Amica Mutual Insurance Company Case Study IBM Software Group

decorumgroveInternet and Web Development

Aug 7, 2012 (5 years and 11 months ago)



IBM Software Group

© 2006 IBM Corporation

Amica Mutual Insurance Company

Case Study

IBM Software Group


Business Challenge

Amica Mutual Insurance Company

Established in 1907 with headquarters located in Lincoln, RI

Oldest mutual insurer of automobiles in US, providing homeowners, marine and personal umbrella
insurance coverage nationwide

Employs over 3,000 employees in over 40 office locations and numerous regional offices across the

Core application dated and difficult to use

Primary application: Underwriting Data Entry

CICS 3270 based application is over 20 years old and difficult to use

Required extensive training for new personnel

Customer service representatives required to memorize many codes to navigate the system, often
resulting in slow service times

Goal to improve the user interface for core underwriting application

Ease training of new employees

Position IT architecture to move to a more Service Oriented Architecture approach

IBM Software Group


Previous Solution

Workstations connected to OS/390 via emulators

RUMBA® emulator installed on each workstation



CICS Transaction Server V1.3.0

DB2 V7.1.0


IBM Mainframe

Windows® 2000 Server

Microsoft® Terminal Services

Windows® XP Professional



HP ProLiant Server

IBM Software Group


Technical Challenges

Problems with previous solution from technical perspective

Difficult to meet changing business requirements with existing interface

Inability to add drop

Inability to limit data entry options

Inability to create new process flows through the application such as fast
paths and “wizards” for
new employees

Existing technology interface did not position Amica well for potential legacy
modernization effort

Interim step required while researching the modernization of entire underwriting systems

Initial step should not be a complete throw away

Initial step can not take too long to develop

IBM Software Group


Alternatives Considered

Due to very aggressive timeframes to deliver, Amica settled quickly on IBM Host
Integration Solution

Internal experience with IBM WebSphere Studio Application Developer used to develop for Host
Publisher solution

Internal experience with IBM WebSphere Application Server

Host applications are IBM CICS based

Amica’s solid relationship with IBM and support groups

Internal experience with Java to extend the Host Publisher JSP interfaces

Host Publisher solution fit well with the Amica Web Framework

IBM Software Group


New Solution

Transformation from green screen to web application occurred in two phases

Phase 1 deployed IBM WebSphere Host Publisher

Phase 2 deployed IBM WebSphere Host Access Transformation Services

WebSphere Host Publisher solution development

Used WebSphere Host Publisher Studio and WebSphere Studio Application Developer to transform
3270 Underwriting Data Entry application to web interface

All screen customization handled using WebSphere Host Publisher Integration Objects (IOs)

Used WSAD to develop code which dynamically generated unrecognized pages

New browser
based interface provided pull
downs instead of manually entering in appropriate codes

WebSphere Host Publisher solution deployment

Used WebSphere Host Publisher Server running on WebSphere Application Server


Internet Information Services used to authenticate users on the Amica network

Authorization controlled by an internal solution implemented in the 3270/CICS environment

Host Publisher application deployed into production for automobile line of business

Approximately 200+ screens converted

Project duration

1 year involving approximately 15 Amica IT staff members and services of IBM Business Partner,
Doug Piner now at Sirius Computer Solutions.

IBM Software Group


New Solution

WebSphere Host Access Transformation Services solution development

Migrated from Host Publisher solution to HATS V5

Fully deployed to all users

1500 users with 800 concurrent at peak

Leveraging both Host Publisher Integration Objects and HATS transformation functionality within the
HATS V5 product set

Application uses HATS Forward to URL feature to share the connection between Integration Objects
and screen transformations

Took advantage of HATS Function Key component

Removed the pre
HATS custom code and now use out of the box HATS functionality for non
converted screens

Completed the remaining lines of business

homeowners, personal excess liability and ocean marine

WebSphere Host Access Transformation Services solution deployment

Deployed HATS application to clustered WebSphere Application Servers


Internet Information Services used to authenticate users on the Amica network

Authorization controlled by an internal solution implemented in the 3270/CICS environment

Project duration

6 months involving approximately 15 Amica IT staff members.

