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The making of a product factory

As featured on CIO.com last year, AXIS Insurance has undergone a fundamental transformation of not only its technology capabilities but its entire business model–all thanks to a proactive change management program and modern solutions, including several from Duck Creek. The end result: a well-oiled “product factory” that has given AXIS the power to create innovative new products in record time.

AXIS realized several years ago that in order to continue its success, it needed to digitize. The carrier had 170 products, manual processing, legacy systems, offline underwriting systems, and spreadsheets. This was neither sustainable nor scalable. Since completing its digital transformation initiative, AXIS has rationalized roughly half of its existing products—taking 80 to 42, with an ultimate goal of 86 products.  The carrier grouped products by commonality in order to market them more efficiently–and cut cost and delivery time by 75%. Now, most products are on the Duck Creek Platform, available for analysis and underwriting insights so AXIS can create automated decisioning.

According to AXIS CIO Darryl Catts, the carrier’s plan to create a blueprint for success before tackling such a complex project served them well in overcoming obstacles on the way to their end goals. “We anticipated challenges around change management and handled them very well,” Catts said. “Aggressive user adoption has surprised us a bit, however. As users have been successful and internal efficiencies ramp up, there is increasing demand for new capabilities. This is a good problem to have. But now that users see the possibilities, they simply want to do more with the platform,” Catts continued. “We have had to set expectations about delivering the best value for the funding available. We now are training ‘Super Users’ throughout the organization who can address business needs and relieve some of the pressure on IT. With automated rating and policy issuance and being paperless, users now expect perfection.”

The new AXIS “product factory” enabled the carrier to launch 20+ products in 2018; its goal is 40 in 2019. This agility is based on partnership between AXIS’ agile product development and business teams, with iterative deliveries occurring in two-week segments. By configuring products in Duck Creek Policy, the insurer simultaneously creates requirements for all coverages, matching coverages for claims-loss reasons. Each product then comes with specs for rate, quote, and issue, as well as claims, billing, and commissioning. Some highlights of AXIS’ “product factory” approach include:

  • 12 systems eliminated
  • +15% underwriter productivity
  • DWP growth from $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion
  • Cut costs and delivery time by 75%
  • Decreased cost of enhancements by 5x
  • Increased spend on innovation from 9% to 37%
  • Cost reduction from going paperless

What AXIS has achieved is a clear testament to the strength of their “transformation by design.” In the words of AXIS’ Darryl Catts, “With the Duck Creek Suite, AXIS can upgrade easily, standardize reports, process claims more efficiently, streamline sales and quoting, and mine deeper data insights–all with less maintenance. This move has substantially improved our operating environment and allowed us to find and create new business opportunities that weren’t available to us two years ago.”

We look forward to continuing our partnership with AXIS as they prove to the insurance industry that true change requires not just cutting-edge technologies, but an upfront investment in people and process. That approach enables entire organizations to work together toward common goals–and achieve them at a pace seemingly unimaginable not long in the past.

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