Companies have addressed workflow issues for most of this new
century, but there remain many
insurance carriers with outdated
workflows that challenge the consistency of how the business operates.
One such company was Ohio
Mutual Insurance, which addressed
the issue in 2014 with the implementation of Interaction Process
Automation, business process automation software from Interactive
“We had some outdated work-
flows that were inconsistent among departments,” says Bethany
Foy, business lines service center manager for Ohio Mutual. “We
needed to address the business need to get consistent across the
board and also to get work distributed to our associates in the most
Ohio Mutual has grown in recent years from a single-state
carrier to a regional business, thanks to expansion into five New
England states. That means more complexity in terms of the num-
ber of products and where the carrier’s policyholders and agents are
Ohio Mutual had been a customer of technology provider
AcroSoft—before it was acquired by Interactive Intelligence earlier
this decade—for content management and imaging.
“When we initially started looking at workflow and automa-
tion, we revisited AcroSoft because they had already provided
us with some workflow functionality,” says Foy. “We had some
shortcomings we were trying to address and were trying to decide
whether to continue on that path or leverage what Interactive
Intelligence was doing now that we were technically a customer of
theirs because of the acquisition.”
Foy reports Ohio Mutual did an extensive cost benefit analysis
in order to address concerns related to the size of the project and
what the carrier was trying to address in terms of time and effort.
Interactive Intelligence came out ahead as far as giving the insurer
what was needed.
Foy was the business lead for the project and worked closely
with a business consultant from Interactive Intelligence who led the
carrier through the project in areas such as running requirements,
running workflows, and executing the development.
The project started with a process evaluation, which began in
September of 2013 as Ohio Mutual mapped out its current process-
es and designed how it wanted the processes to evolve with the new
“That takes a lot of thought as to how you envision it to work,
yet still try to be innovative with the processes so it makes sense for
your business needs for today and tomorrow,” says Foy.
Ohio Mutual spent two months going through workshops with
users and managers to decide how they wanted the work to flow.
“We had to spend time fine-tuning the requirements,” says Foy.
The development started in January 2014 and the insurer
implemented its first set of processes with one department in April
of that year. Ohio Mutual spent the next few months designing
and executing the processes for the other departments, which was
completed by the end of ’14.
The area of the company that has had the most gains thus
far was the group that went from an email workflow to the new
Interactive Intelligence-designed workflow, according to Foy. Users
no longer grab work from 10 different sources to execute their jobs,
according to Foy.
“We reduced a lot of time spent on the actual gathering of
work,” she says. “Our underwriters are spending time underwriting
and making decisions related to our business rather than the action
of pulling work together and having to prioritize.”
Change management was one area Ohio Mutual took seriously
with this project. That meant having people involved in the project
and testing the software from a user-acceptance standpoint, so they
could take the information back to their teams to show them how
it was working, according to Foy.
“Having those champions with the users as they were being
trained enabled us to show how the system works going forward,”
she says. “We put together an IPA working group so users are in-
volved with twice-monthly meetings to communicate how we can
make the system better and what tweaks or enhancements we need
to make. Having that group involved is important because they use
the software every day. I facilitate their needs back to Interactive
Intelligence to find out how to make those needs happen.”
Since the implementation of the personal lines business in April
of 2014, Ohio Mutual has processed more than 123,000 work items
through August of this year, which gives a sense of the volume of
work handled. Other business units implemented since last De-
cember have processed more than 34,000 work items, Foy adds.
“The efficiencies we gained has been the top result,” says Foy.
“We also have gained capacity so personnel can do other things
with their time that are more meaningful.” ITA
Smooth as Silk
Ohio Mutual rid itself of outdated workflows through the help of business
process automation software.