From the March 2009 issue of Tech Decisions • Subscribe!

Save the Day

In July of 2006, The Woodlands Financial Group (TWFG) encountered a liquidation order from the Texas Department of Insurance that would put one of TWFG's business partners (Texas Select) into receivership.

"What that meant to us was our 11,000 policies at Texas Select were going to need to be rewritten," says Gordy Bunch, president and CEO of TWFG. When a state puts a company into receivership and liquidation, they seize all the assets of the carrier and associated contracts, he explained.

Bunch contends the complication for his company was to find a software package that was compatible with the Texas Select book of business.

ISCS had worked with Texas Select in the past on other issues and Bunch learned the vendor probably was the only software company available that could implement and rehabilitate a system that would be compatible with the book of business and the 11,000 clients within the mandated 60-day period.

The biggest issue for TWFG was getting the new policies processed in the timeline required. "We had less than 60 days to program and move the entire book, so we had zero options outside of ISCS," says Bunch. "We always seem to have options [in most business cases], but in this particular case we had none."

Bunch had been referred to ISCS by another company that earlier had found themselves in a similar position, albeit with a different company. With the vendor selection process so limited, TWFG went about the difficult job of getting the installation completed as quickly as possible.

"The next steps for our book were to populate the database, get the programming updated to the current filings and rates, go through some testing, and issue 11,000 policies on the same effective date," notes Bunch.

TWFG then had to get the policies printed, mailed, and out the door along with billing to the mortgagees and with agent copies. "It was a substantial amount of work in a short period of time," says Bunch."

TWFG had no choice but to meet the deadline, which was imposed by state regulators, if the company wanted to retain its homeowners' clients.

"In order for us to retain [the customers] we had to have them placed in a policy," adds Bunch. "The timeline was real and we worked feverishly to get that done."

All the physical work fell to the TWFG staff. "When you have that many transactions in that short a period of time you pretty much pull up your bootstraps and put your best people on it," Bunch says.

Bunch dismissed the idea of bringing in temporary help. "We did not have time to slow down and show anybody how to do something, so we started with a higher skill-set group and just made it happen," he says.

Some of the difficulties faced by TWFG involved the quality of the data from the old policies. "The mortgage company might have changed since the last data dump we had or addresses may have changed," says Bunch. "We were dealing with 11,000 individual transactions that had to go out by the same date, which compounded things. We had a year's worth of work to get done in 60 days. We just made it happen."

There were some reporting issues that weren't thought out up front, according to Bunch, but given the timing of everything, he doesn't believe either TWFG or ISCS feels badly about the process.

"We did what we had to do to get it done, and any issues or challenges we had couldn't be thought out ahead of time," says Bunch. "We just dealt with them as they arose."

Nothing was allowed to stand in the way of the rollover process, not even family issues, explains Bunch. "My wife was eight months pregnant in the middle of all this," he recalls.

"Fortunately my son was born on Aug. 29 and our drop-dead date was Aug. 24, so he gave me five more days," Bunch continues. "I told him I was going to pay for his college since he didn't interrupt this rollover process. I'm fortunate and amazed that we made it through all that."

For TWFG, all's well that ends well. "We still have a majority of that book of business in force, so we were fortunate [ISCS] was able to help us with that in a short period of time," says Bunch. "That's provided us a lot of value to be able to retain that book over the last couple of years."

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