(Photo credit: MDF.)
CAA Insurance Company (Thornhill, Ontario), has succeeded for over a century by focusing on the safety and well-being of its members and the flexibility to respond to an ever-evolving market. The Canadian Automobile Association affiliate adopted its first IT systems in 1974 and has been keeping up with technology ever since. It recently turned to Guidewire Software to replace its existing systems and is reaping transformational benefits in line with its commitment to serve its membership.
“We uphold the same commitment now that we did in 1903: to make our members the focus of everything we do, and create safer moments and better experiences for them,” comments Matt Turack, president, CAA Insurance. “So we regularly ask ourselves, ‘Are our core systems helping us do that?’”
Over the years, that question has prompted system refreshes, and by 2012, another was imminent. “CAA South Central Ontario’s President and CEO Jay Woo has always been a big advocate of solid, well-architected technology that enables businesses to develop both creative and advanced service metrics, and that ultimately enables a business to evolve,” Turack says. “Our legacy systems were no longer meeting that criterion.”
Making a product change or enhancement, for example—which includes designing, coding, testing, QA and launching—was a very long 12- to 14-month cycle. The systems weren’t intuitive in terms of risk analysis, either. “Legacy systems like ours didn’t have the ‘intelligence’ to actually help our front-line underwriters do a better job,” recalls Turack. “There were no internal controls or automations that could help us make better decisions about risks based on solid information.”
Meeting Digital Expectations
CAA Insurance also found that digital trend—driven by omnichannel integration and the demand for self-service and real-time customer engagement—put considerable pressure on its legacy system. For CAA Insurance, that was an important consideration, since one of its key 2016 initiatives is to launch more online, digital connectivity that will truly enhance the customer experience.
“We knew that our next system must enable us to evolve and change in so many ways—underwriting, rating, product suites, etc. Flexibility was paramount,” Turack relates. “On top of that, we wanted the ability to serve our members in a much more holistic and very customer-driven fashion.”
By December 2012, with the deployment of Guidewire InsuranceSuite, its new foundation for underwriting, policy administration, billing, and claims management, CAA Insurance began to move past its challenges and make headway on its business initiatives for the future. The company calls out the following advances it has achieved during the last three years:
- The launch cycle for new products and features has been reduced from 12 to 14 months to two to three months (which includes rigorous QA tests).
- New business quote times have plummeted from 15-20 minutes to seven minutes.
- The life cycle of a file has been streamlined and expedited. For auto repair, for example, files now close in about 22 days, as compared to 72 days before the system switch.
CAA Insurance is also now able to service its customers through their channel of choice, an objective achieved in part through launching a self-service portal leveraging Guidewire Digital Portal technology. The company has also entered other distribution channels. “Since 1974, we’ve sold directly to the consumer, but our new software has enabled us to be both a B2C and B2B company,” Turack says. “We launched a broker channel last year, whereby brokers can access our Guidewire platform and sell the same product with the same rules and the same underwriting discipline. Ultimately, with our brokers, we can provide more choice with regard to how the consumer can purchase our products.”
Giving Brokers a Competitive Edge
CAA Insurance has also made advances in ease-of-doing-business and helping their distribution partners gain a competitive edge. “I believe brokers want to work with a responsive company,” Turack says. “They want a company that gives them the freedom to operate independently and self-sufficiently, while also providing the tools to explain to customers about pricing, features, and so on. I think we’re fulfilling that role with the help of our Guidewire systems. Had we not implemented InsuranceSuite we would not be able to expand our service offerings as smoothly as we can today.”