major systems consolidation, the company managed five different policy administration systems, most of which were more than 30 years old and still using Assembler code. These systems required lengthy batch cycles every night, and the process of creating specifications and coding new products was time-consuming and prone to mistakes.
The company evaluated several products on the market, including CyberLife®, CSC’s Web-enabled software that supports the full enterprise including product definition, underwriting, administration, billing and collection and claims. Ultimately, the company chose to consolidate its life and annuity systems and more than 3 million policies onto CyberLife.
“CSC provides rich product support and a well-respected staff,” Mitchell said. “CSC’s industrial-strength systems support some of the nation’s largest carriers. We trusted that we were moving into a long-term relationship with a stable vendor that knows the industry.”
Accelerating Product Introduction
American National’s product introduction timeframe has greatly improved. By integrating VP/MS with CyberLife, American National has been able to reduce the testing and verification effort required for new products, as well as boost the product knowledge base in the IT organization.
Another key strategy following the consolidation was for the company to keep its systems current — or at least within two versions of the current release of CyberLife.
“The main benefit we derive from staying current is product development,” Mitchell said. “Many of the enhancements CSC makes to the system apply to products that we want to put up right now, but if we’re behind we have to cherry pick those enhancements from multiple releases, which can be time-consuming and expensive. We find that when we’re current, we stay out of the critical path.”
American National participates in several key aspects of CSC’s client community including CSC’s Client Advisory Board, Executive Roundtable and software users’ meetings.
“We’ve really gotten a lot of value out of all of these different forums over the years,” Mitchell said. “It gives me a business perspective on what’s going on out there, what companies are up to and what CSC is going to do in order to respond to some of those needs. So it’s been very helpful.”