Co-operative Insurance Supports Growth with Integrated Policy Administration
Client:Co-operative Insurance Companies
- Build new business by modernizing its legacy environment and extending services over the Web
- CSC’s POINT IN suite, modernizing the entire insurance back office and integrating all critical policy administration functions onto one platform
- Grew premium from $33 million to $50 million
- Expanded into neighboring New Hampshire
- Increased the company's range of distributors
While technology plays a strategic role in its business plan, Co-operative Insurance Companies has always seen its true competitive advantage as its experienced, knowledgeable people. Technology choices are made with an eye toward helping Co-operative’s staff better serve their policyholders and agents.
Headquartered in Middlebury, Vermont, Co-operative made a commitment early on to use one policy administration system to support the company well into the future. Over time, the company’s decision to go with CSC has supported more than 70 percent in growth — from $33 million to $50 million in written premium — and provided the foundation for expansion into neighboring New Hampshire and a wider range of distributors.
“One of the things that make us different from other carriers is really our people,” said Ted Davis, senior vice president of Information Services at Co-operative. “We want to use CSC’s technology to enable our people to do a better job so we can satisfy our customers and make a profit. When you look at what we can offer and what we’re spending on IT, we measure up very well against the larger regional carriers that compete with us.”
Consolidating Multiple Systems
Like many property and casualty companies in the days leading up to Y2K, Co-operative built and maintained most of its systems in-house. However, the company was relying on an outsourcer to manage its personal auto operations, which meant the IT staff was having to manage the flow of information between two disparate policy systems.
“It proved to be difficult to manage, which is why we looked at the total solution CSC offered,” Davis said. “We looked at three other vendors at the time but in the end we chose CSC. Since then, those other vendors are all out of business, so it really turned out to be a very wise business decision.”
With the relationship between Co-operative and CSC beginning in 1997, the company has seen continued advancements to CSC’s processing technology — from the original green screen user interface to today’s modern, browser-based versions.
The system’s ease of use, allowing users to immediately access summary information and quickly navigate to policy, billing and claims details, is a major asset for Co-operative’s employees. And it has helped simplify the task of training new employees. “You are basically two clicks away from performing any function,” Davis said. “You can find whatever you need without having to back out of a series of screens.”
CSC has also introduced a wide range of components, such as an electronic archive for media documents and real-time Web services to agents,that help extend the system to internal and external users. Co-operative used CSC’s Internet software to transform its agency portal with a full range of self-service capabilities — from quoting to online payments.
“We liked the fact that the integration was already built in,” Davis said. “Our administration system is so important for policy processing, billing and claims, so it was really vital that we found a front-end system that would work well with it.”
Accelerating the Upgrade Process
To help insurers keep pace with technology and take advantage of software enhancements faster, CSC introduced the Continuous Delivery Process for new releases of software products. Under the program, companies get incremental upgrades instead of having to wait up to a year for a general release. Many of the releases include new system features sponsored by other insurance companies using CSC’s software.
“We’re excited about the continuous delivery process,” Davis said. “It will enable us to take releases in small chunks and bring the enhancements to our users much quicker than ever before.”
Collaborating with Other Insurers
To influence ongoing development, Co-operative actively participates in CSC’s customer community, which includes both users’ groups and executive-level advisory councils.
“Part of CSC’s success is the users’ community and the different functions they have,” Davis said. “I think the users’ community and the advisory council are very beneficial. With the advisory council, you get the decision maker, the president or the CEO of the company participating and looking at the strategic vision for the product.”
Davis said he appreciates the fact that Co-operative has a voice in the process and is willing to listen. “It’s like a marriage — there’s give and take on both sides in order to be successful,” he said. “I think CSC listens to the customers, and we’ve had a good working relationship. That’s why we are where we are.”