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Westfield Insurance (Westfield Center, Ohio; direct written premium over $1.8 billion) is determined to perpetuate a legacy of reliability to its policyholders, a legacy that pre-dates the Civil War. One way it’s doing this is adopting technology that quickly responds to customers’ evolving expectations. The insurer’s latest move in that vein is the adoption of Duck Creek’s (Columbia, S.C.) On-Demand software-as-a-service offering for policy administration in support of the insurer’s small commercial business.
Westfield will deploy Duck Creek Policy along with Duck Creek Rating and Duck Creek Templates via the cloud to take advantage of new functionality through routinely delivered upgrades and a subscription to commercial lines bureau-based content. The Duck Creek solution will initially support commercial auto, property, general liability, inland marine, crime, umbrella, workers’ compensation, business owners’ policy, and commercial package policies.
“We’ve been very successful within the small commercial market, but we know that the expectations of our customers and agents are changing at an ever increasing pace,” comments Gary Harvey, program leader for Commercial Lines Systems of Underwriting Programs, Westfield Insurance.
Raising the Game on Service and Agility
Westfield wanted a system that would enable the carrier to “raise its game,” and elevate business capabilities to a new level, especially around greater business agility, according to Harvey. The insurer reviewed the insurance core systems market and took a hard look at about 15 different vendor options, he says.
“One of the big differentiators in favor of Duck Creek was product management, and particularly the bureau circular management process, which allows us to keep our base products current with the industry—and which can be a time-consuming task,” Harvey comments. “Now a great deal of that can be offloaded to Duck Creek, freeing up our resources to focus on ways to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.”
Harvey identifies business architecture as another distinction in favor of selecting Duck Creek. “I’m a business person, and with Duck Creek, we have the tools to enable users to maintain key business functionality of the system, in contrast to our legacy systems,” he remarks.
Among the benefits Westfield seeks from the implementation are improved customer experience, faster speed-to-market for new products, and greater ease-of-doing-business for agents, Harvey shares.
Westfield began its Commercial Lines Systems of Underwriting Programs in early 2015. A critical part of the endeavor was a change management process directed at understanding the organization’s current processes and pain points in advance of any systems implementation, according to Harvey. “We view this program as going across people, processes and technologies, and we state it in that order for a reason,” he says.
Harvey notes that the end state will enable Westfield to be the same company at its core, only with enhanced tools to continue meeting the needs of customers and agents. “We don’t see this as having a fundamental impact on Westfield’s culture, which is a key factor in our success,” he explains. “However, there must be changes in processes and when we combine the strength of our people with state of the art technology and capabilities, it positions Westfield as a force in the marketplace for years to come.”
Modernizing from a Position of Strength
Westfield is currently getting “hands-on” knowledge of the Duck Creek system, getting clarity on the precise functionality and timing of the implementation. “We’re in the process of determining the timeline,” Harvey reports.
Harvey emphasizes two key aspects of the initiative and its place among other modernization efforts at Westfield. The first being how new tools will reaffirm the concept of stewardship, one of the organization’s core values. Secondly, the company is executing this transformational work from a position of strength.
“Our balance sheet has never been stronger. We are growing the business and our bottom line is good,” Harvey comments. “We realize the world is changing and we need to make sure we’re in a position to keep up with the marketplace and pass this company on to the next generation better than we found it.”