IBM Helps Physicians Mutual Use Insight to Better Serve Insured

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ARMONK, NY - 13 Jan 2009: Faced with the need to increase the speed at which they respond to customers, Physicians Mutual, an Omaha-based individual health and life insurer, collaborated with IBM (NYSE: IBM) to improve responsiveness to customers with a unified approach to all its information.

Founded in 1902, Physicians Mutual Insurance Company and Physicians Life Insurance Company provide a full portfolio of health and life insurance products. Physicians Mutual wanted to transform itself into an information-driven enterprise, using the right information at the right time to improve business processes and make faster and better decisions in response to changing market conditions. Working with IBM, Physicians Mutual now has a consistent enterprise view of information that enables it to collect and report all data with a comprehensive view of individual customers and demographic data.

Physicians Mutual is already reaping the benefits of this technology. For example, by offering customers more flexibility and options for electronic premium payments, the company has shifted more than $14 million in premium collections online. It increased the resolution of billing questions on the first call by 15 percent, increased customer satisfaction, and reduced time for return calls. In addition, the company is saving 3,000 customer service steps daily in streamlining the resolution of billing disputes, resulting in thousands of hours in staff savings.

"By putting information at the center of all our IT strategies, we have brought business and IT closer together to better serve our customers," said Dan Simpson, senior vice president and CIO, Physicians Mutual. "Now we can deliver information more quickly, offer customers more flexibility in how they interact with us, and we're better positioned to stay on top of changing market demands."

Creating an Information Agenda to gain instant access to its business information, the company can now make more informed decisions by accessing and analyzing customer behavior patterns and preferences. This is allowing Physicians Mutual to focus on providing customers with care and services to promote higher customer satisfaction and retention.

"Customers don't want to be limited to just a phone call or mail," said Roger Moeller, assistant vice president and enterprise architect, Physicians Mutual. "Some may want to be able to get in touch with us via the Web. They may want to chat with a service representative, or choose how or when they pay their bill. If they have multiple products from us, they want to get a single invoice. These are the types of issues IBM has helped us address by aligning all our information."

Physicians Mutual's integrated and streamlined IT infrastructure has also helped the company overcome the burden of legacy applications and processes which in the past made it difficult to analyze and act on business intelligence because of the way their policy administration systems and data were structured.

"With an information based enterprise -- an enterprise that has the flexibility to rapidly deliver information as needed to improve processes and business decisions -- Physicians Mutual has become a prime example of how our clients are undertaking a shift in they way they access, manage and use information," said Ambuj Goyal, general manager, Information Management, IBM Software Group. "Their blueprint for a single, consistent enterprise view of data ultimately gives them a competitive edge in a dynamic market."

A services oriented architecture (SOA) helps Physicians Mutual deliver information as a service across its business. The IBM InfoSphere portfolio of products transforms, reconciles and maintains information, delivering it in real time to the people, processes and applications that need it. The IBM Insurance Information Warehouse and Insurance Application Architecture serve as the foundation for the Physicians Mutual customer resource management system and IBM's Insurance industry models improve efficiency with reusable industry-specific templates, including models to help meet the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA for the standardization of electronic records.

About Physicians Mutual

Physicians Mutual Insurance Company and Physicians Life Insurance Company, a member of the Physicians Mutual family, provide a full portfolio of health and life insurance products, as well as financial products. The companies have total assets exceeding $2.6 billion.

Both Physicians Mutual and Physicians Life consistently receive high grades from independent insurance analysts. They have an A.M. Best rating of "A (Excellent)," based on financial strength. Ratings gives Physicians Mutual an "A+ (Excellent)" and Physicians Life an "A (Excellent)" based on financial security. Physicians Mutual headquarters are in Omaha, Nebraska.

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