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Case Study

How an insurance business digitally transformed in under a year

Implementing an innovative modular technology platform helped an MGA achieve an end-to-end digital transformation in just 10 months.


How can implementing a modern tech platform speed transformation?

A Canadian MGA needed a technology overhaul to support growth and future-proof its infrastructure.

Montreal-based Revau – formerly called GroupAssur – is one of Canada’s fastest-growing property and casualty (P&C) insurance providers. In the past few years, that growth has been achieved partly through the acquisition of a series of companies, each with its own legacy IT systems and platforms. The difficulty of maintaining these was one of the factors that led to Revau’s decision to migrate to a more capable system that could consolidate and future-proof those legacy platforms.

Another factor was the company’s status as a managing general agent (MGA), which means it has underwriting authority from the insurers it works with. This adds an extra layer of complexity compared with a traditional brokerage firm, and the typical digital tools that MGAs use did not provide all the technology-enabled capabilities that Revau needed to support its continuing growth. Other considerations included the need to integrate with the Lloyd’s of London markets, and some factors that are unique to the Canadian market.

There are also wider issues that affect the whole sector. David Connolly, EY Global Insurance Technology Leader, explains that technology is changing so rapidly that insurance companies are, in many cases, struggling to keep up with the estimated 2,000 or so insurtechs.

“Our self-assigned job is to keep up with all of this and make it very easy for our clients to understand what technology can do for their business, as well as how to enable change at speed without bearing the burden of all the research required to figure out who to partner with,” he says.

So Revau came to EY with this challenge: how can we transform our digital processes in a way that is cost-effective, low risk and fast?


A flexible set of capabilities to power innovation

The solution involved both pre-built capabilities and new ones created to solve specific challenges.

In response to Revau’s requirements, EY proposed a solution that involved implementing the EY Nexus for Insurance business transformation platform alongside Guidewire, a market-leading property and casualty insurance platform.

Neil Pengelly, EY Canada Insurance Technology Leader, explains how the combination of EY Nexus and Guidewire works. “The EY Nexus for Insurance platform provides a core system that is powered by Guidewire, with EY Nexus assets,” he says. “This allowed for the rapid deployment of full-stack capabilities that provide Revau with the pricing and underwriting functions they need to be able to deliver on their business, as well as a full-scale set of integrations.”

So, while Guidewire provides the core underwriting, policy and management frameworks, Nexus supplies a range of pre-built capabilities that allow Revau to address the needs of its clients and insurers, as well as newly developed capabilities – some of them specific to the needs of MGAs, and some to the Canadian market.

The implementation of Nexus and Guidewire took just 10 months – a short period of time in which to transform Revau’s underwriting and policy frameworks and roll them out. The EY team is now working with Revau to incrementally add new capabilities and products.

Challenges to solve

Revau’s digital transformation did throw up a few challenges for the EY Canada team. This was their first implementation of Nexus with an MGA, the first bilingual implementation (English and French) and the first to involve multiple currencies, while Revau was the first Canadian MGA to implement Guidewire. In particular, some of the necessary functionality around data was specific to the MGA market.

“Every implementation involves a mixture of existing capabilities and new ones that have to be developed to meet specific needs,” Pengelly explains. “These new capabilities then become part of the core Nexus offering and can be rolled out on future implementations.”

Revau’s ongoing expansion also added complexity. Midway through the implementation, the company acquired Eagle underwriters, which provides aviation coverage, and there was also a need to factor in US exposure that meant incorporating further multicurrency functionality. Key to the success of the project was the EY team’s ability to rapidly adapt to changing market conditions and new lines of business in the middle of an implementation and still stick to the planned timeline.

This is a prime example of how a partner with international scale can pull talents from all over the world and build an insurance application software practice in record time.
Frederic St-Jean-Mercier
Chief Information Officer, Revau

Transforming the MGA sector

Revau’s transformation enabled it to become an early adopter of a new digital insurance platform.

The client was delighted with the speed of the implementation. “This is a prime example of how a partner with international scale can pull talents from all over the world and build an insurance application software practice in record time,” said Frederic St-Jean-Mercier, Chief Information Officer at Revau. “We’re talking PolicyCenter, BillingCenter, ProducerEngage portals, CustomerEngage portals, and replacing four different legacy systems, on track and under budget in under a year – that is just phenomenal.”

As one of the most technologically advanced MGAs in Canada, thanks to its recent transformation, Revau has been an early adopter of a new platform that benefits the wider Canadian insurance industry. The open digital platform, which enables brokers to receive rapid quotes from MGAs, has been developed by the EY organization in partnership with the Canadian Association of Managing General Agents (CAMGA), and Revau’s products are being integrated into it.

Pengelly explains that the functionality is similar to that of a typical consumer insurance comparison site. A broker who is subscribed to the platform can submit a request for a quote, giving details of the nature and size of the risk, and up to 10 MGAs can respond, quickly giving the broker a view of their options. A key feature of the platform is that it allows MGAs to define their risk appetite so that only relevant, matching broker submissions are forwarded to them. This saves valuable time for brokers and MGAs alike – some MGAs have reported that up to 50% of the submissions they currently receive via other channels (such as email) do not fit their risk appetite.

The platform launched in September 2022 and already, more than 50% of CAMGA members have signed up to it. Discussions are under way with both the US and UK counterparts of CAMGA around launching a similar platform.

Moreover, while most MGAs will initially receive requests for quotes via email, Revau will be the first to receive them digitally using APIs, which will help to speed up its response time.

Pengelly points to this as an example of the benefits of digital transformation. "The core capabilities that we implemented for Revau open the door to all these other things that they wouldn’t necessarily have been able to achieve previously. Revau’s decision to implement a modern platform with strong integration capabilities caught insurers’ attention and recently led some of them to initiate discussions towards them providing Revau with some of their capacity."

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