Grinnell Mutual Completes Cloud Deployment of Guidewire InsurancePlatform

The insurer’s implementation project culminated in the launch of a new underwriting company for a new multivariate auto product, as well as introduction of Grinnell’s Home-Guard product.

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Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company (Grinnell, Iowa), a regional property/casualty insurer and reinsurer doing business in 15 states, has completed deployment of Guidewire Software’s (Foster City, Calif.) Insurance Platform as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution via Guidewire Cloud. The insurer announced its decision to shift to Guidewire’s cloud delivery option in Aug. 2018.

Ken Klug, VP, Direct Claims, Grinnell Mutual.

Grinnell Mutual’s implementation project, internally called CONNECT, is a business-led technology initiative to remake all of Grinnell Mutual’s business interfaces by replacing its previous systems with InsurancePlatform to support quoting, rating, underwriting, policy generation, claims processing, and billing, offering end-to-end policy management and issuance functions, according to a Guidewire statement. The project was focused on providing a quality product, rather than speed to market, to fulfill its commitment to giving customers the best and staying on the forefront of innovation, the statement says.

Launch of Grinnell Compass, New Products

Grinnell adapted the CONNECT project schedule as needed to accommodate a mid-project migration to Guidewire Cloud, which varied from its initial selection of self-managed InsurancePlatform, the vendor reports. CONNECT culminated in the launch of Grinnell Compass, a new underwriting company for a new multivariate auto insurance product in Pennsylvania, as well as the introduction of Grinnell’s Home-Guard homeowners and personal liability product. CONNECT is currently deploying InsurancePlatform via Guidewire Cloud to the rest of its personal lines of business in Pennsylvania, followed by all of the other states where it operates, and will conclude with its commercial lines of business in those states.

“The insurance industry is being disrupted and customer expectations are evolving,” comments Ken Klug, co-executive sponsor of CONNECT and VP, Direct Claims, Grinnell Mutual. “Grinnell Mutual is embracing this and forging ahead with best-in-class technology widely considered the gold standard in the P&C insurance industry. Guidewire is a great fit for our customer-centric business model, offering ease of use and enabling us to do business with them and our agents the way they want to.”

“The CONNECT project’s work, and the implementation of Guidewire InsurancePlatform via Guidewire Cloud, is something we have to do to position ourselves for the future,” comments Roby Shay, CIO and VP, Enterprise Solutions, Grinnell Mutual.

Roby Shay, VP, Enterprise Solutions, and CIO, Grinnell Mutual.

Transparent to Agents

“What I found so interesting and heartening about my interactions with the agents was that the technology was so intuitive that our conversations focused on agents’ needs around products and services, and not around how to work with the technology,” comments Mike Shepardson, assistant VP, Sales, Service, and Specialty, Grinnell Mutual. “It’s amazing to me that this thing we’ve been working so long and so hard on to make user-friendly just faded into the background because it was exactly that. When something that’s so complicated on the back end looks easy to users, that’s a huge success.”

Guidewire Cloud is powered by AWS’s (Seattle) cloud infrastructure, with SLAs backed by experienced Guidewire teams and SaaS-certified partners spanning application management, system administration, security and compliance, upgrades, QA testing, health checks, and other services. The vendor pitches Guidewire Cloud as a means by which insurers can focus on business agility while transferring undifferentiating IT responsibilities to Guidewire.

“We congratulate Grinnell on its successful Guidewire Cloud implementation project and the launch of Grinnell Compass in Pennsylvania,” comments Mike Polelle, chief delivery officer, Guidewire Software. “We appreciate the confidence the company has placed in our cloud services capabilities and admire its mission of cultivating trust by delivering innovative solutions to all of its stakeholders – mutual members, agents, policyholders, and employees.”

Grinnell Mutual Shifts Guidewire Transformation Initiative to the Cloud

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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