(Image source: GEICO.)
GEICO (Chevy Chase, Md.) has chosen Duck Creek Technologies’ (Columbia, S.C.) Policy and Billing systems as central components of a single platform for all personal lines products. The insurer has disclosed that that it went into production with its umbrella product in all 50 states on the new core platform in Jan. 2016. GEICO plans to transition its personal auto and motorcycle to the target platform during 2017. GEICO is working with both Duck Creek services and Accenture (Dublin) resources for the initiative.
“Customer satisfaction continues to be a key driver of our business and Duck Creek’s industry expertise and advanced technology will help us deliver the exceptional service our customers expect,” comments Steve Smith, VP, IT, GEICO. “Every company knows that the future will continue to present more technology risks. Through this recent modernization, we’re better prepared to take advantage of the latest innovations and digital disrupters.”
The Jan. 2016 go-live date for GEICO’s umbrella product followed just over a year of implementation, according to Martina Conlon, senior VP, Research & Consulting, Novarica (Boston). “The first release of a new policy administration platform takes most large insurers over 18 months,” she observes. “Their speed to market is a testament to GEICO’s strong internal IT and business capabilities, as well as the fact that they picked the right technology partner.”
Tier One insurers have long been challenged to achieve faster time to market, adapt to new distribution channels, and otherwise deliver on the business case that authorized their implementation, according to Karen Furtado, a partner at research and advisor firm SMA (Boston). “This is what these initiatives are supposed to look like,” she comments.
GEICO’s umbrella product was formerly only available through agents, so transitioning it to the Duck Creek-centered platform made it available through multiple direct channels, Furtado adds. “GEICO has experienced impressive growth after the 50-state implementation due to the access to multiple new distribution channels,” she says.
Competing with Traditional Rivals and InsurTech Startups
“The GEICO implementation showcases the tangible business benefits that a modern core system can deliver to both the internal operations and directly to the policyholder experience,” Furtado continues. “Open API architecture is critical in supporting the shifting distribution needs that insurers require to be competitive with both the traditional insurers and new InsurTech startups that are emerging as real threats.”
During its transformation planning process, GEICO undertook separate selection processes for both the policy and billing system components for its single platform, according to Matt Foster, COO, Duck Creek Technologies. “These were separate buying decisions for GEICO, and both were very challenging proof-of-concepts for us,” he confides. “The project started out on the auto book of business, and then questions about deployment options counseled a quick deployment of the umbrella line to address more immediate business needs.”
Performance & Scalability
Foster cites the Duck Creek systems’ openness to APIs and its performance and scalability capabilities as important factors in their suitability to GEICO’s needs. “It’s often the case that software that works in most places will reach its limits with the performance and scalability demands one sees at a carrier the size of GEICO,” he comments. “We did exhaustive diligence, looking well beyond GEICO’s demands of today—but they see this as a strategic platform modernization and it has to be durable, and measurable in decades.”
The flexibility of Duck Creek’s software also counted in the selection balance, according to Foster. “We showed our road map, and how our fundamental architecture isolates their own configuration, so that they can focus on innovation as opposed to being locked into a release,” he says. “That was in stark contrast to the platforms they had purchased recently or had in-house.”
That flexibility fits with the aggressive way GEICO tackled implementation of the umbrella product on the new platform, and also with its intense focus on user experience, according to Foster. “Handling disruption means having mastery of current channels, adding new ones in the future, and managing efficiently from a common core,” Foster comments. “They needed a platform that could support their continued innovation on that customer touch point, and we’re honored to provide them the technology to do it.”