JMI REPORTS, INC.
Journey to a paper-less office: Implementation of WRDS at JMI Reports, Inc.
Delivery trucks couldn’t deliver the reams of paper fat enough to JMI Reports, Inc.’s offices in Cleveland. Everything they did required paper: ordering inspections, sending inspections to individual field inspector, receiving completed field reports, preparing finished reports, generating client invoices, receiving field inspector invoices – you name it and it was almost always done on paper!
All this paper flying around also meant that almost every business process was being done manually. Sure, they had automated to an extent using a FileMaker based system, but it did not provide any automation when it came to assigning the cases to Inspectors or completing inspections or calculating replacement costs or generating invoices and so on. There were delays associated with physical mailing and if any envelope was lost in mail, it usually contained the rush case that the client was waiting for or the invoice of the best field inspector.
Founded in 1987, JMI Reports offers a full range of insurance property/loss control inspections for both Personal and Commercial lines inspections including High- and Mid- Value home inspections, Farm reports and customized re-underwriting inspections. While the clients loved their service, they started asking JMI a few years ago if they could deliver the reports electronically. “Our company philosophy and direction was laid in the pre 1980’s when my father was still active in the company and had never TOUCHED a computer let alone wanted them in this business” says Brian McKendry, President of JMI Reports. JMI quickly realized that they needed help, and they needed it right now.
When Digitek introduced WRDS, its web-based automated system for property inspections to completely automate JMI’s inspection business, JMI couldn’t believe that the solution to its problems was less than 200 miles away. According to Tim McKendry, Vice President, “We could not have imagined a more perfect marriage…”
More than the technical solution, what impressed Brian McKendry was Digitek’s ability to “grasp the nuances of our business, and more importantly, [they] were actually interested in learning our business practices. We spent the 3 months doing nothing but meeting with the team from Digitek to explain our business.”
Following these meetings and a customization period when necessary changes were made in WRDS to adapt it to JMI’s business processes, JMI went live with WRDS in January 2006 with the following features.
- All operations are completed automated and web-based, available 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
- All forms, narratives are web based and automated. No paper forms are used.
- A customized sketching tool is developed that enables scaled sketch drawings to automatically put all the various sq. ft. figures into the forms and other online tools using a single click.
- Replacement Cost calculations using 3rd party services such as MS/B RCT and E2Value for regular dwelling, Mobile Home and High-value home surveys are completely integrated with a push of a single button – no more duplicate data entry!
- All inspections are assigned automatically to inspectors based on a combination of zip code, county, state and report type. No other manual intervention is required.
- Each and every report goes through an automatic QA process first in the field, so that an inspector could not submit an incomplete report. The report goes through a second QA process where HQ Office reviews the case and can then reject it back for corrections or send it on to the client.
- All invoicing is web-based and automatic. An inspector’s invoice is generated by the system and a bonus/deduction system is incorporated. Inspector’s invoices are available to them 24/7 and stored for as long as necessary. Client invoices are the same - generated automatically and in numerous formats (PDF, CSV, Excel, XML and others) Discounts and credits can be applied automatically if required. The client invoice copies are available via the web 24/7 for them to access as needed and download or export in various formats.
- Reports are stored on the web, available for download, or sent via email to the client automatically. The system provides a minimum of 5 years online storage capacity.
- Most importantly, WRDS has a three way instantaneous communication tool. This tool is web based and allows all three parties; the inspector, the client and the home office, to communicate on each and every inspection report. A history of every transaction is kept with each inspection and that history can be made available to all, if required.
- WRDS has the ability for generating various client based reports. These are custom reports that enable the clients to mine data from their inspections. They could find out for example all the risks that have above ground pools. Or, they could find all the risks whose ITV was over or under a certain percentage.
Brian McKendry notes, “The results have been better than expected. The enthusiastic and overwhelming acceptance by our inspectors was one surprise. We had inspectors who have been with us from day one and never touched a computer in their lives. [Surprisingly, they] are now our biggest fans of the new system. Proper product design by the Digitek team led to a user friendly system and a dummy proof way for the inspector to get up and running without much hand holding by our office staff”. Jeff Sensoli, a long-time field inspector with JMI, adds “I have worked for many companies and on many systems – the WRDS system blows them all away.”
The customer response is not far behind. Says a Personal Lines Loss Manager for one of the largest JMI Customers, “You are light years ahead of your competition with this system …”
Brian McKendry had his doubts initially. “Two years ago I did not see the light at the end of the tunnel with this entire paperless office concept … I was skeptical. Now we are through that dark tunnel and well on our way to enjoying a system that is state of the art and growing with our needs,” he says. Tim McKendry adds, “Not only has it changed our entire business system and structure, it has cemented our business relationships with our current clients and has already brought us plenty of new clients and business as a result. To say that it has changed our lives would be … an understatement. Digitek Software has delivered tremendously every step of the way.”
DATAREP ASSOCIATES, INC.
When they read an article in a trade publication, Susan Manupelli (DataRep Associates) couldn’t believe that she had found what her business had been looking for more than a year. Susan, an accomplished technology user, had spent the previous year looking for an online, web-based system to automate their inspection business. She had done extensive research on the web and even started to develop her customized, automated system. However, once she read what Brian McKendry (JMI Reports, Inc.) had to say about WRDS, Susan knew that she had found the solution to the challenges facing their business.
DataRep Associates supplies underwriting inspection services for residential and commercial risks to the insurance companies, agencies and brokers throughout the Northeast and New England region. DataRep was using an inspection tracking system that was developed more than 15 years ago and was DOS-based system. After reading the article on WRDS system, DataRep ran it for a trial period and decided to move ahead with implementation of a live system almost immediately.
What Susan liked the most about WRDS was that it was developed as an end-to-end solution for insurance inspections with flexibility to customize it for their business requirements. Thus, they could now simultaneously meet diverse requirements of their customers, field inspectors and office staff from a single, online application.
- WRDS allowed their customers to log in to order inspections, check status, send communication, view/download completed inspections as well as generate various aggregate reports such as ITV or Hazard Analysis.
- Their staff (both in office as well as located off-site) could log in to enter orders, assign it to field reps based on county, zip code, skill set and number of pending inspection limits, monitor inventory across all inspectors and/or customers, send communications to inspectors/customers, review completed field work, perform replacement cost calculations, generate and distribute final reports to customers. In addition, they could perform a lot of administrative functions such as set up customers, inspectors, set up fees, control user rights, generate invoices for customers, process inspector payroll, send memos, publish field forms and so on.
- Finally, inspectors now had an access to online system to accept new orders, view and track inventory, communicate with office online to provide status updates, upload inspection data including photos and sketches as well as an automated way of tracking their fees.
Susan notes, “We can already tell that the features of WRDS allow us to manage our inspection business much more efficiently.”
What DataRep discovered is a way to leverage technology to improve their business model. WRDS allows them to inject efficiency in a business which has gone through a significant change in recent times with rising operational costs and customer demanding even more technical capabilities than before. First and foremost, WRDS is designed to save time, and thus money, by making the inspection process automated as much as possible. You never have to enter the same data twice!!
Most companies today have some sort of automation already built in with their inspection process. The question is not only about whether it is automated or not – it is more about what it costs to build and maintain that system. And make continuous improvement for it. And make it available online, 24 x 7, from anywhere. And provide support when needed. This is where Susan has found a winning hand. She says, “The team at Digitek has been very responsive and great to work with as we deploy this new system. And the customer feedback we have received on the new report format as well as the website has been very positive.”