Zurich U.S. Insurance
helps Zurich U.S. Insurance claim competitive advantage
When customers of Zurich U.S.
Insurance, a property-casualty insurer based in Schaumburg, Ill., wanted
more timely information, the company realized that "the Internet was the
only answer that made any sense," said Frank Colletti, assistant vice
president of the Enterprise Risk Division.
Zurich already had a full-client
solution, the Risk Manager Workstation, up and running. But updated data
for this product had to be sent to customers every month. "The data wasn't
timely enough," Colletti explained. "It could be 45 days old by the time
[customers] were loading it." Focus groups conducted by the Enterprise
Risk Division revealed that users wanted data on a daily basis, so Zurich
began production of RiskIntelligence in June 1997.
Purpose: To differentiate Zurich in
the crowded field of risk management.
Benefits: Improved speed and cost of
delivering claims reports to clients; competitive advantage; and
reduced support costs.
Platforms: Windows NT, IBM AIX Unix,
The e-business intelligence app
offers customers immediate access to critical loss data. It also offers
the ability to analyze the data for trends that can be positively managed
in order to reduce claims and insurance costs.
Using Microsoft Project, Zurich
built the software development life cycle around several milestones. The
first was to produce a demo of the app by April 1998. From April to August,
the project team focused on developing the infrastructure and security
to make the app production-ready for an extranet implementation. From
mid- August to mid-November, the team piloted the application with about
20 customers and, based on their feedback, made adjustments to the application.
A major technical challenge was the fact that RiskIntelligence was the
first extranet Zurich had developed. There was no infrastructure in place,
and the project required the team to develop a T-1 connection and a firewall
concurrently. In order to handle infrastructure and hardware aspects,
the team was split into two groups.
The software chosen by the team
presented another challenge. WebIntelligence was picked as the key enabling
technology because it offered thin-client access, point-and-click reporting
and security features. However, WebIntelligence was still in beta when
the project started, so "we went through growing pains," noted Zurich's
Colletti. In order to overcome this technology learning curve, team members
underwent extensive training offered by the different tool vendors.
The team used Sybase IQ because
of its fast retrieval in an ad-hoc query environment and its data compression.
Initially, Zurich chose NT as its platform because WebIntelligence was
compatible with it. How- ever, the firm is now switching to IBM AIX Unix
because it is better suited to a 24x7 configuration. Zurich chose Dynamics
because it felt it was a solid security tool with a good reputation; WSD-Pro
was selected for its ability to handle load building and redundancy.
The system architecture is
built around a T-1 connection to the Internet and firewall. Customers dial-in
using a Web browser and at least a 28.8K modem. Authorization is conducted
through Security Dynamics, and a VeriSign Certificate is used for encryption.
Queries are received by a WSD-Pro Web router that manages connections to
other servers, including a Compaq ProLiant Web server running WebIntelligence
and a Unix server that holds the Business Objects repository. The development
team built the T-1 line, the firewall, the WSD-Pro Web router and the entire
server farm for this application.
Business Objects' WebIntelligence 2.0,
Sybase IQ, Dynamics, Radware's WSD-Pro
Targeted at Zurich's
large customers who carry premiums averaging $1 million and more, RiskIntelligence
has helped Zurich improve the speed and cost of delivering claims reports
to clients. The product saved Zurich $400,000 in its first year of implementation
through the reduction of support costs, an additional $300,000 last year,
and another $100,000 in savings is expected in 2000.
— Lana Gates