Providence Washington Case Study: Managing Technology Innovation

by Craig Weber, June 30, 2003


Boston, MA, USA June 30, 2003

A mid-market carrier offers its peers and larger carriers valuable lessons for using new technology tools to maximize efficiency and meet agents’ needs.

Providence Washington Insurance is solidifying its position as a carrier of choice for its independent agents with its intelligent e-commerce initiatives. (See Table 1, below.) The company’s experience suggests that having a clear vision and picking the right tools can deliver results without breaking the bank.

"Sometimes technology innovation is triggered by the bigger carriers, who have more money to invest,"

says senior analyst Craig Weber, author of Celent's latest report, . "Providence Washington is an example of how technology innovation can also come from a smaller carrier with a clear vision and a bias toward quick, incremental change. The company’s success is a model for all carriers."

Elements of Providence Washington's Intelligent E-Commerce Initiatives
Category Initiative Description
Business Functionality Custom "front-end" administrative application Provides role-based interface for company to manage Web-based interactions with agents and internal staff. Business users can access and maintain business rules and update workflows.
Interactive, real-time quoting, rating, and issue on agent’s Web site Solidifies agent relationships by providing functionality and responsiveness they can’t get anywhere else.
Rules-based intelligence and workflow Improves data entry efficiency and automates assignments of rate class for most business. Also automates routing of cases in the home office.
Agency management system upload/download capability Increases convenience for agents, reduces re-keying errors, speeds new business process, and creates XML data to improve downstream processing.
Straight-through processing
Replaces expensive "human interface" with real-time or near real-time automation and collaboration.
Source: Celent Communications, Providence Washington
Elements of Providence Washington's Intelligent E-Commerce Initiatives
Category Initiative Description
Infrastructure Use of Business Process Integration (BPI) tools Allows company to model and define processes graphically and reuse many integration components.
Creation of a message queuing facility Adds fault tolerance to system, enabling complex integration with both internal and vendor systems.
Creation of rule repository Allows re-use of rules common across lines of business.
Table-based rules engine Dramatically reduces time to make rule and rate changes, allows control by business users.
Creation of an XML transaction database Allows company to store transactions at a granular level for use in ad hoc reporting.
Source: Celent Communications, Providence Washington

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

North America
Michele Pace
Tel: +1 212 345 1366

Europe (London)
Chris Williams
Tel: +44 (0)782 448 3336

Asia (Tokyo)
Yumi Nagaoka
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents


Boston, MA, USA June 30, 2003

Providence Washington  Case Study

Return to report Abstract


  Company Overview 5
  New Vision and Organization 6
  Moving Toward "Practical Technology" 7
  Intelligent E-Commerce 10
  Focus on New Business 10
  Making it Happen 15
  Results 15
  Making it Happen 17
  Results 18

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