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CASE STUDY - Enabling Insurance Success with Enterprise Business Intelligence

Commentary by Tony Simpkins, Data Warehouse Program Manager, Grange Insurance

With over a billion dollars in written premiums, Grange Insurance is a property and casualty insurer that offers home, auto, and business insurance and a full line of life insurance and financial products through wholly owned subsidiaries Grange Life and The Grange Bank. Grange Insurance uses MicroStrategy to identify areas of improvement in product design, customer management, and to recognize cross- and up-sell opportunities. Grange employees are able to use this insight to assist them in seeking to increase the profitability of each product, region, or agent. Grange selected MicroStrategy for its pixel-perfect and interactive reporting, scalability to large data and user volumes, and its ability to deploy applications quickly over the Web.

MicroStrategy BI Standardization at Grange

MicroStrategy currently supports 12 to 15 BI applications at Grange for various operational functions, including agency analysis and risk pool/book of business analysis. The Agency Analysis application is accessed by over 300 associates—including territory managers, portfolio managers, and customer management personnel—to analyze agency effectiveness, drive decision making regarding agency relationships, and provide insight into opportunities to make agencies more profitable. The application supports the most visible agency analysis performed at Grange. Employees review approximately 1,500 independent agencies annually, and shortlist 25 percent of them for deeper analysis. End users can run additional reports and drill into the details. Business units also conduct subsequent quarterly reviews on a subset of agencies with profitability issues.

Another MicroStrategy-based application is Book Management. This application, the most profitable application at Grange, examines personal property and casualty insurance for auto and homeowners. For example, the application enables end users to compare an agency’s auto book of business to the books of business of Grange’s best agencies to identify opportunities to be more profitable. End users access reports developed using MicroStrategy Report Services that uncover the demographics and other characteristics of select books of business, looking for trends and characteristics from the more profitable books. These reports contain over 35 attributes, and single and multi-variable analysis and basic arithmetic functions are used to make these comparisons.

Grange is experiencing a dream solution, because users now have the interactivity to drill into their reports, and can build pixel-perfect business reports for internal and external presentations.
—Tony Simpkins, Data Warehouse Program Manager, Grange Insurance

The Ad Effectiveness application enables Grange’s marketing department to measure advertising effectiveness as a result of doing advertising with independent agents. Grange employees, for example, can track how much money they are spending and where it is being spent in order to correlate new premium dollars with ad spending in a given geographic region. Grange currently does business in 10 states.

Snapshot: The User Community and DW Environment

Grange Insurance has a 2.6-terabyte SQL Server data warehouse, with 600 tables and approximately 1,285 MicroStrategy attributes. Approximately 300 users access the MicroStrategy-based applications, while approximately 200 employees from the total user population regularly access the data warehouse. There is one massive data warehouse project and one massive metadata, resulting in a total of three SQL Server databases. The metadata reuse is a huge benefit of metadata centralization with MicroStrategy. Grange counts six people in report development roles. Two of the six staff are full-time employees who work on MicroStrategy. Another two employees work on maintaining the back end of the data warehouse.

Business Wins

Grange is experiencing the benefits of having one massive, centralized metadata; they do not have to rebuild the same attributes or metrics multiple times. With MicroStrategy, Grange has reduced the entire process from the beginning of the data load to running the report from six months to less than a six-week cycle.

According to Tony Simpkins, data warehouse program manager at Grange Insurance, interactive reporting provided by MicroStrategy was a cultural shift for end users. “End users were accustomed to paper reports that didn’t pivot or sort, so users resisted MicroStrategy at first. But after MicroStrategy Report Services was introduced, Grange noted a cultural change in business processes and reporting. Grange is experiencing a dream solution, because users now have the interactivity to drill into their reports, and can build pixel-perfect business reports for internal and external presentations. Today, users want more interactivity and want to run report subsections independently.”

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