Allianz-Tiriac, a leading Romanian insurance company, held critical business information at its headquarters in Bucharest. But an aging network infrastructure limited employee access to the data around the country. By using the Microsoft® .NET Framework, the company developed a system that gives employees access to data at any time, from any location. With reliable, real-time information, employees can offer customised quotes faster.
Founded in 1994, Romania-based Allianz-Tiriac Asigurari is part of the international insurance group, Allianz. With a 20 per cent market share and 2,000 employees, it is a leading company in Romania, and since 2002, the business has grown faster than the market average. To maintain its leading position, Allianz-Tiriac invests in the latest IT and communication technologies. Processing more than 5 million general and life insurance policies a year, it requires powerful, complex applications to manage, store, and share business data.
The company’s infrastructure was based on one personal computer used as a file server at its headquarters in Bucharest, and connected to 50 other computers. This created several limitations for employees who needed instant access to data to create policies and reports for insurance claims. Marius Balica, Chief Information Officer, Allianz-Tiriac, explains: “To obtain information from the central computer, users had to download data through the network and duplicate it into a local server. This was a time-consuming process.”
While visiting clients, sales agents relied on their office-based colleagues to pass on vital information, such as whether the client is an existing customer, their level of premiums, and if they live in a high-risk area such as near a river that is likely to flood. The organisation needed secure mobile access to data to help remote users work more efficiently and prevent delays to the application or claims process.
Allianz-Tiriac also needed to improve the way data was updated across the business. Certain branches were often unaware of transactions made in other branches, for example. Some claims made by clients outside their local area had to be verified by their home branch before they could be processed.
||The .NET Framework helps us develop Web applications 10 times faster than other development frameworks. The advanced Microsoft Visual C# programming language makes it more productive.
||Adrian Ene, Chief .NET Developer, Allianz-Tiriac
Balica says: “It was inefficient. We had to make many phone calls to exchange data between one place and another, often updating it manually. We needed an integrated solution that would provide users with up-to-date information from across the business.”
Having researched potential development environments, Allianz-Tiriac decided to use the .NET Framework to build applications that give employees access to a centralised data store at the company’s headquarters. Adrian Ene, Chief .NET Developer, Allianz-Tiriac, says: “The .NET Framework helps us develop Web applications 10 times faster than other development frameworks. The advanced Microsoft Visual C# programming language makes it more productive.”
A project team of six developers implemented the new system in three phases. Firstly, the team built 13 new applications so that users and subsidiaries across the company can access the centralised database at any time.
Employees access the database through a thin client stored on their desktop computers. This has a user-friendly graphic interface, developed by using the Framework, which acts as the middle-tier, linking users to the core database. This first phase was complete by the end of 2005.
The second phase extended access to the database system to employees working from home and to third-party agents and brokers. For the third phase, in 2006, the company rolled out personal digital assistants so that brokers and agents could access the database while on the move.
A network of routers, switches, and firewalls prevent unauthorised access to the company’s new information system, consisting of 1,400 computers, including those at headquarters, agencies, subsidiaries, and some personal computers. The company’s intranet connects the system and extends to parent company Allianz and various banks, so that all users can access the centralised applications in the headquarters.
Data entry is now automated, with all information available on the online system, so employees no longer spend time manually entering it into the main database.
With access to a centralised database through applications built by using the Framework, employees at Allianz-Tiriac now view real-time customer and claim information wherever they are. This helps them to provide enhanced customer support when selling new policies, dealing with claims, or creating reports.
- IT employees can develop applications 10 times faster by using the Framework.
- Employees save time and cut costs with automated manual processes.
- People can work more efficiently with access to a single, reliable store of important client and policy information from wherever they are.
- Sales employees provide better customer service because they can access comprehensive information faster and can customise insurance rates.
- Employees can access the central database through mobile devices, and can set up new customer policies remotely by using their digital touch screens.
- Employees spend less time entering, checking, and sending information between branches, and have more time to focus on customer needs.
- The company is using the Framework to develop a countrywide risk map, so that sales employees can access general statistics and accurate data on geographical areas and individuals. With this information they can offer highly customised insurance quotes.
- Employees, by using mobile devices, can enter the coordinates at an accident site and receive a data map from the main server that details previous incidents. With this information, they can adjust the insurance quote accordingly.
- IT employees save time moving from desktop applications to mobile applications by using the Framework because transfer requires no additional coding.
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