Firm Modernizes Insurance Platform, Expands During Recession
Client:Builders Mutual Insurance Company
- Shift to higher-growth market
- Improve agent satisfaction
- Consolidate multiple systems with CSC’s POINT IN policy administration software suite
- Expanded into five states and new market segment
- Introduced fast quoting capabilities to agents
- Enhanced claims management program
Builders Mutual, a commercial insurer focused on the construction industry, foresaw a looming crisis in 2006 as the economic slowdown began impacting building projects. The majority of the company’s clients were home builders, and the residential market was weakening rapidly.
Management made a strategic decision to move into a higher-growth segment of the commercial market, covering larger projects such as offices and multi-occupancy buildings, and expand into new geographic areas. However, this shift relied on improving communication with agents and providing faster turnarounds on quotes.
“We use the independent agent channel as our connection to the customer, so we have to have a good relationship with our agents,” said Graeme Boddy, CIO of Builders Mutual. “During the recession and before that, agents were pushed to get more and more business done with fewer people. They were very clear that if you cannot do business with them electronically, they will not do business with you. We needed a solution that would allow us to quote new business quickly and efficiently.”
Emphasizing ‘Ease of Doing Business’
In 2007, Builders Mutual put together a strategy, a cornerstone of which was ease of doing business. The company started by consolidating its commercial lines property and workers’ compensation business onto a single, end-to-end policy administration platform, CSC’s POINT IN®. Prior to this, Builders Mutual had used an older version of POINT IN for only a portion of its business. The new version has a modern user interface and includes ongoing upgrades to keep CSC customers current on the latest features.
Builders Mutual also added two other key CSC offerings to round out its modernization effort: Agency Link® and Advanced Claims. Agency Link improves communication with agents, enabling them to sell and service policies faster and more efficiently. Advanced Claims facilitates electronic processing and provides tools that help manage and reduce claims processing costs.
“We recognized that you either invest and come out the other end with a new set of platforms, and once the market recovers be well positioned, or you batten down the hatches and let people go and manage your expenses,” said Boddy. “We didn’t let a single person go. We put in all the brand new systems, and we moved into new markets.”
Expanding into Five New States
To help ensure sufficient revenue, Builders Mutual included geographical expansion into its strategy. When it started the modernization effort, the company operated in four states. By upgrading its systems and having all of its lines of business on Agency Link, it added five more within three years.
“With the recession, people were shopping their business, and agents were seeing more business but closing less of it,” said Boddy. “There was great economic pressure on them to get more done with fewer people. Working with CSC, we created a ‘quick quote’ function within Agency Link that has allowed our agents in two to three minutes to get a rate and know whether they can place the business with us. That saves them a lot of time, and it helps drive business to us as well.”
Transitioning to a single policy admin system, POINT IN, further supported expansion efforts by improving efficiencies, streamlining processes, consolidating data and allowing the company greater flexibility. “Having one system enables you to move people around because it’s still one way of doing business,” said Boddy. “You haven’t got separate systems to train people in, and they don’t become locked into one area or one way of doing business.”
“Moving to POINT IN with Agency Link and Advanced Claims has provided us with really good data,” added Boddy. “You need good data to make good decisions. Advanced Claims allows us to capture more information more accurately and more quickly, so that when we do get an uptick or a change in our loss ratio, or we do see problems occurring in our claims environment, we can now do analysis we couldn’t have done before.”
Collaborating on the Future
Now that Builders Mutual is working more effectively with agents, the company is partnering with CSC to extend services to policyholders over the Web and even mobile devices.
“The personal lines market has set a standard that everyone now expects,” said Boddy. “We have to drive and meet those same high standards for our commercial policyholders.”
Commenting on the journey thus far, though, Boddy said, “The one thing that I’ve really appreciated in this three years has been the commitment of the CSC staff, who actually come in every day, working with the bigger CSC, working with the business, working through difficult situations with difficult time limits, and still keeping a sense of humor and getting things done.”