SaaS Policy Administration System Thwarts Irene at Narragansett Bay Insurance; Delivers Built-in Disaster Recovery and Scalability

When Hurricane Irene hit Rhode Island with powerful winds and rain on Sunday, August 28, one concern that Narragansett Bay Insurance Company CIO Michael Anselmo did not have was that his company’s policy administration and billing systems would be shut down – paralyzing its ability to respond to customers. NBIC specializes in homeowners insurance in coastal areas of the Northeast, so one thing was certain – they would quickly be thrown into a period of high claims activity.  But you can’t worry about systems you don’t have. NBIC has no core systems technology infrastructure on its premises. All core systems run in multiple private clouds on remote web-based servers. This proved to be a prudent strategy that provided built-in disaster recovery and plenty of capacity for the subsequent increase in Irene-driven system volume.

A recent technology modernization removed all of NBIC’s core systems from the Pawtucket home office and deployed it to its privately-managed clouds.  NBIC rolled out Exigen Insurance Solutions’ PolicyCore and BillingCore as software-as-a-service with web-only access at the end of 2010. While NBIC did activate its home office disaster recovery process as power supply wavered, no fail-over portal, policy or claims systems needed to be brought up – they were always running. NBIC’s policy administration system runs in a veritable cloud computing fortress, a global cloud computing service provider environment whose operations were untouched by the hurricane. Even if they had been, redundancy protocols would have immediately kicked-in to provide uninterrupted availability.

“At the end of the day, when the storm passes, you want to be able to say there was ‘no impact to agent- or policyholder-facing services.’ Our decision to put our new policy administration system into the cloud as SaaS proved to be a good one from many perspectives, and right now the added value of built-in disaster recovery really stands out,” explained Anselmo. “While Irene caused power outages that affected our home office and our staff’s homes, our policy and claims systems remained available throughout the hurricane. If we had implemented our new core systems on-premise, it would have been very expensive to build out the necessary physical and technology infrastructure required, let alone create an additional disaster recovery site.”

Speaking three days after Irene’s passage, Anselmo says the SaaS core systems scaled easily to accommodate the twenty-fold increase in online and call center activity.    

According to Exigen Insurance CTO, Michael Dwyer, “Redundant systems installed for Disaster Recovery purposes can be an expensive proposition for insurers. Exigen Insurance’s offering of Exigen PolicyCore, BillingCore and ClaimCore as SaaS removes that headache for insurers. Another important benefit is elastic scalability. The SaaS deployment is designed to increase capacity as needed as disaster-spiked demand surges. It avoids the need to build and pay for over capacity that insurers may or may not need.”