Driving Innovation in the Insurance Industry
Every company faces a moment when rules and norms change and they must adapt or risk being left behind. Mountain West Farm Bureau Insurance chose to transform from the ground up, building a strong foundation for the next 75 years.
According to a recent survey by Gartner, insurance companies are shifting their focus from revenue growth to improving customer experience and operational efficiency. The survey found that 60% of insurers consider customer experience their top strategic goal, while 55% plan to invest in process automation and other technologies to streamline their operations.
Many, like Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance, are upgrading legacy technology infrastructures to meet evolving customer expectations and remain competitive. The 75-year-old insurance company transformed its entire business in just 12 months by moving to the Guidewire Cloud, which gave it access to pre-built integrations with market-leading applications like DocuSign eSignature.
The integration enables Mountain West to deliver a seamless and secure onboarding process, with significantly faster quote-to-issue time across five lines of business and reduced turnaround on all other account-related transactions.
With 20+ years experience doing systems modernizations, Vice President and CIO Tim Hays came on board to lead the transformation project in 2021. We talked with Tim about strategy, success and what’s next for the insurer.
Twelve months is quite the feat for a complete infrastructure overhaul. Can you share your strategic imperatives?
Our overarching objective was to collapse four policy systems and multiple claims systems into one Guidewire-powered cloud solution. And what's exciting is the speed at which we were able to do that. When we started this project, we made the commitment to use Guidewire to the fullest. We weren’t interested in rebuilding or building from scratch. We wanted to take investments that others have already made with Guidewire, and build on what they've given us.
We kicked off the project in March of ‘21. And we were live in the Guidewire Cloud across two underwriting companies, three states and five lines of business in about a year. At the same time, we went live with 45 integrations. One of those was DocuSign.
How does DocuSign fit into your transformation initiative?
We’re covering a large geographic area: Wyoming, Montana and Colorado. It's not always easy for customers to get to an office. We wanted to make it so that if a customer needs to make a change to a policy, for example, they can do it via their phone or tablet. It’s that better, more convenient experience we were after.
Once your team decided to find an e-signature solution, how did you ultimately land on DocuSign?
We ultimately went with DocuSign because it’s a brand people recognize and trust. If we send out an email that says DocuSign on it, most people are going to know what that is. Plus, it was an existing account for us, so it was a pretty easy decision from my side.
Where has the company seen the greatest transformation?
We went from very little automation to having a fully digitalized experience that we've built into the processing. It’s enabled an experience where our agents can sit across a desk or restaurant table from someone, ask questions, input answers, and give them a quote. And if they like the quote, we can collect the signature, collect the payment and deliver the documents—all in one sitting.
What results have you seen so far?
Some of the results we’ve seen with Guidewire and DocuSign are still a little mind-blowing. In the first six months, we achieved 90% straight-through processing—meaning we only touch one out of 10 applications that we receive. Everything else is fully automated.
Any future plans you can share with us on how you're going to be leveraging DocuSign in the future?
There’s an opportunity to integrate DocuSign into other areas of the business where signature collection is a part of the process. But then, DocuSign can do other things than just deliver and collect signatures, right? We envision using it to ask questions that require some feedback or input like: How many miles did you drive…What was your child’s grade point average? We give discounts for things like that. DocuSign provides an easy way for us to collect some of that information as we build our two-way digital communication journey.
Do you have any advice for others in the insurance industry who are maybe looking to use DocuSign either with or without Guidewire?
What the heck are you waiting for? We proposed to Guidewire, and they agreed, that DocuSign eSignature should be a part of the integration package available to future customers.
Read Mountain West’s full success story here.