EQC shifts to Guidewire Cloud, goes to market for rapid app development

EQC shifts to Guidewire Cloud, goes to market for rapid app development

Having built a Salesforce-based engagement prototype, EQC goes to market for services.

Christchurch Cathedral and the Christchurch Press building (top) devastated after the 2011 earthquake.

Christchurch Cathedral and the Christchurch Press building (top) devastated after the 2011 earthquake.

Credit: Crown Copyright 2011, NZ Defence Force – Some Rights Reserved.

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is taking claims management to the cloud, subscribing to Guidewire ClaimCenter on Guidewire Cloud.

The Crown entity plans to implement ClaimCenter on Guidewire Cloud simultaneously across all of its personal lines of business to power its claims management and simplify IT operations. 

EQC's service and technology landscape faced scrutiny and criticism in the wake of its failures related to the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. An enquiry released in 2020 criticised the agency for, among other things, using outdated and incompatible systems.

EQC changed its model to one of partnering with private insurance companies to deliver an improved, more collaborative approach to support New Zealanders through natural disasters in the future. Under the new model, anyone with home insurance whose home or land is damaged in a natural disaster will only need to lodge one claim through their insurer.

However, under orders from the government, it will still require the capability to respond if required.

“The government has directed us to maintain our in-house claims capability as contingency support of our insurer relationship model, so scalability was a very important consideration for us,” said Robyn Hilbourne, product manager – claims management systems and performance and reporting at EQC.

EQC has been using ClaimCenter since 2008 and was due to upgrade it when the quakes struck.

"From a business continuity perspective, continuing to utilise that system and the investments we’ve made in it over the past 13 years was quite important as well," Hilbourne said. 

The shift to ClaimCenter on the cloud would help reduce cost and to stay current with the latest functionality and features.

“We welcome the Earthquake Commission to the Guidewire Cloud,” said Roland Slee, managing director, Asia-Pacific, of Guidewire Software. “We appreciate this vote of confidence in our cloud service and look forward to playing an expanded role in enabling EQC’s mission of reducing the impact on people and property when natural disasters occur.”

Separately, EQC has been developing an engagement model using Salesforce as a prototype rapid application development platform. 

Up until now it has done so without a formal procurement, using an exemption that allows systems to be procured and used for "prototyping". This month, however, EQC went to market to find and contract a supplier to provide services relating to a rapid application development platform to back its new insurer-based model of engagement.

"A key success parameter of this model is the ability to exchange data and information readily and securely with insurers, a tender document reeasedthisweek said.

"To enable this, we explored the potential for an analytically oriented and data-driven solution to deliver visualisation and business user interaction. This exploration was conducted via a prototyping exercise where we sought to develop and evaluate new ways of working via products that have the ability to enable user interaction both internally and externally with interested third parties, such as insurance companies."

EQC conducted the prototype using: Salesforce Service Cloud enterprise edition; Customer Community Plus; Salesforce Shield; and Salesforce Connect.

While the prototype will not be completed until December, the prototype exercise had determined that a long-term system of engagement solution as part of a rapid application development platform was crucial to the success of the new model.

"As part of this RFP, we are interested in understanding the full range of solutions that are available to us, to determine the solution which will best meet our needs and requirements, in the most efficient and cost-effective way," the tender said.

Originally established by the New Zealand Government in 1945 as the Earthquake and War Damage Commission, EQC has been operating continuously since that time and today provides coverage for specified insured residential property in New Zealand for several natural perils, principally earthquake, landslide, tsunami, and volcanic eruption. 

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