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The Client

Client is the leading regional provider of insurance products and services for small and mid-sized businesses, as well as for individuals.  They specialize in insuring small businesses and are known for creating strong, lasting relationships with their customers. The organization ranks among the top 70 U.S. property/casualty insurance groups.

The Challenge

The client sought to deploy Agency Upload–an agency management system for insurance agents–in personal and commercial product lines carried in varying agent management systems across 22 states in the US.

The application is built on industry standard ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development) and can help customers to save up to 50% of required entry for a successful quote with the premium.

Excellarate  performed QA testing on the Agency Upload application for every unique deployment, including testing of all rules and regulations for 22 states using different management systems and rating engines.

The client had been experiencing problems with quality, cycle times, and deliverables due to immature software development practices. The QA process was not in line with the QA industry best practices:

  • Lack of formalized QA process for end to end testing
  • Lack of proper impact and GAP analyses between releases and not enough reviews on the work products
  • Gaps in functional and technical documentation, critical for successful testing
  • Process was based on ad hoc and black box testing
  • Functional and regression testing on multiple states with different business rules and using different management systems

The Solution

Agency Upload enables data upload for agents and underwriters, regardless of the agency management system and without proprietary networks or transaction fees. It speeds processing and, when combined with various management systems and rating engines, can produce binding quotes in seconds. The request XML sent by management system for premium quotes is processed by Agency Upload, which changes it to ACORD XML format and then sends it to the rating engine for premium generation.

Due to the high volume of testing required, the client sought to share the testing burden with a reliable partner. Excellarate was selected for our responsiveness, high quality of work, and in-house offshore team.

Excellarate focused on implementation and execution of the test strategy, including basic maintenance of test cases, manual functional testing, regression testing, and database testing.

Team members located offshore were critical to achieving the client’s objectives on time, especially for its insurance service projects, which rely on short iterations. Rapid turnaround of testing was paramount to keeping on schedule.  The time zone difference allowed for the team to be working essentially around the clock, with US-based team members and India-based team members operating in opposing time zones. This would help testing and other processes be completed quickly, but not being rushed.

Excellarate adhered to the following best practices throughout the project:

  • Assessing the environment and determining the best course of action
  • Weekly reviews to ensure all planned milestones and objectives are on track and being achieved
  • Quick knowledge transfer to internal staff
  • Working on functional and regression testing with separate teams for delivering quality builds on time
  • Providing client with quality reports, including daily status report, weekly status reports, build health reports, and test summary reports (at the end of each cycle)
  • Recommendations for process improvements that integrate test automation regression into the current QA lifecycle

The Outcome

Excellarate’s role in performing testing on the Agency Upload application grew organically to the extent that it has effectively become the client’s QA testing organization of choice. The improvements and results that the client has realized have been significant.

First, the client has experienced a substantial decline in the issues raised about the quality of its products since implementing the Agency Upload application. They also have a high success rate in terms of completing testing on schedule. The testing and quality assurance element is the most predictable part of the software life cycle, due to Excellarate’s rigorous approach.

Database and regression analysis testing enabled faster delivery of the product, which not only helped client to better asses the product’s quality, but also helped to launch their product to insurance agents ahead of schedule.