York Risk Services Group is in the business of driving down the overall cost of risk and delivering a superior claims experience for its clients. Through the years, it has been very successful at what it does, today ranked the #1 catastrophe and large loss claims management firm in the industry.
Many factors contribute to the firm’s success, including its commitment to providing clients top-notch service through state-of-the-art technology solutions. As the risk management business, like virtually all others, is rapidly changing due to the evolving effects of digital, York Risk Services is continually looking into the future to ensure its systems keep pace.
“We have a separate and distinct group in our company that focuses on providing solutions in data transformation,” explained Sam Mooney, Vice President of Information Technology for York Risk Services. “Five years ago, it was what can you do for me? Now, it’s more what are you giving me that I can utilize to run my business better, to reduce my costs.”
While the focus of York’s IT organization is to create value for clients by driving down the overall cost of risk, it keeps a steady eye on the changing nature of the risk management business, and how to provide even better data-driven solutions moving forward.
In the world of technology, 15 years is an eternity. That was about that time that York modernized and sought new solutions for its claims management system to bring it to the newly emerging web-based marketplace—fast.
“We initially went with Progress® OpenEdge® because of the low cost of entry, and we ended up with a very rich solution set that let us build good software,” he said. “It wasn’t prevalent to see applications such as ours in the web marketplace at the time and offering that capability to our clients—to look into our applications and see the data real-time, the same data that our adjusters use—was extremely valuable.”
As it turns out, Progress OpenEdge has stood the test of time. Today, the claims management application runs on a 100-gig Progress database and handles between 1,200 and 1,700 concurrent users a day with unfailing reliability, thanks in part to Progress Managed Database Administration Services (MDBA), 24 x 7 database monitoring and administrative services.
Mooney explained that about three years ago, York separated its support from the development organization, and at the same time migrated the application to a hosted database environment.
“We chose MDBA because we did not have enough staff to support the database application,” he said. “Today, we rely on the baseline support of Progress MDBA and the knowledge that our database is being tracked, monitored and managed around the clock. In addition, the Progress database experts proactively notify us as they detect potential issues, giving us plenty of time to react.”
To ensure clients have access to customized reporting, York also relies on Progress® OpenEdge® Pro2™ for replication into a SQL Server database.
“We have thousands of extracts that run on this application,” Mooney explained. “We’ve got full database integrations with some of our clients, so the extracts are sometimes the lifeblood of our client’s database environment. They rely not only on the stability of the Pro2 environment, but also the Progress database itself because we have extracts coming out of both systems.”
Just as York Risk Services looked to OpenEdge to
bring it to a new technology standard 15 years ago, today it is looking to Progress as it faces the challenges of the digital age , beginning with the user experience.
“The new user interface we intend to build will be responsive so we can support any type of platform,” Mooney said. “We already know Progress provides us the ability to do this, having completed a Project Garage that showed us the added functionality that we can build with our existing application.” (Project Garage is a hands-on mentoring program that rapidly demonstrates a proof-of-concept using the latest Progress technology.)
But York Risk Services is looking for much more than a new user interface. Its goal is to transform its transactional data in ways that directly impact the bottom line for their clients.
“You can only get so much out of a transactional database,” Mooney said. “Our goal is to mine that information to provide a better solution to our customers. Progress gives us the ability to build data warehouses and construct data lakes where we can start to see quality information that can deliver new knowledge to customers. The focus for us is to provide a different experience—one that provides quicker, easier and cleaner access to data.”
As the business environment continues to change rapidly, one thing Mooney is counting on is the long-term, trusted relationship with Progress.
“Progress is a partner and trusted advisor,” he said. “Between Progress, OpenEdge and consulting services, we rely on them every day to help us make sure we run our application the best way we can run it.”