Upon joining Liberty Corner, N.J.-based Everest National Insurance Company ($886.4 million gross written premiums) in 2007 as VP of systems, Sandeep Bajaj was tasked with analyzing the P&C carrier's existing insurance system, mapping it to the business' strategy and bringing the technology in line with business expectations. "The company's goal has been to build an infrastructure that is commensurate with business growth," Bajaj relates. "We needed to make certain that future applications development did not adversely affect speed to market."
Bajaj started with a systems gap analysis, interviewing every department to track how closely systems mapped to business strategy. According to Bajaj, business users lacked the means to collect and properly analyze data. "Before I looked at the front end, I had to address the data needs," he recalls. "In the end, it all comes back to having the data at the fingertips of the business to make swift and sound business decisions."
The first step toward that goal was to implement a robust data warehousing solution. "This was to allow a comprehensive view of all the data and provide a means to map it," Bajaj explains. "It would also be an essential step prior to adopting future technology or converting the system down the line."
Although Bajaj says he has built data warehousing solutions from the ground up, in this case he "didn't have the time and luxury to come up with an insurance data model, because it is always a question of time to market." Instead, "We sought a vendor offering a robust P&C insurance data model along with strong data mining capabilities," Bajaj relates.
According to Bajaj, a combined technical and business project team prepared a list of requirements and, following a brief request-for-proposal (RFP) process, identified three potential vendor solutions. "We did not do a proof of concept since my team clearly knew what we were looking for," he says. Everest National, a subsidiary of Everest Re Group, signed a contract with New York-based Information Builders in May 2007.
"The Information Builders solution presents the robust P&C insurance data model we wanted, with ETL [Extract, Transfer, Load] tools included, and supplies an Insurance Reporting Framework [IRF] application," Bajaj explains, noting that the vendor's WebFOCUS business intelligence tool serves as the front end for managing reports. "This IRF had 48 basic reports out of the box, meeting most claims and underwriting needs and providing some executive management dashboards with key performance indicators," he adds.
"As this project will take two or three years to implement fully and we needed to see benefits sooner, we devised a phased approach, moving the data from our policy administration system into the data warehouse," which was completed in early March, Bajaj says, adding that the solution required a new 64-bit server to improve memory usage. Now underwriters will have a "single source of the truth being pushed to them. They receive data more quickly and have an enhanced ability to analyze it in numerous ways," he relates.
"On these key strategic initiatives we felt a definite need that goes beyond ROI," Bajaj continues. "If I had a full ROI analysis done, I would expect the benefit within a year, purely based on time saved getting hands-on, accurate information to users. This alone is priceless."
Case Study Profile
Everest National Insurance Co. (Liberty Corner, N.J.; $886.4 million in gross written premium), a subsidiary of Everest Re Group.
lines of business
Property and casualty; primary and reinsurance.
Information Builders' (New York) enterprise data warehouse and WebFOCUS front-end GUI.
Empower end users to mine data to guide business decisions.