CGI’s Ratabase solution strengthens The Hartford and reinforces a valued business relationship
“CGI has added value to our business by increasing our speed to market and market share… Our relationship has grown into a partnership, where we view CGI as an extension of The Hartford.”
Ruth Mazur, Technical Director, The Hartford Financial Services Group
Founded in 1810, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest investment and insurance companies. The Hartford is a leading provider of investment products, life insurance, group and employee benefits, automobile and homeowner products, and business insurance. The company is the largest seller of individual annuities in the U.S. and has been a provider of auto and homeowners insurance to members of AARP since 1984.
Recognized for the diversity of its product portfolio and marketing channels. The Hartford serves customers through independent agents and brokers, financial institutions, affinity groups and the Internet. Altogether The Hartford provides services to approximately 11,000 independent agencies and more than 100,000 registered broker/dealers.
The Hartford wanted to develop a strategy to effectively manage the distribution of multiple products to its channel partners. How could it provide its distribution network with easy access to current, dependable rating information? The solution, developed jointly by The Hartford and CGI, was to implement a Web-based rating service, leveraging The Hartford’s existing investment in CGI’s Ratabase solution.
After realizing the potential of this extensible service, The Hartford identified more opportunities to benefit from this approach by leveraging the rating service into a key testing solution.
The Hartford selected CGI and its Ratabase solution for this important mandate, because it knew that CGI offered the business and technical resources the project demanded. CGI’s centers of expertise and its solution development framework for Microsoft .NET also provided considerable advantages from which The Hartford could benefit.
The Hartford works with approximately 50 comparative rating companies, each of which interprets The Hartford’s rates and rules in proprietary code. The diversity of this marketing channel means that new products and rate changes are subject to lag times, and the complexity of new products increases the risk of discrepancies. Seeking to reduce the risk of errors in the interpretation of rating and to improve time to market, The Hartford’s goal was to convert from multiple rating engines to just one.
Establishing a single authoritative source for rating offered The Hartford the opportunity to increase its market share through increased efficiency and credibility. The solution had to be easily accessible regardless of the calling application’s technology, while being both easy to use and deploy. Moreover, The Hartford put a high priority on the reusability of core functions, so the solution also had to provide the ability to extend the service to other potential users. And finally, time was of the essence, so CGI was expected to implement its solution within short timeframes.
From the beginning CGI set out to do much more than develop a solution to fully meet The Hartford’s needs. Throughout the process, from the feasibility study, through requirements and on to deployment, CGI placed as much focus on the building of a long-term relationship with its client as it did in developing a quality solution. CGI and The Hartford became true business partners, working together in each step of the process.
For the comparative rating Web service solution, CGI first designed a high-level conceptual model and worked with comparative rating vendors to achieve buy-in on the architecture, functionality and approach. This approach improved the rate of adoption by the comparative rating vendors and therefore helped The Hartford to quickly realize benefits.
For the testing solution, CGI worked closely with internal users to define functionality and design the user interface. The manual rating process was an extension of the testing solution. CGI piloted the project, continually enhancing the entire solution according to The Hartford’s needs. To meet the aggressive timelines, CGI developed and deployed the solutions using Microsoft .NET technology. CGI’s business and technical people drew on its centers of expertise to ensure knowledge was pooled, and no time lost in developing, testing and implementing the solution.
“CGI’s flexibility, commitment to delivery and extensive business knowledge have made the difference in this business relationship,” explained Ruth Mazur, Technical Director, The Hartford. “I view CGI as an extension of my own team.”
Both the comparative rating Web service and the testing solution were developed and deployed using the following technologies and toolsets:
- Microsoft .NET
- Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
- Microsoft SQL Server 2000
- CGI’s Microsoft .NET Center of Expertise .NET Solution Toolkit
The new comparative rating service and testing solution have achieved all of The Hartford’s objectives. The comparative rating system is performing at exceptional levels, and conversion rates of quotes to policy issuance have been greatly improved. The introduction of the testing solution had a significant impact on both costs and quality. In the past, the workflow required 60 to 90 days for a system change to be implemented. Today, updates are made immediately. The time to process a manual policy has been reduced from 45 minutes to just ten, and manual policies are now stored in an online solution. All of this has translated into lower operating costs, greater business agility, accelerated time to market and improved quality for The Hartford.
The Hartford gained an additional important asset in the course of the engagement: a relationship of trust with CGI. “CGI has added value to our business by increasing our speed to market and market share,” concluded Ms. Mazur. “We’ve also become more efficient as a result. We’ve reduced the time needed for a rate change by 75%, lowered our IT costs and added focus to our core business competencies. Our relationship has grown into a partnership.”
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