August 05, 2008

In April 2007, specialty and reinsurance carrier Max Capital Group (Hamilton, Bermuda; $1.1 billion in gross written premiums) formed Max Specialty Insurance Co. to write excess and surplus lines insurance in the United States. The new insurer initially opened offices in Atlanta; San Francisco; Richmond, Va.; and Horsham, Pa.; adding Dallas and New York by the end of 2007. Chris Jamison, SVP and CTO, led the build-up of Max Specialty's IT system. "Max wanted a paperless environment that was secure across the organization and that would enable instant document sharing and review," he relates.

The first step in Max's technology strategy was to deploy a policy administration solution, Dragon from OneShield (Westborough, Mass.). "Then [starting in January 2007] we looked at document management," Jamison says. "Max Specialty wanted a platform to auto-process both e-mails and data from producers. And we wanted every feature you hope for in a platform: that it was secure, scalable, easy to integrate with internal security systems and flexible, with a disaster recovery plan."

Jamison had deployed Conyers, Ga.-based ImageRight's document management solution at a previous job and believed it met the start-up's criteria. "We weighed one other product, Interwoven's [San Jose, Calif.] WorkSite content management solution, before settling on ImageRight," he recalls. "Our parent company uses WorkSite, so we did a deep analysis comparing WorkSite to ImageRight. ... [ImageRight] offers a more comprehensive business workflow solution than WorkSite," he contends. [ImageRight was acquired by Bothell, Wash.-based Vertafore in April 2007.]

Max selected ImageRight by March 2007. As a start-up, though, the company needed new hardware to support the application. "Max is primarily an HP [Palo Alto, Calif.] shop with a mix of Windows/Unix/Linux, Microsoft [Redmond, Wash.] SQL and Oracle [Redwood Shores, Calif.]," Jamison says. "We bought an HP c7000 Blade Chassis, dedicating four Proliant BL460c G1 Blades to serve up the application. We added 2 terabytes in our storage area network to support image archiving."

But, he adds, "We did face some challenges integrating to our [homegrown] business platform." Jamison says iterations of workflow requirements changed as the business unit grew. "The iterations had everything to do with business and nothing to do with ImageRight," he explains, noting that the company went live with ImageRight in May 2007.

"ImageRight assigned an integration specialist who was instrumental in deployment, execution and delivery," Jamison continues. "There was a lot of training developed and designed specifically for each location using a complete sandbox environment built with Max and ImageRight resources. Due to company growth, ... training is continuing," Jamison says.

"Results in time savings and efficiency are immeasurable," he adds. "It is a huge advantage that an underwriter in San Francisco can share submissions with any other office, or a claims examiner can review a policy without a paper file process. Bypassing human intervention by auto-processing documents allows us to redistribute internal expenses and improve our speed and efficiency."

In fact, the results have been so impressive that "We're looking to potentially expand this product into our international market with our parent company," Jamison notes.

company

Max Specialty Insurance Co. (Richmond, Va.), a subsidiary of Max Capital Group (Hamilton, Bermuda; $1.1 billion in gross written premiums).

lines of business

Excess and surplus lines.

vendor/technology

ImageRight's (Conyers, Ga.) document management solution.

challenge

Implement a paperless, scalable document management environment enterprisewide.