2010 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Award Winners
2010 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Award Winners
iter8 was nominated by David Gallagher.
Technology Provider: iter8
iter8 Inc. is a software solutions provider to the Canadian Property and Casualty Insurance Industry. The company supplies software applications to many of Canada’s insurance carriers ranging from smaller niche players to large multinational carriers. This includes York Fire and Casualty, who have been using iter8 technology solutions for the past 6 years. iter8 products are designed to increase profitability by solving problems – centered on Broker Portals, Broker Connectivity and Underwriting Operating Excellence – through smart innovation and proven expertise in both the insurance business and in technology, implementation and service.
Reference Installation: York Fire & Casualty Insurance Company
York Fire & Casualty was founded in 1955 and since October 2008 is a subsidiary of La Capitale General Insurance, a major property & casualty insurer ranking amongst the top five largest in Quebec. From its head office in Mississauga, Ontario, York Fire offers insurance to protect consumers' homes, cars, power sports equipment and businesses through more than 200 independent brokers in Canada. York Fire strongly believes in the value that an independent broker brings to the insurance transaction and is committed to working with brokers to preserve and strengthen their role in the distribution of Property & Casualty products in Canada.
Gross written premiums for 2009 were $112m, with over 70,000 policies in place.
Left to right: Glen Piller, iter8 (honourable mention in a technology provider category),
Overview & Project Description
The independent insurance broker is York’s sole distribution channel. It represents the company’s face to consumers, and is an integral part of the company’s growth and success. A major goal for York is to deliver choice and business opportunity to brokers. Technology is a critical component of this goal, and York strives to ensure brokers have the tools necessary to deliver top-level service, and target customers that fit the York profile for risk, products and services.
These tools require CSIO XML standards to fully integrate York with its distribution channel, and ensure accurate, complete and timely information is shared across a broad broker network.
A brief listing of the technology and business processes undertaken to facilitate York/Broker interaction is below, followed by additional details:
The technology implemented by York, and the business innovations undertaken have had an influence throughout the Canadian insurance industry, influencing other carriers and their broker channels.
Deployment of Technology
Key project ingredients include:
1) Development of a broker facing web portal
The critical focus for York was the development of a modern, connected broker portal. The portal, identified as Gateway, enabled independent brokers to submit new business including quotes/quick quotes, make policy changes, and conduct policy inquiries.
2) Development of Real-Time Connectivity (Broker Single Data Entry to achieve straight-through-processing)
York wanted brokers to be able to send material directly from their Broker Management System (A variety of solutions, including Applied Systems (TAM); Powerbroker; and Keal).
This stage in the project represented a major initiative as the goal was to automate connectivity in several manners – EDI Download from carrier to broker; XML real-time uploads for new automotive business from broker to carrier. The iter8 Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) components communic8 and collabor8 were used to complete this objective. This involved data transfer activities, as well as process automation.
The broker facing portal became a key component of this strategy as it was used to relay all changes to brokers. For brokers using TAM this could be accessed from within their system. For other broker systems notification was received, from which the brokers enter the portal and make the necessary changes.
3) Capabilities for Brokers to make direct Policy Change for the automotive line of business
Automotive: This phase enabled brokers to make policy changes in an automated manner, further freeing-up the York underwriting team to focus on underwriting exceptions, and challenges, not administrative work. The existing iter8 suite was used to complete this phase, as requirements focused on system set up and training.
Property: Property lines were completed after automotive was in place. This replicated the automotive actions, with a further addition - a true real-time, round-trip transaction, starting and ending in the broker’s TAM system, without a portal landing. It is based on industry standard XML. What used to be a painfully slow scripting transaction taking well over one minute was reduced over 500%.
I. From a Broker Perspective
Several brokers provided direct feedback:
“The Gateway program is awesome.”
“... we are going to write a lot of business because of the ease of processing.”
“We definitely are interested in expanding our opportunities with York; and I believe Gateway is an excellent platform in obtaining these mutual goals.”
II. Overhaul of underwriting practices
Formalize processes; document activities; ensure consistent application of policies; move “assets” of the company into a retrievable form – that does not leave the building every night.
III. Automation of Underwriting
IV. Automated retrieval of third party reports
V. Introduction of round trip transactions
At the end of 2007 a twist was introduced to real-time transactions. A real-time inquiry transaction was changed to deliver an account summary page from the York mainframe. Brokers no longer had to navigate the carrier portal to review billing, policy and claims information. That data is now delivered directly into Applied Systems’ TAM with the supporting activity record to register the transaction.
The transaction beginning and ending in the broker management system enabled three key benefits that increased customer satisfaction and employee productivity:
This project has helped transform York into a progressive, market leading innovator that is viewed by others in the industry as a competitive force.
General information about the Insurance-Canada.ca Tech Awards is available on the ICTA homepage.