Becoming great at something takes vision, skill, hard work, and in the case of Utah Business Insurance Company (UBIC), the right insurance technology and processes. The company, which provides workers compensation insurance to home builders, contractors and other businesses in the state of Utah, has experienced steady growth over the course of its 12-year tenure.
UBIC’s humble beginnings (the company received its certificate of authority in May of 2006, when the first policy was issued to the founder’s company, A Good Brick Mason) reflect the principles still inherent in today’s performance expectations: Provide efficient, superior, customized service that maximizes value, promotes safety, and provides outstanding education to their customers and customers’ employees. This approach has helped UBIC establish itself as the premier provider of long-term, stable solutions for workers’ compensation insurance in Utah.
Maintaining that spot means that UBIC must think smart when it comes to risk management and loss prevention growth initiatives, including the best possible use of digital technology, states Tyler Nielsen, Vice President of Operations at UBIC.
“With our independent agents in place, we have a 20-member internal team servicing the unique requirements of 2,269 active commercial policyholders,” Nielsen says. “The expectations around the roles, responsibilities, tasks and results are the same for UBIC as they are for a larger workers’ compensation carrier with a bigger bastion of support, matching our innovation vision with efficiencies tied to a digital platform was an imperative for us.”
Operating as an innovative enterprise has always been a part of the organization’s growth strategy, a tactic that proves that you don’t have to be a large company in order to take a cutting-edge approach to operational improvements using digital technologies.
So as the company neared its 10-year anniversary, it reviewed its core technology hardware and software footprint to gauge its overall effectiveness. This review included a special focus on improving workflow and efficiencies in order to maximize its ability to continue to provide exemplary service to both its independent agents and its customers. As a result of the review, UBIC began its move in July 2016 from a dated underwriting system to Insurium’s CRM, Workflow, Policy and Underwriting Administration, Billing and Receivables, Claims Integration, and portal offerings.
UBIC’s decision to leverage newer digital technologies also correlated to ensuring safe, secure transmission of data, as well as reliable access to the software’s most recent version. “We are a small carrier; if we have critical services in-house and have a major event, we will have a much harder time recovering from that,” Nielsen explains.
Nielsen says that along with the safety and security offered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, Insurium offered UBIC greater efficiencies. “We have a commitment to provide superior loss control, and every customer gets personalized safety service,” he says. To help manage UBIC’s safety programs, including scheduling periodic inspections, hazard corrections, employee training, accident investigations and record keeping, the insurer uses Insurium CRM, Workflow and portal offerings.
Because customized communications are key to UBIC’s value proposition, UBIC planned ahead, leveraging the configurability of Insurium’s underwriting and billing modules before the company went into production. “We have some policyholders that report payroll monthly, and by setting rules proactively, we were able to adapt the system to 10 installments instead of 12 for certain customers. It’s gone a long way toward improving customer service,” notes Nielsen.
Executing on its vision, which includes being able to grow organically and successfully compete against a state-wide competitive landscape, UBIC moved some Insurium modules into production quickly. “We implemented into production items that were absolutely necessary, and then built from there,” Nielsen says. By “building” Nielsen means being able to set and adjust underwriting rules and customize dates. “We modified our workflow to create custom checklists for the policyholder that are similar to what the doctor might to follow,” he says.
Along with configurability, the quality control aspect of the system is a time-saver, Nielsen adds. “We noticed that in our loss-control area, a drop-down field was missing, and within 30 seconds I had it fixed. We’ve also customized information layout and free form text.”
Nielsen attributes the success of Insurium as a core systems modernization effort to UBIC’s implementation philosophy: “Construct a plan that defines the critical items first, make them work, then add features,” he advises. “Focus on the must-haves in the system (what makes the biggest impact the fastest or for the least cost), then decide on the nice-to-have extras and implement those on a different schedule. Insurium allows you to do that.”
The “plan your work, work your plan” philosophy also applies to UBIC’s long-term goal of retiring the few internal servers still in use. “We know upkeep for hardware is costly, and we have always had a digital strategy in place,” Nielsen says. “But a few of the company’s employees still perform tasks that rely on paper, such as printing requests attached to a policyholder’s audit for submission to the accounting department. So, we look forward to the efficiencies gained when we are fully in the cloud.”
For now, UBIC has several important digital initiatives underway that will speed up the company’s internal processes in order to increase speed to market. Using a combination of digital resources including Insurium, Valen Analytics, and Power BI,” UBIC just released a new platform to allow agencies to submit in a better digital fashion with less errors, and policyholders now have access to their policies, safety programs, schedules, HR forms and more. “It makes our job easier from a data retrieval standpoint, along with requests from policyholders, agents and the Department of Insurance,” says Nielsen.
“Doing business with a company like Insurium, which gives us access to our own data, is transforming us,” Nielsen adds. “Some companies are less transparent, but Insurium is very open with the data, so I can extract all kinds of reports, do it on my own and control the output.”