Finding the right technology solution for your company is never an
easy prospect. For Industrial Alliance Auto and Home Insurance,
(IAAH) a Canadian insurer based
in Quebec City in the province of
Quebec, patience was needed.
IAAH faced three technical
issues that needed to be resolved,
according to Pascal Lavoie, CTO
at IAAH. The first involved
using web services to allow faster
integration between partners and
third parties. These communication
channels provide added service.
The second challenge involved the database, which Lavoie
explains was designed for a brokerage business and was not
adaptable to the needs of a direct insurer such as IAAH.
To support the performance requirements of the platform,
the insurer reviewed the way it conducted transactions.
“It was a flexible system, but in the context of load and
performance requirements for the web and rating issue, it was
more tailored as a mainframe system,” says Lavoie. “There were
some challenges that could be avoided with a new architecture.”
IAAH made early attempts to replace the older system.
Around 2005, the carrier was confronted with the challenge to
establish more conversations with its partners and clients, in-
cluding the ability to provide service on the web. The company
attempted to add a web layer on top of the legacy system, but
ultimately the project failed.
“We realized the direction we took would not bring suffi-
cient value and the timeframe was unacceptable,” he says. “We
started in 2005 and we were supposed to finish at the beginning
of 2008, but after two years we reviewed the plan and it would
have been crazy to continue. The web layer would still show the
same constraints we had with our legacy system.”
IAAH paused to review the entire situation, including the
way projects were run. From there, according to Lavoie, they
adopted a lean culture and decided to improve its processes.
“It’s always better to review processes before attempting to
change IT around it,” he says.
In 2010, the insurer defined its new IT orientation and
looked at three solutions. It helped that the market was more
mature and a commercial solution
could probably make IAAH more
The carrier reached out to two
consultants who had experience
with system implementation and
they helped guided IAAH. The
insurer went through the RFI pro-
cess, and prepared for it by bring-
ing all the business users together.
The business group planned a
scenario and asked each solution
provider to follow the scenario.
They were compared through the
The insurer chose the EIS Group’s (formerly Exigen) policy
system and Sophie Duval, vice president of support and governance, feels all their questions were validated.
“We think it is the right solution for us,” she says. “[EIS] un-
derstood our business and our requirements. The early results
confirm those impressions.”
The selection process took five months and then another
eight months for the discovery process, which was a deep anal-
ysis into the platform and functionalities, according to Duval.
The implementation began in June, 2012 and IAAH went live
on May 26 of this year.
Lavoie was happy with the lean development, which he
explains was new for EIS as well.
“You have to work as partners to reduce delays, and work
as one team,” he says. “We were both onboard and able to have
IAAH once again reviewed most of their main processes.
“We knew there were some simpler processes and we also
realized there was a better way to do things with the [EIS] solution,” says Duval.
“You have people doing the same processes for many years,”
adds Lavoie. “We reviewed them, but people aren’t used to
thinking differently. We were able to discover some simpler
processes, which was great for the lean approach.”
IAAH is a growing company and adding more sales agents.
It was difficult to train new agents and brokers on the legacy
system, but it is easier today because many of the new agents are
used to working on a web-based system. ITA
Try, Try Again
The right solution to a company’s problems doesn’t always happen on the
first attempt, but this Canadian insurer eventually got it right.
Pascal Lavoie Sophie Duval