A fire wipes out your crop and farm equipment…an off-course sail punctures a hole in the side of your new boat…a careless driver crashes into your bumper at a stoplight…a hailstorm damages the roof and siding on your home…. What would you do if one of these disasters happened to you? If you live in the state of Michigan, you might rely on the insurance protection of Fremont Insurance Company like so many other residents. Since 1876, Fremont Insurance has been committed to protecting its clients against potential disaster with service for autos, homes, boats, farms, and commercial businesses. This commitment is reflected in a retention rate of more than 91%—that’s 4% higher than the industry average. So how has Fremont Insurance achieved this type of success for so many years? By following its corporate mandate, which is simple: To protect the interests of the client, keeping costs low while maintaining a solid base of operation.
One way Fremont Insurance Company insures itself is by using Sequel Data Access, the HelpSystems business intelligence solution for the IBM® System i.TM Alan Boulee, Senior Programming Analyst, has been with Fremont for over seven years. When he came to Fremont, they were already using Sequel. Alan, too, was no stranger to Sequel, having used it at another company for the previous five years. Says Alan, “Right now we have over 50 end users in the company using Sequel views and reports.” Sequel lets users at Fremont perform virtually all their data access tasks using their database files. This simplifies the way they search for, filter, display, and deliver their System i data.
“Sequel is an e xcellent value. If Sequel were taken away from us today, it certainly would make life a lot harder.” – Alan Boulee, Senior Programming Analyst
“Sequel has helped tremendously when it comes to streamlining our operations,” says Alan. “For example, it used to be that an agent would notify us of a claim. Someone would then type up an acknowledgement of that claim with all the important information and mail or fax it back to the claims agent. It was a tedious and timeconsuming process. With Sequel, we easily send out up to 100 claim acknowledgements per day, automatically.”
Alan describes how Sequel automated that process. “Sequel opens the file containing the new claims that come in. It then builds a work file containing the email addresses of the agents with new claims. Sequel formats a claim acknowledgement report for the first claims agent, with data specific to that particular claim, and emails the report to the claims agent. Then, Sequel automatically does the same for the next claims agent, and so on until all acknowledgements are sent. A job scheduler runs Sequel nightly, sending out the acknowledgements for the next day. And there’s no programming involved, so it has saved us a lot of time and eliminated errors.”
Fremont also uses several other Sequel functions. Its join update capability, email and report formatting, date conversion, and report designers all help to improve Fremont’s efficiency. Alan explains, “We use Sequel on a daily basis to check data integrity. Sometimes there is a problem with the application software, and Sequel helps us locate any bad data. We can then use the join update capability to fix the problem. Our Controller and Accounts Receivable managers really appreciate that.
“For our audit reviews, we use Sequel emails and report formatting. Based on the type of policy held by a customer, Sequel determines which customers are due for an audit and when. Sequel emails an Excel spreadsheet to the auditors containing all the information we have about the insured. Again, it saves us a lot of time and work.
“We also use the Sequel date conversion capability to convert our numeric dates to date data types and do date arithmetic. Our dates are stored with a 0 or 1 to indicate the century followed by the year, month, and day. It doesn’t usually look nice, so it can be reformatted with the Sequel date conversion function. We also review policies 35 days before expiration. Sequel enables us to identify the policies and place them on a report. This type of report was not included in our application software.
“One of the biggest benefits of Sequel is the fast turnaround on reports it gives us. My background is as an RPG programmer, but for 90% of the things I do, I use Sequel because it’s faster. It takes me a quarter of the time. We have Sequel running over a million record files and the performance is really good.”
Whether automating the claim process, filtering out potentially bad data, or saving employees time with formatted report layouts, Sequel insures that System i data disasters don’t happen at Fremont Insurance Company. Employees can accomplish tasks quickly and easily, with peace of mind that daily operations are running efficiently. Alan sums it up. “Sequel is an excellent value. If Sequel were taken away from us today, it certainly would make life a lot harder.”