Unlike most publicly held insurance companies, insurance program administrators, especially those serving the needs of the public sector, do not necessarily measure success by looking at organic or acquisitive growth. For these special participants in the industry, success is measured by how well they meet or exceed customer expectations in order to effectively maintain the business.
For NGU Risk Management’s customers, those expectations are around unmatched price and service, which plays forward to a retention rate of 97 to 99 percent. NGU’s staff, most of whom are long-term employees, espouse a corporate philosophy of creativity, innovation, and professionalism with a commitment to serving the public sector’s insurance and custom risk management needs fuels the company forward.
The genesis of the organization dates back to 1987 when John Evans, founder of NGU, worked at Arthur J Gallagher and started a 13-member school district pool program now known as the Tennessee Risk Management Trust. founding NGU in 1999, Evans grew the organization to include county governments and utility districts, now providing customers across the state of Tennessee with a direct access or Agency Partnership with Tennessee’s most advanced insurance pool program.
Now meeting the general liability, property, specialty lines and other risk management requirements of NGU’s current base of 206 member-customers, the organization considers itself “at capacity,” making the goal of membership retention a huge priority. To reach that goal and continue to provide excellent customer service, NGU recognized that it needed a path to the most modern technologies.
Under the leadership of Kyle Greenup, VP of IT, NGU is finding its way. Greenup was “raised” at NGU, joining the organization in 2000 while still in college and actively obtaining his IT certifications, and has a passion for innovation… and for making it easier for all NGU stakeholders to do business.
Over the years, Greenup realized that the company’s client-server-based system was not as efficient as it could be. The system, which acted as a CRM, document storage application and general ledger, was coupled with a separate Access database containing the organization’s schedule records (property, auto, mobile equipment, etc.). CSRs fielded requests by email, making changes, issuing auto IDs and responding to various customer requests.
“We knew we needed a cloud-based system that would allow us to access our data in a secure way,” said Greenup. “And we had heard from our members that they wanted an online portal to have access to their records.”
Last Fall, the company implemented Insurium’s user-configurable core systems modules via Microsoft’s Azure secure cloud platform, using Insurium’s CRM, Member Portal and Schedules modules to reduce the time and effort in managing schedule data–data that is a key element to management of various elements within each members’ program.
“Take vehicles as just one example,” Greenup says. “In the public sector, vehicles can be damaged or moved around, and Insurium helps keep track of registration, location, and a host of other elements,” says Greenup.
Greenup noted that in the evaluation of Insurium’s portal, it was obvious that this tool would keep NGU’s members engaged with their policies, thereby optimizing customer service while at the same time providing the organization with relevant client data.
And after implementation, NGU saw improvements right away, but Greenup says giving membership access to the portal is a real win/win, because the system creates efficiencies for all parties. “Members can access their records, change, edit and delete records, get reports of property listings, mobile equipment and auto IDs, too. Our ability to improve customer service is a goal that is now being met.”
For internal NGU staff, Insurium has also created efficiencies and cost savings. “It’s taken a load off our CSRs,” Greenup says. “Members are performing many admin tasks themselves, getting reports when they want — they can tailor it to what they need, so they are in control. Some of the larger, complex schools and counties are able to manage as easily as the smaller, once-a year-changes required of smaller entities.”
NGU also gives service professionals access to the portal on member’s behalf. For example, property appraisers who go onsite to a member every three years are given access to the portal in order to update records on the member’s behalf. Other reporting that takes place involves the addition of information on new buildings, current buildings that perhaps were unreported by the member, updated values for properties, etc. “This is a large time saver for both the appraisers and our NGU staff, as the appraisers have direct access to those records for update purposes,” adds Greenup.
NGU will continue to apply its corporate philosophy of creativity, innovation and professionalism to the customization of risk transfer programs. But Greenup says that based on Insurium’s performance to date, the organization can expect to replace some of the complexity inherent in its operations with more simplicity going forward, especially during its member renewal period. “Because of the way Insurium’s modules are designed, we are looking forward to further conversations with Insurium.”