Organization: First American Property & Casualty Insurance

As a business unit of First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), First American Property & Casualty began writing fire insurance in 1979. The company now writes policies nationwide for homeowners, dwelling first, condominium and Renter’s. It has an “Excellent” (A) rating from A.M. Best.

Business Challenge: Accelerating Growth

In 1999 the company set an objective for rapid growth. One step in that growth plan was to establish a strong and scalable technology foundation. The company acquired an insurance system from Fiserv SIS, which rolled into production in 2003. With back-office operations running in full swing, the company then set out to narrow the distance between itself and agents. Customer convenience was top priority. Explains, Jim Court, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, “once we had our core processing system in place we started looking for peripheral applications to increase the automation from our agents to ourselves. When talking about core policy claims and billing systems, all vendors provide good transaction processing technology. However, most vendors do not provide integrated business process management functionality. It is not their core competency. We still had several agent facing business processes that were heavily manual. We saw the opportunity to use business process management technology to wrap the core processes with an additional convenience factor for the agents while streamlining many internal steps for ourselves.”

BizFlow Solutions: Streamline Underwriting

Court continues, “We looked at several BPM software tools. At that time most were document centric. The unique functionality that the BizFlow BPM Suite offered was process-centric automation. Unlike EDMS-oriented solutions, BizFlow drives human-to-human activities such as data analysis, data validation, approval routing, job monitoring, and worker productivity analysis – all essential in agent and customer facing activities. We look for value when making tactical investments. BizFlow presented a unique value proposition – start small. With the acquisition of BizFlow® there was no pressure from a large ROI looming in the future. We knew that BizFlow would pay for itself. But since we started small, one bite-sized project at a time, we could learn, implement, and grow all at the same time. BizFlow has been cost effective and very easy to understand and implement. And the BizFlow Professional Services team has been a good to work with – fair and customer oriented. Ultimately, our objective was to start simple, then scale out process complexity to end users. With BizFlow as our partner we could do just that.”

First American Property & Casualty Insurance uses BizFlow for many processes, including:

  • Endorsement Requests: Each day First American Property & Casualty receives more than 100 endorsement requests. Court explains, “Each request formerly kicked-off a barrage of paper. Now when a customer or agent requests an endorsement, it hits a database. BizFlow monitors the database and when finding something new triggers a process instance. During the day Data Entry Specialists use BizFlow to access their endorsement request work lists. From here they decide whether they can process the endorsement request themselves or require assistance from underwriting. It is then approved, routed back for additional information or declined. We used BizFlow to create the form and all the routing rules. It was quite easy to do. From our work we have been able to eliminate a significant amount of paper as well as automate hand-offs from customer service to underwriting for validation, approval, and escalations. The visibility into the process is great. All involved have a tracking mechanism. Prior to this we made lots of calls and faxes. Now customer service, underwriting, and agents know exactly the status of the request. We have been able to reduce agent calls, reduce paper, all while improving agent satisfaction.”
  • New Business: Explains Court, “this process is similar to the first. An agent submits a quote, which triggers a process instance within BizFlow. A data entry specialist ensures that the policy information is completed and validated. Along with any attachments, she submits the form via BizFlow to Underwriting for review. Underwriting then has the options to accept, return for more information, or reject the policy. Since June 2006 we have handled more than 6500 new business transactions using BizFlow.”

Court’s approach to BPM is “start small.” He explains, “Start small and simple, then scale out process in terms of complexity and users. Starting with smaller processes allowed us to get familiar with the product while meeting management expectations. Any challenges we came across were still small and thus very manageable. We could utilize professional services for mentoring earlier and more frequently. Plus using the event response adapter eliminates the chore of monitoring a database for any changes.” Court continues, “BPM software doesn’t have to be a big ticket item. We viewed BPM as a peripheral application. We have many processes internally that we plan to automate. And as we grow we must reinvent processes to become more efficient.”

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