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Managing knowledge at Heritage Mutual

Improved turnaround time and customer service were the incentives behind Heritage Mutual Insurance's decision to become a beta user of IBM’s Enterprise Information Portal (EIP).

The $300 million property and casualty insurance company, based in Sheboygan, WI, is testing the portal to access information repositories via the Internet. Heritage, which embarked on an imaging initiative two years ago and plans to implement COLD storage in the near future, was looking for a system that would provide seemless access to those two repositories. The company plans to develop a corporate portal, based on the EIP, which will allow agents and remote users to conduct secured inquiries for data.

“Our immediate need was Web access,” says James Glavan, IS director for Heritage, explaining that the company has about 600 employees, of which 150 are remote workers.

“The EIP,” says Glavan, “will allow our remote users and insurance agents to quickly access documents, photos and voice files, giving them a full picture of policy coverage and claims history instantaneously. This will set Heritage apart from other insurance companies, allowing us to provide superior customer service.”

Glavan says that Heritage started beta testing the product two months ago and is pleased with the results. “We have everything worked out,” he says, except for a scalability issue, which he expected to be resolved, with IBM’s help, within a day or two of the interview.

The company is using the portal for its personal and commercial lines, as well as claims.

“It’s our vision,” adds Glavan, “to open it up to our 9,000 agents and eventually to our 300,000 policyholders.”

According to Hadley Reynolds, research director with The Delphi Group, “The new release of IBM’s portal middleware will add important new capabilities to the functionality available to portal implementers.”

Referring to those new features, Reynolds adds, “The integration of unstructured and structured information sources is a huge challenge for virtually all business portals, and adding in-the-box APIs for structured data sources, richer unstructured content facilities, and full development platform and Web application support streamlines an already rich platform offering.”

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