WELBRO Building Corporation has been building continuously in the Florida commercial construction market for over 27 years and is consistently ranked among the nation's top contractors by Engineering News Record (ENR). WELBRO is a dominant force in the hotel/hospitality and education markets. Other major project types include office buildings, retail/commercial and special use facilities.
Tracking of subcontractor insurance certificates had become burdensome and inaccurate. The legislated time restrictions imposed on general contractors to request and receive insurance information from its subcontractors was the key motivator to improve our processes. Another important factor was the speed with which insurance information was shared between accounting and project field operations. Communication of insurance information is a factor in maintaining construction schedules as well as managing financial risk of the projects.
For these reasons, WELBRO was looking to improve its data collection methods. In October 2005 Laura Dowling was tasked to research possible solutions to managing the subcontractor insurance certificates. Possibilities included:
The existing method of handling the certificate management process involved notes inside of paper file folders. This didn't work and was not conducive to information sharing. Modifying a workflow around a paper-based system may produce some improvements but not likely at the level desired.
WELBRO uses IBM Lotus Notes for much of its internal information sharing but does not have a full-time developer on staff. In gathering the system and user requirements for insurance certificate management the complexity of the cross-date checking, types of form letters and automated form generation grew. Laura Dowling soon judged that development of an internal application was impractical and unsustainable with WELBRO's IT support staff.
Lori English, WELBRO's controller, discovered the availability of web-based application service providers specializing in insurance certificate management. WELBRO has good experiences with application service providers (ASPs) and was quite attracted to the possibility of a web-hosted solution. ASP's have been able to provide WELBRO a higher quality of technical solution which contributes to its competitive advantages in the market place. ASP solutions also allow a flattening of information technology spending by keeping complexity out of its in-house systems and IT staff modest.
WELBRO identified three Insurance Certificate Management specialty ISP's: Certigo, IDS and ConfirmNet. Each received a request for proposal requesting to gather information on qualifications, services provided, and pricing for processing an estimated 2,500 subcontractor agreements annually.
After reviewing and comparing each proposal, Laura Dowling conducted phone interviews and attended demonstrations. After this process WELBRO selected ConfirmNet based on its positioning and maturity in the insurance industry, the quality of the application and its flexible services and pricing model.
The implementation process went well and was personally attended to by an experienced training resource. WELBRO elected to do a "Go Forward" implementation, meaning that historical records were not added to the system. The startup process is simple and direct and required little interaction by WELBRO other than providing source information on form letter wording, and initial tracking data to be added.
WELBRO elected to have the training conducted at its offices and was handled in two sessions: System Administration and End User training. The trainer assigned was an implementation specialist with significant experience in insurance and the "real life" problems associated with insurance certificate tracking.
During training the attendees did find some user-interface and reporting issues that we felt could be improved upon. These items were recorded and submitted to ConfirmNet for consideration in future releases of the software. Within 9 months of implementation many of those items had been addressed in the application.
WELBRO's Insurance Administrator, Lakeisha Fluellyn, has nothing but high praise for the customer support she receives at ConfirmNet. WELBRO has been able to recognize a significant improvement in completing the insurance documentation for its projects much more completely and quickly. The objectives of improving timeliness in completing the documentation and expanding visibility of the certificate information have been achieved.
A global real estate investment trust understood the importance of implementing a comprehensive certificate tracking solution to minimize potential liability exposures. In addition, being a publicly traded organization, this firm was intent on determining ways to eliminate "knowledge" gaps regarding their financial exposures. Tracking incoming certificates of insurance is a substantive way to improve organizational control structures, enhance compliance and reporting measures, and increase corporate profitability - based on the fact that most organizations who aggressively track incoming certificates of insurance, are frequently able to reduce financial losses and litigation costs by transferring high risk and/or high frequency exposures to their tenants/vendors (indemnitors). Handling this process internally was not only expensive; an estimated 20% of operational costs, but was overwhelming and inconsistent.
This company determined that tracking incoming certificates was an important control factor for their organization. It was their intent to find the most efficient and cost effective method to perform this process. After a lengthy evaluation, it determined that the best method to handle this process was to outsource the entire requesting / tracking process to an experienced Incoming Certificate Tracking company, ConfirmNet. A fully integrated solution was implemented based on the following factors were of important consideration:
By implementing the ConfirmNet TrackCertsNow solution, this global company is able to leverage our insurance tracking expertise with an efficient tracking system and maintain economies of scale to gain higher compliance rates and achieve significant cost savings compared to managing this function in-house.
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