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Investments in Technology
for better service
For FCCI, 2022 was a critical year for identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the rapidly changing domain of Information Technology (IT).
Three specific corporate business goals were outlined — how to grow the business, how to make it easier to actually do business and how to transform in areas where operational efficiencies could be improved.
Equally important, the company acknowledged the necessity to stay in front of advancements in technology that are happening almost daily. One missed step or one unexpected delay could put FCCI (or any organization) into an untenable position.
In 2022, FCCI made it crystal clear — the insurance leader was investing in technology more than ever before.
It was all about having the vision to see what was coming, calculating what could be done, figuring out the gaps in the company’s legacy IT systems and moving as fast as possible to get ahead of the curve.
“Technology is investment!” declares Dave Patel, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “Technology will always be continuous because things are changing so quickly. There is no alternative and no easier way. If you don’t keep up, within six months you’ll fall behind and you may never catch up.”
Joining FCCI in January 2021, Dave brought a determined approach to the IT department with an eye on the fastest, most efficient path forward. He sought out the adoption of SAFe Agile principles to deliver results.
Dave's first objectives were to identify the gaps that had crept into some of FCCI’s legacy systems, and quickly focus on the myriad of ways that IT can expedite growth for the company.
“We started by asking ourselves the question — what can IT do to enable business growth in terms of products, coverages, distribution and geographic expansion?”
“In 2022, we delivered an upgrade to the Surety cloud platform. It provided the features and resources needed to sustain continued growth,” he explained. Dave added, “It was a necessary update that will enable the business team to expand into 46 states by the end of 2023.”
In addition, the team addressed a number of vendor challenges within the commercial property and casualty business. The feedback they received showed that FCCI teammates had a genuine desire to always meet customers’ needs, but were sometimes getting frustrated with inefficiencies in certain systems, applications and processes.
“We saw that IT needed to address the system and platform challenges underwriters were facing. Over the course of the year, the team delivered prioritized enhancements and upgrades. As a result, teammates were able to focus on continuously booking business, servicing their customers and making significant headway toward growth,” Dave emphasized.
Some of the technological improvements that IT made in 2022 were not only for the internal FCCI teammates, but also for agents and their customers. Ultimately, the focus of the corporate initiative was to help the business process become more effortless for all concerned.
FCCI likewise had the foresight and commitment to update its agency distribution management platform by switching to the cloud. This has enabled agent/agency appointments, Just-in-Time appointments and agency agreements to all be handled electronically. The benefits will materialize for the agent/agency licensing and management teams and will make seamless experiences possible for external producers and agents.
“Look at our 2022 growth goal, and you’ll see that we really embraced the cloud,” said Dave. “Practically everything we’re doing now is in the cloud.”
The second corporate goal was one of FCCI’s core beliefs — that the process of “doing business” should be made as easy as possible for everyone involved, especially its teammates. To that end, the IT department brought in identity access management and Single Sign-On capability, granting ready access, and avoiding repeated sign-ins. Again, this is made possible through the cloud.
Another way of making it easier to do business involves customer communication management. The digital SMARTCOMMTM platform was identified as the right solution to consistently manage FCCI’s documents and templates. Teammates are now ensured that a document gets generated from one place rather than embedded into applications. Also implemented was an eSignature cloud for agency distribution management.
The third corporate goal for IT in 2022 fell under the category of transformation. The IT department’s transformative work on the ClaimCenterTM Cloud implementation included rewriting all of FCCI’s existing integration, while redoing hundreds of documents and reports. By having this in the cloud, IT can now continuously upgrade with all new releases, and seamlessly connect to all third-party integrations.
In 2022, FCCI’s billing system began migrating to the new Guidewire BillingCenterTM Cloud, during which the company maintained its ongoing compliance initiative of data retention and anonymization.
At this point, Dave believes FCCI’s IT efforts are on the right track to meet its business needs, as long as the company continues to consistently invest in technology as it did in 2022. However, there is still a lot to be done.
“I believe that we have now set the foundation and the correct pace,” he says. We have SAFe Agile methodology, and a mindset for execution and delivery of the business needs. I’d say that we successfully achieved much of what was planned for 2022, specifically, the corporate goals. At the same time, IT was also accomplishing a vast list of tasks that are required to simply keep FCCI functioning technologically on a daily basis.”
Dave adds with a smile, “I tell people that this is how IT must work every day, in and out.”
Technology will always be continuous because things are changing so quickly . Dave Patel, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer