Great American Insurance Group: Accelerating Integration of New Opportunities with MarkLogic

Great American Insurance Group: Accelerating Integration of New Opportunities with MarkLogic

Posted on May 08, 2019 0 Comments

The insurance world is changing rapidly and business opportunities present themselves frequently for a company like Great American Insurance Group (GAIG). To take advantage of these opportunities, however, the company had to fine-tune its IT infrastructure in its property and casualty (P&C) operations and democratize the tools it needed to run its core operations.

That requires efficient onboarding. GAIG is bringing MarkLogic® to operations across its P&C organization with strategic implementations that are building enthusiasm and a spirit of collaboration.

A key to the success of MarkLogic within the P&C IT teams at GAIG has been the collaboration between the architecture and engineering teams. After successful pilots were completed during the research and innovation phase of the implementation, the baton was handed to Donnie Maddox and his engineering team. Donnie and his team are responsible for leading the core deployment of MarkLogic to production that will allow the company to scale its IT operations and accelerate the integration of new opportunities.

Donnie will share GAIG’s experience at MarkLogic World 2019 on May 15 in Washington D.C. Ahead of his session, we had the opportunity to ask Donnie a few questions about Great American’s adoption of MarkLogic.

What challenges does MarkLogic enable Great American to address?

Great American Insurance Group offers a wide range of specialty property and casualty coverages for businesses, as well as fixed and fixed-indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions, registered investment advisor and broker-dealer markets. All of the P&C business groups use our corporate IT systems, and while our current architecture has served us well for the past decade, it just isn’t flexible enough. Our company is growing and actively looking for new opportunities. When we find those opportunities, we have to make sure that our IT systems can be there to serve them.

Our company’s core IT operations are policy issuance, handling claims, processing reinsurance, statistical reporting and financials—all functions integral to our business. Once our initial implementation is successful, all future core operations will flow through MarkLogic.

What benefits does Great American expect from implementing MarkLogic?

We discovered our current architecture requires numerous unique skill sets all aligned at the same time in order to solve a business problem. It was not an effort problem but a staffing and a subject matter expertise problem.

The complexity of our architecture was impacting our throughput. We discovered it was because everyone needed the same subject matter expert at the exact same time. With MarkLogic, we are able to increase our productivity, with developers now able to handle more integration projects per year.

As an example, we are launching a MarkLogic project with our cyber insurance line, which is a brand-new product for us. It is a great opportunity to use the new MarkLogic technology because we do not have to manage legacy data.

We are expecting it to reduce complexity, so more people can come to the table and deliver value using the platform. A case in point is the ability for new team members to ramp up. Previously, we may have had to train someone for three to six months before they could contribute to a project. Now within days, they are actively working on the project.

Soon, we won’t just be able to run two or three projects in parallel—we might be able to run five or 10. We are now able to operate more efficiently across team members.

What does the future of your IT infrastructure look like?

In the event, the company acquires new businesses, we hope to more efficiently integrate their policy and claims systems with ours using MarkLogic. We are moving from being a software development IT shop to a data systems integration shop. We want to scale up our teams as quickly as we can so that we can run up to 10 projects in parallel and meet the growing IT needs of our businesses.

To hear more from Donnie about Great American’s adoption of MarkLogic, please join their session “Great American Insurance Group: Organizational Change when Moving to NoSQL,” at MarkLogic World 19 on May 15 at 11:35 a.m.


Donnie Maddox is the Divisional Assistant Vice President – Data Architecture & Development at Great American Insurance Group. Donnie has been with the company for 18 years, starting as a developer and moving through management roles to lead the data team, which is uniting multiple legacy systems through MarkLogic.

Ed Downs

Ed Downs is responsible for customer solutions marketing at MarkLogic. He draws on his considerable experience, having delivered large-scale big data projects and operational and analytical solutions for public and private sector organizations, to drive awareness and accelerate adoption of the MarkLogic platform.


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