Insurers Keep Software Current with Continuous Delivery Program
Client:CSC’s Property and Casualty Insurance Clients
- Keep essential software up-to-date while avoiding large, disruptive upgrade projects
- CSC’s Continuous Delivery program, which provides customers with incremental software updates as they become available
- Enhanced business value of software
- Eased the release upgrade process
- Future-proofed technology investments
When Minnesota-based Federated Insurance replaced its in-house billing system with CSC’s Exceed software, the company knew from experience the challenges of keeping systems up to date. Updating the old system was increasingly challenging and time consuming. So when the company moved to Exceed, Federated took advantage of CSC’s Continuous Delivery program, which helps keep today’s cutting-edge technology from becoming tomorrow’s legacy system.
Through the Continuous Delivery program, CSC releases small updates to the software called Continuous Delivery Releases (CDRs) as they become available. This allows organizations to keep their systems current by upgrading incrementally instead of every year or two – or not at all.
“As we move forward we’re going to be able to stay closer to the product and upgrades because of the CDR process,” said Becky Dawley, vice president and director of Information Services for Federated Insurance. “We think that we’ll be able to stay current much more effectively than with perhaps any other products that we have, especially on the application side.”
Easing the Pain of Upgrades
CSC introduced Continuous Delivery in 2007 to provide its P&C clients with a more agile, manageable alternative to traditional large application upgrade projects. Because these projects can be disruptive, complex and expensive, insurers often fall behind in upgrades and soon it becomes difficult if not impossible to catch up. Complicating the situation, clients were using different versions of the systems and most had made custom modifications.
With Continuous Delivery, CSC customers receive new functionality as it becomes available. Thus they can react to market changes and reap the benefits of technical enhancements more quickly.
To gain maximum benefit from Continuous Delivery, clients need to start out on the same release of the system. To create this common starting point, CSC released “C.0” versions of its major P&C software systems as baseline versions upon which all future releases are built.
One major Southeast U.S. provider of insurance for the construction industry took advantage of the updated POINT IN C.0 system to help it quickly expand into new states with new products. To streamline its underwriting and billing processes, the insurer implemented CDRs that provided enhanced rating capabilities, automatic online billing reminders, out-of-sequence transaction processing, and other features.
Since 2007, the Continuous Delivery program has been embraced by a growing number of customers. There have been nearly 1,000 CDRs delivered across the core CSC systems, with several currently being implemented and several hundred in production.
Another key benefit for members of the Continuous Delivery program is the ability to share system enhancement ideas — and costs — through CSC’s Innovation Community. Enhancements made by one member of the community can be created, tested and incorporated into the base system and distributed to clients through CDRs.
A participant since the early days of the Continuous Delivery program, North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance has sponsored nearly 35 Innovation Community projects and has also taken advantage of CDRs that originated with other insurers’ projects. For example, Tennessee Farmers Insurance, a carrier in a neighboring state using Exceed, introduced several claims enhancements of which some were subsequently leveraged at North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance.
“We’ve got a really great team on the CSC side, and they keep us in the loop with what’s coming down the pipeline and what other companies are doing that we might be interested in,” said Pam Hiovich, Operations Division Manager for North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance.
Continuing to Improve
Since introducing Continuous Delivery, CSC has enhanced the program to make it easier to implement CDRs. For example, members of the WikonnecT community can download CDRs, as well as evaluate and comment on them. CSC has also focused on improving documentation to help companies plan and implement upgrades more effectively.
“We asked CSC to improve the flow of the documentation and provide more of a business perspective that would help us make the right decisions on which CDR options to turn on and off,” said Roger Gardner, Information Systems Division Manager for North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance. “CSC really heard what we were asking and we saw a significant improvement in the quality of the documentation.”
The Continuous Delivery program has helped many other customers maximize the business value of their technology investments. Commercial carrier Southern Mutual Church Insurance Company licensed CSC’S POINT IN policy administration system in 1997 and has kept current with the system as it moved to a modern, browser-based platform.
Through the years, Southern Mutual Church Insurance has expanded its business and tripled its premium revenues without having to add staff. By participating in the Continuous Delivery program, the company has been able to reduce the need for IT support from CSC during upgrades.
“We’ve been able to quickly expand our offerings and our coverage area over the past few years without adding any key personnel,” said Chris Varnadoe, support services manager at Southern Mutual Church Insurance. “Being a one-person IT shop, I really appreciate the Continuous Delivery program.”