We Are Family

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-02-23 Print this article Print

We Are Family The IT team at Chubb didnt design EMIR in a bubble. Thomas team, along with a hefty group of business users, did a basic study of what type of functionality was needed for the initiative. They determined the software they implemented needed to be Web-based and multidimensional, with the ability to look at numbers intuitively and to enable users to drill down to the underlying data. Over a three-month evaluation, they looked at four vendors, finally choosing Cognos.
"Cognos answered most of the questions we had," said Thomas. "We were also looking for a long-term partner with financial stability in the market. We felt Cognos would be there not only in the next year but in the years to come."
The European group received approval for EMIR in the middle of 2001. The IT groups first release came two years later, with an inaugural Profitability report family, which takes in calendar year and underwriting year results and triangulations, reconciled with Chubbs MIS system, but with more detail and flexibility of analysis around revenue, profit and trending. Other report families followed. Most recently, Thomas group released a Dashboard report family in 2006 that brings together key performance indicators from different report families into a simple overview for senior management. An Operations Management report family will follow at the end of 2007 that will review performance against internal and external service levels and identify bottlenecks. An Exposure Management report family is targeted for 2007 and 2008 that will provide a detailed investigation of Chubbs European divisions insurance programs, limits, deductibles, locations and the like. But the real challenge in implementing EMIR isnt around systems or data mining, Thomas said. "Change management is one of the main headaches," he said. "Any one of those data sources could change at any time. If [there is a change] in even one underwriting system, it can cause cascading changes in all the other systems. When you have that level of integration, something that could be a small change can have lots of effects. Thats something weve worked very hard at." In the first two years of the project, Thomas and Daucourt involved a team of about 30 people from different departments across Europe. People from claims, underwriting, administration and management each had input into the process of developing the basic requirements of EMIR. For the report families, Thomas developed a "straw man" for a particular area and then pulled in a group of 10 to 15 business users to work with IT. The group defined requirements and prototypes and then deliverables, Thomas said. "We asked [business users], What do you need to run an insurance business?" said Thomas. "Then we organized that into chunks we could bite off. Thats one of the things we really got right, so business is aligned with what were really trying to do." For Daucourt—who is responsible for Chubb policies in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Eastern Europe—and others who use EMIR, the platform has been a life saver of sorts. Where there was little to no visibility, Daucourt and his team can now find specific information. "At the highest possible level, I can drill down the numbers and look at different areas," he said. "Instead of having just a gut feeling of why numbers are coming in, there is a better informed decision. Its not so much guessing; there is true information." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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