When the Insurance Program Managers Group (IPMG) LLC, a Chicago-area MGA, program administrator, Reinsurance intermediary and third-party administrator to various clients, program members, agents, carriers and re-insurers, launched its search for a Policy Administration and Underwriting system several years ago, it conducted a fairly typical vendor search which included many of the proven insurance software providers.
However, according to Paul Whiteside, IPMG's Chief Information Officer, the firm's search for the perfect solution would be considered anything but run-of-the-mill. At the time, IPMG was using a hodgepodge of off-the-shelf software applications - mainly Microsoft Word, Excel, etc. - to manage its policy administration process. After IPMG met with five or six vendors and reviewed their solutions, one vendor clearly established itself as the only true contender.
IPMG chose insurance and risk management software solutions provider DAVID Corporation (davidcorp.com) . To be more precise, IPMG chose DAVID's NavRisk® Policy administration and underwriting platform. It was a decision, Whiteside says, that has led to a very successful partnership between the two companies during the past four years.
"At the time, we had no real system support to speak of," Whiteside says. "In fact, we didn't have much direction on the technology front. We talked to about five or six vendors, and at the end of the day, it came down to three critical factors: Staff capability, product effectiveness, and cost. When we put all three together, DAVID's cost wasn't the lowest, but its value and expertise really stood out."
Around the same time, DAVID was in the process of building out its latest generation claims system, NavRisk Claims. So when it came time for IPMG to choose a claims system, Todd Greer, IPMG's marketing director, says the way DAVID had performed on the policy and underwriting side made the claims system decision a no-brainer.
"When we decided to replace our existing claims system for ClaimsOne, our full-service TPA arm, we didn't really look very hard at anyone else," Greer says.
ClaimsOne, selected NavRisk Claims to manage its workers' compensation, salvage, premises, inland marine, product liability, auto bodily injury, police, crime, and nurse liability programs. For their TPA, Whiteside explains that IPMG required a web-based Claims Administration and Risk Management solution that would provide robust reporting and analytics - including an external client claim reporting system - and fully integrated with NavRisk Policy across IPMG's multiple divisions to reduce duplication of processes, increase efficiency in handling claims and enhance visibility into key data elements.
IPMG went live with NavRisk Policy in February 2006 and NavRisk Claims in November 2008. In fact, IPMG, which provides insurance products and services mainly for non-profit nursing homes and public entities, worked with DAVID as a development partner on its NavRisk Claims system.
"We were very pleased when DAVID launched a web-based claims solution to fully integrate with NavRisk Policy," Whiteside says. "The gains in productivity and efficiency among our staff and clients are tremendous on the NavRisk integrated platform. DAVID's systems offer the best integration. We especially like the full document attachment feature, which was very big because we knew we wanted to reduce paper as much as possible."
Today's NavRisk product suite consists of NavRisk Policy (policy administration and underwriting software), NavRisk Claims (claims administration and analytics software) and NavRisk Central, a customizable web portal that provides self-service reporting, policy quotes and renewals on demand, claim and payment updates, and a collaborative environment in which to interact with other parties. Benefits include improved operating efficiency, reduced expenses, increased productivity, and enhanced agent and customer satisfaction.
From the start, Whiteside says NavRisk's interface had a very light learning curve.
"We had auditors come in to use it and there was little or no training required, it was that easy to use," Whiteside says. "Positive factors like that were critical in our original decision. With DAVID, it also really comes down to the experience and the people, as much as the product itself."
Whiteside explains IPMG found DAVID's strategy to collaborate with clients - getting their input when building or updating applications and platforms - helps create workflow processes that are relevant to our business. Of course, he finds that philosophy particularly appealing.
"Many software companies build a product and the client has to adapt," Whiteside explains. "DAVID is different. For one, they've displayed such depth and expertise in many aspects of the business. They really do view their clients as partners in development."
Alex Aminian, DAVID's president and CEO, notes that IPMG has been an invaluable partner of DAVID's, playing an integral role in DAVID's successful Development Partner program.
"As part of this program, we work closely with our clients to better understand their ever evolving business challenges and build our software solutions to address those challenges," Aminian says. "Our goal is to deliver operational efficiencies to drive down costs and improve communication and collaboration among all stakeholders involved in the risk management value chain."
Whiteside says having all of the necessary data at "fingertip" level through the integrated reporting and analytics has helped IPMG improve its service to clients, as it is now able to more quickly identify problem areas, and immediately implement risk management procedures to ultimately drive down total costs.
Whiteside says one key benefit, for example, of IPMG implementing NavRisk Claims in 2008 was the ability to reduce the number of claim administrative staff by half, moving them to other areas within the organization. NavRisk Claims also cut administrative labor time by about 50%, and "time translates into money," Whiteside says, noting that on the underwriting side, the impact was also substantial, as IPMG was able to double the number of customers it services without adding staff.
IPMG's Greer says that from the start, IPMG had a specific idea of what it wanted to see and how it wanted their new software to perform, and DAVID's blueprint has meshed well with IPMG's objectives.
"Working with DAVID has been easy," Greer says. "Their client services and software development teams, at each step of the process, not only listen but also make suggestions on how something might work better. They are extremely thorough and knowledgeable. In fact, we didn't realize what a benefit that was until we finished the implementations."
A relatively recent upgrade, according to Whiteside, gives IPMG expanded capabilities with NavRisk's Business Rules Engine - so much so that many business rules and workflows can now be configured by the clients themselves.
"NavRisk is really designed with the business user in mind," he says. As such, a NavRisk administrator can configure rules, using an "if/then" strategy. Plus, NavRisk is designed to completely integrate with the Microsoft platform, which also helps automate and improve business processes. Whiteside says the integration with Word and Excel is critical in the insurance business, and IPMG clients experience obvious benefits from the Microsoft connection, telling IMPG how the NavRisk system is so very intuitive, and easy to use without a lot of training requirements.
"Routine tasks that happen on a consistent basis can be easily automated with the business rules engine," Whiteside says. "Automating these processes allows us to spend more time focusing on our customers."
Whiteside is especially positive about NavRisk's "drag and drop" functionality. The result is that a NavRisk administrator or other end user does not have to be a programmer or know anything about writing queries to create business rules and to create reports. IPMG clients are leveraging most of the company's standard reports provided in NavRisk as well as those configured by IPMG's staff.
"We promote access to our clients from the web so that they also have the information they need at their fingertips in a self serve capacity," Whiteside says.
In the end, NavRisk's smooth integration, ease of use and powerful data management features make it indispensible, say both Greer and Whiteside.
"Before implementing NavRisk, the underwriting and claims systems did not communicate at all," Whiteside says. "Claim adjustors had to look things up on paper policies, which was very time consuming. Now, because NavRisk is completely integrated, the data just appears on the claims screen for the adjustor. We can go in and create a claim for a new auto loss, and assign the loss to the vehicle without having to verify coverage in a separate system or in a paper file."
"We've almost become spoiled with NavRisk," Greer adds. "It's one of those things that make you wonder how you got along without it."
For more information on NavRisk, visit www.davidcorp.com.
For more information on IPMG visit www.ipmg.us.
(The above piece is part of our continuing Insights series designed to highlight key products and services to our readers. This paid-for Insights was written and edited by Risk & Insurance® on behalf of our marketing partner. Additional Insights can be found on our Web site at www.riskandinsurance.com/.)
July 14, 2010
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