IBM Software Group


New Solution Architecture



CICS Transaction Server






IBM Mainframe

Windows® 2003 Server

WebSphere Host Access Transformation


WebSphere Application Server cluster


Microsoft® Internet Information Services


Amica Web Framework

Windows® XP Professional

Microsoft® Internet Explorer




4 HP ProLiant Servers


Windows® 2000 Server

Resonate Central Dispatch


IP Persistence

HP ProLiant Server

List of Values (LOV) database contains the strings for populating the drop
down lists

IBM Software Group


Key Technical Benefits

Technical aspects of HATS solution

Leveraging modern IDE to develop new interface to mission critical business application

Ability to enhance application interface with drop
downs with restricted lists to minimize
data entry errors

Scalable solution to meet full deployment requirements

Added three application servers to support full deployment for both load balancing capacity and
failover scenarios

Move to HATS and z/OS eliminated screen settling issues with phase 1 solution

Host Publisher and OS/390 did not support RFC2355 for contention resolution

Screen settling issues required timers which impacted performance

Key Components


IBM WebSphere Host Access Transformation Services

WebSphere Application Server


HP ProLiant DL380G

IBM zSeries 2064 Model 105

IBM Software Group


Key Business Benefits

Improved user interface

Browser based versus “green screen”

down support

Reduces the application training cycle for new hires

words instead of codes

Enabled improved call center and cross
region handling of underwriting calls through the exploitation
of state specific drop
down lists

Dynamic screen rendering of supporting applications

Users are able to stay in the browser session without jumping back and forth to green screen for
supporting application functions

Application training for core system has been reduced

Instead of shrinking the training duration, Amica uses the time gained to enhance training for other
supporting applications such as their CRM system

IBM Software Group


HATS in Action

Screen Shot


IBM Software Group


HATS in Action

Screen Shot


IBM Software Group


Deployment Experience

The Good

Business sponsorship

This was critical to the success of our project

We had full,

support from senior management.

Solid team work

Project involved many parts of the IT organization, business users and external consultants all
working together to design the new look and feel of this mission critical application

Leveraged existing skills in Java development

Very important since we had aggressive timeframes

Utilized our Amica Web Framework and development processes to jump start the project

External resources brought in for specific tool expertise

Ensured we would not stumble with learning the Host Publisher tool set

External partner had direct contacts with IBM if issues arose

IBM Software Group


Deployment Experience

The Bad

What problems did you have with deployment?

Higher level of “resistance” of experienced, extremely productive business users to switch to the new

High proficiency with existing green screen application interface through code memorization initially made them less
productive in the new browser based interface

IT support costs increased to maintain both the green screen and web applications

Needed to be considered along with overall benefit of application modernization and savings gained elsewhere

How could problem have been alleviated?

Improved “PR” during the early deployments

sell the system benefits

Shift staff workloads to afford users additional time to get comfortable with the new application

How was it fixed once discovered?

Developed tips and techniques to ease the transition

Publish and communicate short cut navigation techniques

Issued a mandated full deployment timeline

Users were given additional opportunities to try out the system

Eventually removed access to green screen application

Any recommendations for what you would recommend others do differently?

Do not underestimate the resistance to change within your organization

Be prepared to shift workloads if necessary to ease the transition

IBM Software Group


A Success Story

A major North American insurance company
enables better customer service and simplified
training for new employees when its uses IBM
WebSphere Host Access Transformation
Services (HATS) V5.0 middleware to migrate its
legacy application to a Web
based interface.

Enabled improved call center and cross
handling of underwriting calls through the
exploitation of state specific drop
down lists.

Future application enhancements include
expanding our use of custom fast
path flows
such as the “New Business Auto” flow driving
the user through a defined set of pages to assist
with our new employee training processes.

"We are very happy with our
selection of the HATS solution.
The revitalization of our
critical underwriting
legacy system was
accomplished in record time,
delivering a quick return on
investment. As always, IBM's
product support groups were
key to the successful
deployment of our Host
based system."


Peter Moreau,

Assistant Vice President, Amica