West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. recently won an Innovation in Action Award from Strategy Meets Action at their annual SMA Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston. These awards are given yearly to insurance carriers and service providers that demonstrate meaningful execution of technical innovation initiatives.
“Our annual awards program gives SMA the opportunity to recognize and celebrate true innovation within the insurance industry. The speed and impact of change can be seen in an increasing number of insurance companies,” said Karen Furtado, SMA Partner. “In the seven years we have presented these awards, we have seen clear evidence of the incredible strides being made within our industry by insurers and solution providers alike. We congratulate all of the winners and participants on their successes in reimagining the business of insurance for the new digital age!”
West Bend’s win came as a result of its implementation of Boston-based insurtech firm Hi Marley’s AI-based conversation (chatbot) platform. Claims reps use Hi Marley’s solution to interact with their customers to receive photos, send updates, and gather real-time feedback via SMS. West Bend was the first carrier to put Hi Marley’s virtual assistant into production, and immediately saw a reduction in phone calls and voicemails, faster resolution of claims, and higher overall customer satisfaction. Satisfied with these results, West Bend implemented the platform across auto and property claims, and now plans further extension. The carrier’s integration with Hi Marley gives policyholders a distinctly modern customer experience – an area in which West Bend is a pioneer.
In May of this year, West Bend chose to move its existing on-premises implementations of Duck Creek Policy and Billing to Duck Creek OnDemand, our SaaS solution for the P&C insurance industry. Quickly realizing the benefits afforded by SaaS delivery of core systems, the carrier recently elected to upgrade all of its core systems to the full Duck Creek Suite, delivered again via OnDemand. The move will give West Bend the full power of the Duck Creek Platform, making initiatives like its award-winning integration with Hi Marley even easier to implement. The open architecture of the Duck Creek Platform, and the ecosystem of value-adding service providers connected via Anywhere Managed Integrations, give West Bend a wide variety of potential partners to collaborate with on forward-thinking technology projects. And the carrier will enjoy more freedom to focus on further innovation – another key benefit of moving away from resource-intensive on-premises applications and embracing SaaS.
“Duck Creek’s offering of SaaS core systems is strategically aligned with West Bend’s aggressive digital transformation efforts. Extending our current footprint of OnDemand products – Policy and Billing – to the full Suite is the next logical step to modernizing our core systems,” said Murali Natarajan, SVP and CIO of West Bend, announcing the carrier’s decision to adopt the full Duck Creek Suite via OnDemand. “Having all of our core applications running on the Duck Creek Platform will give us greater ability to use data as a competitive asset, introduce new products and change existing ones rapidly, and connect with the growing insurtech ecosystem through Anywhere Managed Integrations.”
If West Bend’s award-winning integration with Hi Marley is any indicator, we are excited to see what innovations the insurer will roll out in the future – especially given the ease and speed with which the carrier will be able to tackle such projects thanks to the Duck Creek Platform and Duck Creek OnDemand. We look forward to continuing our strong, time-tested relationship with West Bend, and to congratulating them on many more awards to come.