Most Effective Use of Software

Winner: Hibernian

Project: Hibernian B Live

Business goal: To enable insurance intermediaries to provide full sales services at customer sites via remote, real-time access to back-office systems.

Project partner: Kainos Software

Selling and servicing insurance products – especially when dealing directly with customer at their homes or offices – has traditionally been a highly disjointed, paper- and people-intensive business.

Brokers, canvassing customers in the field, might be able to generate a quote on their laptops but details still have to be sent to the insurance company’s head office for confirmation. Assuming the terms are acceptable, customers will then be provided with a policy plus additional paperwork or, instead, they might request further discussions with their broker. When the new business is finally ‘written’, the insurance company then dispatches insurance certificates and supporting documentation – a communications chain that typically involves fax, phone, post and face-to-face interaction.

At Hibernian, part of the Aviva Group and one of Ireland’s largest life and general insurance companies, that whole process took seven days – at best. But since the introduction of its B Live project in April 2005, the company has turned that on its head. In conjunction with Belfast-based consultancy Kainos, it has provided insurance intermediaries with web-based, remote access to its back-end applications, enabling them to execute full insurance services with customers in near real-time.

So instead of a representative taking four minutes to produce a quote, it is now supplied in 30 seconds, and the cycle for issuing a new policy has been shrunk to just seven minutes.

The project team of six developers used IBM’s WebSphere application server and MQ messaging to integrate with Hibernian’s mainframe applications, with information collated using Sun Microsystems’ Enterprise Java Beans and presented to brokers via web browser screens.

Cutting turnaround times has not been the only impressive feat of the new software. It has also slashed the generation of paper documents, resulting in dramatically lower storage and printing costs for the company.

An improved service is evident from an end-user perspective. Since its implementation, over 90% of home business and 70% of van business (Hibernian operates an on-the-road service in rural areas) is now carried out via B Live. This compares with an original estimate of 25%.

Business communications has also vastly improved: changes can be communicated instantly, introducing a new level of flexibility to Hibernian’s business model and allowing it to react instantly to changing market conditions.

Highly Commended

Glasgow City Council

Each year, Glasgow City Council spends £500 million on procurement. By re-engineering its procurement processes and supporting applications, it aims to reduce this figure by £21 million over three years. This goal required the completion of a series of SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, time-bound) objectives, and involved a 50-strong development team. As a result, the council is now well on its way to achieving its savings target.

Sutton and East Surrey Water

Sometimes relatively simple IT projects deliver disproportionately large benefits. At Sutton and East Surrey Water, the deployment of speech technology to automate telephone-based credit card transactions has reduced bill payment costs by 75% and freed call centre agent time so they are able to offer richer and more proactive services to customers.

Avatar photo

Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

Related Topics