Southern Mutual Church Insurance Triples Revenue without Growing Staff
Client:Southern Mutual Insurance Company
- Facilitate growth in written premium and into other states with limited in-house IT resources
- CSC’s POINT IN policy administration software and Continuous Delivery Program
- Tripled revenues
- Expanded states without increasing staff,
- Improved speed to market and customer service
Nestled firmly in the Bible Belt, Southern Mutual Church Insurance built its business by providing comprehensive commercial coverage to church congregations of all sizes.
The Columbia, South Carolina-based company insures about 7,500 churches in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee, providing a multi-peril package policy, workers’ compensation and commercial vehicle protection for vans and buses, as well as umbrella coverage.
Southern Mutual Church Insurance decided more than a decade ago to support its growing business with CSC’s policy administration software. Since then, the company has worked with CSC to keep the system continuously updated, while premium revenues tripled — from $10 million to $30 million in six years.
“We’ve been able to quickly expand our offerings and our coverage area over the past few years without adding any key personnel in underwriting or claims,” said Chris Varnadoe, support services manager at Southern Mutual Church Insurance. “And I’m still basically the only technical person we have, a one-man IT shop. We’ve been able to do this because of CSC’s POINT IN software.”
Streamlining the Upgrade Process
Varnadoe, a 25-year employee at the company, has seen CSC’s policy administration software evolve into a modern, Web browser-based system that’s part of CSC’s Continuous Delivery Program.
Under the program, Southern Mutual Church Insurance and every other carrier using POINT IN C.0 receives continuous delivery releases of code that keep the system current. Rather than waiting for an annual release of the product — and another major upgrade project — Varnadoe can make smaller, incremental updates.
The company also participates in CSC’s Innovation Community program, which allows clients to incorporate custom enhancements into CSC products, thus reducing ongoing maintenance costs and simplifying the upgrade process. By participating in the Innovation Community, companies influence the direction of software development, leverage CSC’s research, development and best practices, and benefit from sharing knowledge and expertise with other leading insurance carriers.
“Being a one-person IT shop, I really appreciate that, since it allows us to make these updates on our own,” Varnadoe said.
Supporting the Insurance Enterprise
The system’s tight integration with various insurance functions such as policy, billing and claims has been key to supporting the company’s processing and basic workflows. The feature-rich system helped the company roll out new products more quickly, add new states and process claims and other work more efficiently.
“Our claims adjusters love the way it works as far as being able to turn around claims and get checks out as quickly as possible,” Varnadoe said.Southern Mutual Church Insurance has enhanced its customer service program with CSC’s integrated Media View tool, which keeps policy files, documents and multimedia files available at the click of a mouse — avoiding time-consuming searches through filing cabinets. “All of that technology helps our customers be happy with us, which really is what it’s all about,” Varnadoe said. He added that “CSC shares those goals.” “Over the years, I’ve come to see CSC as an extension of my IT department. We’re a small company but it’s like we’re a big company and we’re their only customer,” Varnadoe said, “even though we’re a member of a larger community.”
Growing with the Client Community
Southern Mutual Church finds substantial value in its participation in CSC’s client community, Varnadoe said. The community meetings have been extended by such tools as the WikonnecT, CSC’s business-to-business social networking site for insurance carriers.
Varnadoe said he’s enjoyed seeing both his company and the POINT IN community grow over the years.
“We were a $3 million company when we started with and we were sitting in this room with a hundred different companies, some writing $100 million to $300 million and you think, wow, ‘We’re using the same software they are,’” he said. “And we’re all here helping each other.”
Southern Mutual Church Insurance is known for customer service that extends to such extra efforts as providing extensive estimated values and loss-control recommendations, from measuring pews to appraising each pieced of stained glass window, before a policy is bound. That attention to detail and response to customer needs is something Varnadoe said he also sees as a member of the CSC community.
“CSC’s willingness to listen to customers, and the customers’ participation from the users’ group to the advisory council, really do allow for innovation while providing us with industry-proven best practices,” Varnadoe said.