Frankenmuth Insurance was an early user of imaging systems,
but as enterprise content management systems took insurers
beyond imaging and workflow, the company realized the time
was right to upgrade its platform.
The old imaging system performed capably for Frankenmuth in its early days, according to Phil McCain, vice president
of IT for Frankenmuth. But after more than a decade of service,
the carrier realized there were better tools on the market.
Initially, the plan was to begin a transformation project
involving core systems and hold off on ECM. “We felt enough
was enough and decided not to pursue ECM replacement right
away,” says McCain.
At the onset of the transformation initiative it was determined to stick with the legacy imaging system, integrate it with
the new Guidewire components, and then circle back later for
an ECM system. What drove Frankenmuth to switch directions and choose Hyland’s OnBase system was the feeling that
the legacy imaging solution was nearing the end of its life and
would potentially disappear from the market.
“That was too much of a risk,” says McCain. “It was terrible
timing, but maybe a blessing in disguise. We put ourselves on a
fast track. We had been paying attention to Hyland for a number
of years because they are a growing and successful company.”
Frankenmuth, which offers P&C as well as life insurance
and has more than $1 billion in assets, lived with a degree of
risk by running a small vendor system for so long, but the carri-
er needed contingency plans if something went south. Hyland’s
relationship with Guidewire appealed to the insurer.
“We are trying to embrace change,” says McCain. “In the
past, we tried not to build our own software, but we had a
culture of using vendor software and then modifying it so much
that we practically could not take advantage of version up-
grades. We locked ourselves in.”
As the company made the decision to turn to Guidewire
for its core systems, Frankenmuth wanted to focus on working
closely with the vendors and not dig themselves into a hole they
could not escape.
“We want to get out of the business of difficult integration
work and focus on our core business,” says McCain.
With the depth of integration points into the core Guidewire
administrative centers—policy, billing, and claims—the capability of Hyland proved to be more robust than their existing
legacy platform and accelerated the integration Frankenmuth
was hoping to achieve.
What surprised business users were the many features
Hyland offered that weren’t part of the carrier’s legacy system.
“We are saving a few clicks and eliminating frustration
points such as claims adjusters putting an email into the ECM
system, which was a pain before, but will be much easier with
Hyland,” says McCain. “The depth of integration points will be
appreciated by our business users.”
Frankenmuth will ultimately tackle general imaging needs
throughout the company. They anticipate Hyland assisting with
the HR function with its depth and experience in that space.
Currently, the HR function is not supported by an ECM solu-
tion due to limitations with the legacy system.
“Right now, because we didn’t plan to do it right away, we
are focused on our first phase Guidewire release then we’ll spin
off other projects with Hyland to take care of additional ECM
needs throughout the company,” says McCain.
The Hyland staff, the Frankenmuth IT staff, and support
from PwC, are handling the implementation. McCain believes
Hyland brings in a methodology and process that works well
with what Frankenmuth is doing with its agile methodology.
“We like the idea that Hyland had accountability to help get
this in and be successful,” says McCain.
The top project right now is to complement the carrier’s
commercial lines and then get the Guidewire initiative in place.
McCain says in July the carrier was completing sprint 19 out of
about 24 on the Guidewire transformation initiative. Full testing
will begin early next year.
“It’s a pretty significant change for us,” says McCain. “Of
course there are worries; this is a massive project, but we are
seeing good results. We run into challenges—I’ve never talked
to a company that hasn’t—but it is coming together and there is
excitement about the workflow efficiency that will be achieved.
We are upgrading our commercial lines products as well so
there definitely is a lot of change and excitement.”
McCain explains the carrier felt the investments were need-
ed to stay competitive, expand operations as the carrier grows
geographically, and offer more services to agency partners.
“It is critical to position ourselves to take better advantage
of analytics and not be constrained by legacy systems,” he says.
“Some suggest putting bandages around legacy systems, but it
is expensive and we were at the point where that simply was
no longer effective. The transformation will improve corporate
efficiency, speed-to-market cycles, and service we are able to
provide to our stakeholders.” ITA
Blessing in Disguise
Frankenmuth Insurance was originally satisfied with its imaging system, but a
transformation project led them to enterprise content management.
The Big Fix
By Robert Regis Hyle