Driving productivity and growth at MEMIC

Avanade’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM-based agency lifecycle management solution has helped US insurer MEMIC to expand its business

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 13 September 2016
Driving productivity and growth at MEMIC

This article first appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of The Record.

Private US-based mutual insurance firm MEMIC opened in January 1993 in Maine with a mission to drive reform in the state’s then-crumbling workers’ compensation market. After meeting with great success in its home state, the company launched an extensive expansion initiative in 2000 through a pair of subsidiary companies and now operates as The MEMIC Group with offices in eight states on the east coast of the US.

MEMIC’s expansion to thousands more customers on the Eastern Seaboard was hampered by outdated, manual processes for tracking leads for both its agents and underwriters. The company did not have a centralised lead tracking or submissions portal, and instead relied on a combination of different IT systems across regions. In addition, processes were largely manual and there were no digital tools to efficiently track leads through the sales cycle. Meanwhile, managers had limited ability to pull reports and gain insight on overall performance.

Recognising that it needed more efficient, effective ways for its underwriters and agents to deliver services to its customers, MEMIC opted to implement a new agency lifecycle management (ALM) solution.

“We knew it was something we had to tackle,” says Karen Johnston, director of Underwriting Operations at MEMIC.  “We knew this is where our growth would come from.”

However, MEMIC struggled to find a customer relationship (CRM) platform that catered to the insurance industry needs. That is, until it came across Avanade.

“Avanade brought to the table people who spoke our language,” says Johnston, adding that Avanade’s knowledge of the insurance industry and experienced team “tipped the scales” towards a partnership.

Avanade quickly developed a centralised and automated ALM solution powered by Microsoft Dynamics CRM that was tailored to meet MEMIC’s needs. Tapping its industry knowledge and delivery experience with digital sales and service solutions, Avanade developed a project plan and delivered on its proposed timeline. An agile delivery approach enabled flexible delivery and new releases every few weeks.

“In a word, working with Avanade was excellent,” Johnston says. “The company’s project management discipline is the best I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot in the past 20 years.”

Avanade’s solution brought order to a disjointed jumble of legacy systems and new capabilities that empower agents, underwriters, and managers to better serve customers and grow the business.

Agents and underwriters now have access to a one-stop-shop to create, track and manage their leads through to submission. They can spot at a glance everything they need to know about a client or prospect presented in an easy-to-read format. Plus, they can set goals and capture progress towards achieving them.

Similarly, managers have access to customisable sales dashboards and automated reports, so they can get up to speed faster and make strategic decisions with far more confidence than ever before.

Johnston explains that users and managers in the three key target areas – lead prospect management, new business management and agency submission management – are positive about the new CRM solution. It has brought greater discipline to information capture and tracking leads through the system, which in turn, is leading to better business insights.

“Efficiency, just the efficiency with which reports can be pulled and the ease of access to information at all levels has been huge,” adds Johnston.

With the new ALM platform, MEMIC has made a significant step towards its vision of becoming a digital workplace that drives higher employee engagement, productivity and better customer insights. In future, the company plans to use the Avanade solution to support its continued expansion into other regions of the US.

“We have only scratched the surface of what CRM can do,” says Johnston, pointing out plans to build out the solution to new areas, such as for loss control systems, by adding mobility capabilities and deepening ties with the actual policy holders.

“We intend to expand CRM’s reach beyond underwriting, starting with the new loss control initiative with Avanade,” says Matthew Holbrook, vice president of IT at MEMIC. “Ultimately, our CRM solution will provide a central repository of information on agents and policyholders, fostering common understanding across our enterprise and enhancing our customer service efforts.”


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