As new leadership strived in 2008 to resurrect Narragansett Bay Insurance Co. (NBIC) from the ashes of its predecessor, Pawtucket Mutual Insurance, legacy technologies impeded success, reports Mike Anselmo, NBIC's CIO. "None of our existing systems could keep up with our growth goals," he says. "We wanted new systems that provided big-company advantages while staying agile and nimble."
As NBIC researched core vendors in early 2009, two policy admin systems rose to the top. "But neither had claims systems we considered ready for prime time," recalls Bob Khosropur, chief claims officer for Pawtucket, R.I.-based NBIC. But research also introduced NBIC ($60 million in premium income) to BlueWave Technologies' (Honolulu) PipelineClaims.
"Because we intended to operate as a lean company by drawing on third parties for services, such as first notice of loss, BlueWave's interface was attractive because it required virtually no training," explains Khosropur. "Plus, BlueWave's SOA [service-oriented architecture] and web-enabled platform gave us confidence that it could scale up efficiently."
Wary about integration between BlueWave and its policy admin vendor at the time, SaaS-based Exigen Insurance Solutions (San Francisco), NBIC brought the CEOs of both companies together over the 2009 Labor Day weekend, according to Anselmo. "From that meeting, we gained commitment at the highest levels," he says.
By October 2009 a two-phase deployment began, starting with the BlueWave solution and followed by the integration with Exigen. For infrastructure, NBIC invested in separate private clouds for production and disaster recovery. Then NBIC's team, drawn from its IT staff of 12 as well as members of the business claims team, worked with BlueWave using an iterative development and testing approach.
In June 2010 the first phase hit a speed bump: Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) SQL performance and Oracle (Redwood Shores, Calif.) licensing issues prevented PipelineClaims from operating on NBIC's private cloud. "As a workaround, BlueWave offered to host us at their colocation until these issues were resolved," recalls Anselmo. PipelineClaims went live in August 2010, and the fully integrated systems were rolled out less than three months later.
"With our legacy systems, it took at least a week to become comfortable with the claims systems," Khosropur observes. "Today, new internal and external staff hit the ground running -- such as during storm spikes when additional examiner resources are needed -- and are fully functional on the [BlueWave] claims technology in half a day. Plus, as a web-enabled system, PipelineClaims is accessible from anywhere, even on an [Apple] iPad."
Additionally, workflow and task automation allows NBIC to settle claims a week earlier, on average, according to Khosropur. And by designing its system to consider every claim as having subrogation potential by default, NBIC's recoveries have soared. "To override, an adjuster must provide a reason," explains Khosropur. "With technology driving subrogation, our recoveries are up 2 percent to 3 percent."
Next, NBIC plans to add external services from ISO and others, Anselmo says. "Our new enterprise architecture allows us to dramatically reduce costs, provide value, offer flexibility and grow the business," he adds.