Federated Automates Underwriting and Application Entry Tasks
- Improve new business and underwriting technology and processes
- CSC’s nbAccelerator software for new business automation
- Participation in CSC’s client community
- Automated key underwriting tasks and application entry processes
- Gained ability to scale for seasonal increases in volume
- Shortened training time from weeks to days
Streamlining New Business Processing for Life and Disability Income Insurance
Federated Insurance, recognized by Ward’s as a top performer in both the property and casualty and life and health insurance markets, provides risk management services for business owners and affinity groups. While Federated was undergoing a period of steady growth, an aging front-end application and other legacy support systems had become outdated and were not meeting the Owatonna, Minnesota-based carrier’s new business and underwriting needs.
Especially during seasonal sales contests, as agents sold increasing numbers of life and disability income insurance policies, Federated needed a new business system that could handle the spike in volume of incoming applications for underwriting.
Federated met the challenge by successfully deploying a midmarket version of CSC’s nbAccelerator®, the industry’s most complete new business automation software.
Federated worked with CSC to modify the software to support requirements of mid-tier carriers. Based on ACORD standards, nbAccelerator automates application submission and underwriting management, workflow and productivity reporting, and policy issue processing. CSC’s Business Analytics software integrates with nbAccelerator to help the multiline carrier monitor results and help managers assess the impact across the organization’s operations and financials.
“We wanted to leverage industry best practices to reduce administrative costs and improve the quality of our services. Working with CSC, we accomplished this,” said Miranda Dibble, IS resource manager, Life Application and Support, Federated Insurance.
Replacing Outdated with Automated
CSC helped ensure the new system provided workflows specifically for Federated’s new business, underwriting, disability income and personal history interview (PHI) pools. Then the two teams worked together to fine-tune the system’s automated underwriting features.
“We have automated ordering requirements based on age and amount rules, companion case linking — all of that functionality we didn’t have before we began using nbAccelerator,” Dibble said.
Today, the application entry staff no longer has to enter junk data just to keep the new business processing application going. The modern, standards-based software also positions Federated to better support its agents as field technology advances — as well as upgrade related systems such as policy administration.
“You can see the ACORD XML standards at work in the nbAccelerator application,” Dibble said. “I think the days of having an application built without standards, and that uses only proprietary formats, are long gone. It’s really important to be able to connect with other companies, other products, and standards like ACORD are really the only practical way to do that.”
Supporting Seasonal Increase in Volume
After working closely with CSC on the customizations, Federated rolled out features that included automated underwriting, automated MIB code translation, prior insurance checking and automatic ordering of requirements. The new software went into production a month before a new sales campaign began.
“There were a lot of long hours put in by the IT staff, on both the CSC and Federated sides,” Dibble recalled. “The partnership we had with CSC was absolutely critical to getting the system implemented.”
When the sales campaign kicked off, new software supported a threefold increase in volume. The next sales campaign generated an even higher response, and the staff managed to beat the company’s prior service levels for processing new business.
“The great thing about nbAccelerator is that it’s very configurable, very scalable,” Dibble said. “As we’ve tuned the system to help us handle those peak volumes, the workload is staying more current, and we’re immediately notified of missing information needed to keep cases moving.”
Federated also is benefitting from the companion case linking function, automated queuing of errors to the proper staff, and other reductions of redundant processes and manual handoffs.
“And our business users are happy they have one less front end that they have to work with,” Dibble said.
Internally, the company can more effectively deploy the people it needs to handle the work. For example, the life application entry process used to take a few weeks for a new or temporary staffer to learn. Now, with the intuitive, familiar browser-based interfaces, the process takes just 2 days, Dibble said.
Sharing Ideas with the CSC Community
Federated has been a CSC client for more than 20 years, using a wide range of CSC software for property and casualty as well as life insurance. In choosing to license nbAccelerator, Federated was thinking long term. “We wanted to make sure we had somebody who was going to be around for many years, which is why we looked to CSC,” she said.
Interacting with other CSC life and annuity clients is also beneficial. “Federated really appreciates the client community that CSC enables,” Dibble said. “There’s a lot of knowledge-sharing where CSC is informing us of development plans, and there are a lot of opportunities to learn from our peers.”