Midwest Family Mutual's automated processes

CGI helps breathe new life into Midwest Family Mutual's automated processes

"Throughout the engagement, Midwest Family and CGI worked very well together, due to solid communication between the teams. We were also very impressed with CGI's business analysts, who were among the best that I've personally ever worked with."

Ron Boyd, President, Midwest Family Mutual

The Client
Midwest Family Mutual Insurance Company began in 1891 as Minnesota Farmers Mutual Insurance for the purpose of writing crop and hail insurance for Minnesota farmers. Over the years, the company's product offerings were expanded and today Midwest Family is a multiple line property/casualty insurer actively writing Personal Lines and Commercial Lines in six Midwestern states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. Future expansion plans include the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana and Ohio.

In 2001, Midwest Family decided to take advantage of new technology and become Web enabled by migrating its claims and policy administration functions to the full suite of CGI's INSideOUT insurance solution. Mìdwest Family asked CGI to take on complete responsibility for the engagement's business analysis and technical implementation.

Midwest Family recognized that INSideOUT would provide it with a fully integrated variety of functions, including Web-enablement, underwriting, underwriting report ordering, rating, submission tracking, policy and claim administration, management and bureau reporting, printing, workflow and imaging.

The Challenge
As part of the engagement's business analysis and technical implementation, CGI's role extended to infrastructure planning, product testing and software installation.

The entire INSideOUT solution consists of seven key components, and CGI's main challenge as it embarked on the engagement was the magnitude of the mandate. Midwest Family was about to undergo a major system upgrade and it was crucial that the entire project be rigorously managed to ensure that the insurer's business, customers and employees gained maximum benefit from the efficiencies of the new system, without experiencing an upheaval as the change occurred. It was also vital in the conversion process that the integrity of the company's data remained consistent and reliable. Missing or inaccurate data could jeopardize the entire effort.

"When we decided to move to the next generation of IT and productivity tools, we wanted to deal with people we knew and could rely on," explained Ron Boyd, President, Midwest Family. "We also needed a system we could rely on. Having dealt with CGI's people already and used a system that was the predecessor of INSideOUT, we felt confident with our decision."

The Strategy
The CGI team of experts drew on their extensive knowledge of the insurance sector and solid project management framework to plan the conversion and implementation. As part of the implementation process, CGI specialists for each of the solution's components were deployed into targeted sub-teams it had formed for the engagement. A number of CGI offices in the U.S. worked together on the project, with members from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Fort Worth, Texas, and Columbia, South Carolina contributing to the effort.

Weekly meetings were held with Midwest Family to discuss progress and issues and to ensure that the engagement progressed smoothly and on schedule. Because Midwest Family personnel would be working extensively with the final product, CGI worked closely with the company and its staff, advising them on the system itself, its set up and use, and the product testing and installation.

The INSideOUT product would represent a significant step forward for Midwest Family in terms of Web enablement and productivity gains. Implementation of INSideOUT Web, for example, would allow Midwest Family's agents to enter quotes directly into the system , where, if deemed acceptable by INSideOUT underwriting, they would be uploaded to the policy system and a policy issued without additional user intervention.

The product's Workflow and Imaging component would automate the workflow process, routing work automatically to appropriate users based on work type. This component allows for a "paperless" environment, and all incoming (and most outgoing) documents are imaged and may be viewed on line. "Throughout the engagement, Midwest Family and CGI worked very well together, due largely to solid communication between the teams," added Mr. Boyd. "We were also very impressed with CGI's business analysts, who were among the best that I've personally ever worked with."

The Technology

  • Application Development Environments: Centura Team Developer, IBM VisualAge for Java, Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Application Deployment Environment: Oracle, Windows
  • Languages: Visual Basic, JAVA, Aion, Smalltalk, COBOL
  • Technologies: HTML/JSP, XML, Servlets

The Results
Midwest Family Mutual went live with version 8.0 of INSideOUT on schedule. Today, the insurer is actively using all components of the solution, including its Web-based features. INSideOUT will enable Midwest Family to add more business lines and states without increasing staff. "Quite soon after implementation, we identified a 5% productivity improvement," explained Mr. Boyd. "We are expecting great gains as we move forward. We're already working in a paperless environment for any new work we conduct, and we'll soon be imaging our legacy paper files in order to work in a completely paperless mode. We credit CGI with helping to bring us to this level of efficiency."

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