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Case Studies

October 8, 2013 / Case Studies

Midwest Life Insurance Company Reduces Cost of Policy Production by 46%

By Administrator

A large midwest life insurance company offers their independent agents a combination of life insurance and annuity products specifically geared toward the mortgage, senior and general life insurance markets. They have been doing business for over 100 years. Their holding company is currently one of the largest, independent, privately held insurance companies in the United States. Its growth has been built on the successful acquisition of over 15 insurance entities, each with its own distinctive advantages. They distribute insurance products through nearly 13,000 independent agents throughout the country. Its primary focus is on building relationships with these producers and providing them with quality products and tools to help them build their businesses.

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The company was producing policies and other documentation in-house and was looking for an alternative that would reduce costs while improving the effectiveness of its documentation. In addition, the company was moving to a new imaging system that would not function with the existing policy production platform.

They concluded it would be more effective to outsource its policy production, enabling the company to stay current with technology without the constant capital investments required to keep in-house production competitive. The company also expected to mitigate the IT challenges associated with software upgrades, server maintenance and more. The company evaluated a number of responses to their RFI in order to make its decision.


In working through responses, their chosen print service provider, RR Donnelley, recommended that the company consider using NEPS to manage its document processes. According to the company’s Assistant Vice-President, Operations Support Service & Claims Support Service, “At that point, about four years ago, we had never heard of NEPS. Our products and processes were quite complex, and RR Donnelley felt that NEPS was the right partner for us. We took their advice and moved our policy production to the NEPS platform, initially using Document Sciences’ xPression, and then migrated to Thunderhead at NEPS’ suggestion.”

The company has now moved the bulk of its document production work to NEPS, including its universal life and annuity products and the balance of its correspondence.


As a result of its partnership with NEPS, the company is now assured of being on the latest software platform, while RR Donnelly keeps them on the latest print production technology. The Assistant Vice-President adds, “We lease the software rather than own it, which is important to us, since it eliminates the cost and hassle of upgrades. And we pay for printed output rather than having to invest in and operate production printing equipment ourselves. Working with the combination of NEPS and RR Donnelley has enabled us to deliver a much better product.”

“In addition to being able to deliver a better product, we have reduced our policy production costs by 46%, a huge savings, between the service provided by NEPS and RR Donnelley. This exceeded our expectations. We are extremely pleased, to say the least.” — AVP of Operations & Claims of Support Services

The AVP also explains that since they work through independent agents who sell for five or six different companies, professional packaging is critical. For these agents, the policy is the product. “Before NEPS,” he says, “we delivered stapled policies in a folder, and now we have a very attractive bound document to deliver to them. Our agents love it, and the quality of the product helps keep us top of mind as they are selling life insurance.”

He points out that most end customers, when they receive their policy, will leaf through the first few pages and then file it away. Often, it stays filed away until the policy holder’s death, which could be many years later. “With the new bound documents,” he comments, “there are no worries about the document staying together until it is needed. With a stapled document in a folder, that was always a worry.”

The company’s staff also appreciates the efficiency that the NEPS customized dashboard, NSite Control Center, provides. Essentially, it allows them visibility into the policy production process at all times, down to the individual policy level. The company has been able to create incredible reconciliation and reporting tools that allow them to know exactly when each policy is being produced. Also, for the 30% of the policies that are mailed directly to the policy holder, the use of intelligent mail barcodes allows them to track delivery to the doorstep, and that is a big benefit.

In redesigning its policies, the company took advantage of NEPS’ design expertise. “We were not looking for the Cadillac of policies,” the AVP points out, “but we wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity to create the most professional looking document possible while still keeping costs in line. NEPS’ advice and expertise was invaluable in allowing us to achieve exactly what we needed.”

The Assistant Vice-President concludes, “We are looking forward to migrating the rest of our work to the NEPS/RR Donnelley platform and taking advantage of their benefits across the board. This partnership has revolutionized our policy production process, taken a lot of worries off of our plate, and we look forward to continually improving the process in the years to come as technology continues to advance.”

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