What began as a project to replace a legacy claims estimating solution at American Modern Insurance Group ultimately became a training template for transitioning to an entirely new core systems suite. "We'd been using the MSB [Marshall & Swift/Boeckh] estimating solution since 2004," explains Bob Crowley, VP of claims for the Cincinnati-based specialty insurer. However, some aspects of the tool were insufficient.
Then, as American Modern was also in the planning phases for a migration off of its legacy core systems, Symbility Solutions (Toronto, Ontario) announced its acquisition of the MSB solution in January 2012. "We saw the merger as presenting the best of both worlds," says Crowley.
"The modern, intuitive user interface of Symbility's Mobile Claims, combined with its open architecture, gave us the option to integrate other third party solutions, which we were unable to do before," he adds. "Also, Symbility's customization options were attractive, including roles, workflows and reporting."
Importantly, Symbility played well with American Modern's adoption of the Guidewire (Foster City, Calif.) core systems suite, announced earlier this year. "Company representatives were positive about the ability to integrate the two systems," Crowley says. "Since we didn't want to rollout both solutions simultaneously, we decided to do Symbility Mobile Claims first."
By the third quarter of 2012 American Modern (affiliate of Munich Re America, $26 billion in total assets) was ready to begin implementing Mobile Claims. "Besides mapping fields from our existing estimating solution, Symbility provided the ability to map additional fields," says Crowley. "These same fields from our legacy core systems would ultimately be mapped to the new claims system the following year."
In late 2012 American Modern's team began piloting Mobile Claims while field mapping was still ongoing. Rolling out the new tool to the insurer's adjusters, which included staff and contract individuals, as well as its internal 50 claims processors ran from January through April 2013. "As each group was trained, they went live on the system," Crowley explains.
During the summer and early fall of 2013 American Modern continued to build-out workflows and create so-called batch templates for different types of property structures. "Symbility's architecture has allowed us to be forward-thinking and look at workflows differently than before," Crowley says.
[For more claims innovation, check out: Amica Juices Up Claims Response With Advanced Mapping]
According to Crowley the rollout has gone smoothly, with the possible exception of a hiccup with reporting and analytics functionality. For those tools some mapping inconsistencies are still being resolved in consultation with Symbility.
Regardless, the specific project methodology American Modern followed for the Symbility rollout is carrying over to the core systems migration. "Developing a rollout project team and then using the same team to make adjustments post-rollout is one of our big successes," says Crowley. "We're applying the same methodology to our new claims system rollout, which will begin in the first quarter of 2014."
Meanwhile, adjusters are beginning to report productivity improvements. "Now, an adjuster can edit an estimate in minutes," says Crowley. "Before, they couldn't edit. So, it could take an hour to rewrite an estimate just to make a small change.
"Also, multiple participants can now work within the same file simultaneously, which increases the number of files that can be reviewed during a given time period," he adds. "Moving forward, we plan to test the Symbility Mobile Claims [Apple] iPhone app as we continue rolling out those devices in the field."
Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio