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Why Drupal for the Insurance Industry? The MagMutual Perspective

April 24, 2019

Like many of her insurance industry peers, MagMutual Insurance Company CIO Sallie Graves faces the challenges of tying technology to business goals and striving to attract and retain customers in an increasingly commoditized sector. We believe creating a strong digital foundation begins with choosing the right CMS for your business. For MagMutual, a leading provider of healthcare liability insurance, that foundation is Drupal.

We sat down with Sallie to learn how Drupal serves as an underlying layer of insurance technology, enabling her organization to meet customers’ high digital demands with data-informed decisions. She shares how MagMutual is leveraging Drupal to connect its digital ecosystem and shares her thoughts on considerations for tech leaders in the insurance space when planning for a platform migration.

Mediacurrent: For many in the insurance industry, prioritizing the customer experience is at the heart of digital strategy. What are some ways MagMutual has observed customer expectations evolve?

SG: The whole industry dynamic is changing and customer expectations as a whole, not only from the younger generation coming into the industry, are different. We're definitely seeing shifts in how they want to interact with us. We need to deliver services in a digital way versus the historical more one-on-one conversations, one-on-one training sessions or face-to-face panel discussions. So it's really changing, those services that we're offering our PolicyOwners.

We support insurance, but we also focus on the healthcare industry, which is also undergoing a big change. There is a lot of consolidation happening.

Mediacurrent: How is MagMutual leveraging Drupal to build an adaptable customer experience?

SG: MagMutual is a mutual insurance company and owned by our PolicyOwners. We provide insurance as well as an array of services that help them prevent bad outcomes, whether those are around the practice, business or regulation of medicine. Some ways that we've used Drupal and our website to help with this includes providing rich content and training for our customers.

Our Drupal platform is a place, not only can they come and learn about our products and other services that we offer, but they can actually interact on the platform and get continuing education credit. They can find out the latest information on key topics. One example is the opioid crisis. We're able to deliver real-time training that helps make sure that the healthcare professional is up to speed on all the new regulations around opioids. We can do that in a very quick way that works for their lifestyle versus traditional training where they would have to go to a training center to get continuing education.

We're also able to gather feedback on all that training. We have a lot of integrations with other partners like SurveyMonkey and Bridge, a Learning Management System. The website is integrated to a lot of other functionality. We also are able to offer a service for our PolicyOwners called UpToDate (we’ve purchased this as an added value benefit). We've integrated that into our website and allow them to complimentary access through our website. So it's another way that they can get better information and practice medicine in a better way for patients. 

We're also adding more self-service capabilities, like pay my bill. We have our Drupal website integrated with Wells Fargo, so that makes it very easy. PolicyOwners aren’t having to call us, they're not having to mail anything in. They're able to just go online and see what they need to pay, what's the current status, and take action on that. 

Our Drupal platform allows our team to adapt to that very quickly to change marketing strategies as we continue to grow and evolve with our customer base. 

Drupal has helped take the burden off our technology team and really put things in the hands of the people that are curating content, to respond faster to customer demands. What's important today—from a content perspective or to our customers—is different tomorrow.

Mediacurrent: What were the primary drivers that initially led MagMutual to select Drupal as a platform?

SG: Drupal was in place when I joined MagMutual in 2014. They had adopted it a year or two before I joined, for a rebrand and relaunch of the website. We knew we wanted to have a robust CMS. We really saw that as a differentiator with Drupal over some other platforms that were available. We saw the future of where we were going, being more integrated back into other capabilities. We wanted to be able to provide value back to our customers.

Mediacurrent: Many insurance sector websites are built with WordPress and SharePoint. In your view, why is Drupal a better choice? 

SG: I think if you're really going to meet your customers' needs and the demands that we're going to have in the insurance industry going forward, you're going to need a robust platform that allows integration, that offers a lot of different APIs, and is more flexible for content management. If you look at Drupal, it definitely beats other tools like WordPress and Sharepoint in those categories. It's just going to have to be more sophisticated. You're not going to be able to get away with the user experience that you can achieve through Sharepoint.

The open source piece of it, especially for content management, makes Drupal more flexible and robust. From a development perspective, I think you get stronger and better talent out there in the marketplace because it is open source and it was built by developers. I feel like that's really created a better talent pool and opened up the software more for the better. Like the advantage I was mentioning around the APIs, that will continue to evolve and mature. That’s one thing we've seen as we've gone through [building a Drupal website] there are plugins and other things that we can adopt that are already available, that wouldn’t be there if it wasn't an open source content management system.

Mediacurrent: As MagMutual prepares to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, can you share your team’s vision for the new platform, and how Drupal 8 will position MagMutual for long-term success?

SG: Drupal 8 aligns nicely with our brand’s future and go-to-market strategy. The details of our strategy are confidential for now, but I can share that we will be completing this together with decoupling while migrating to Drupal 8. It definitely creates a lot of synergies with where we're trying to drive some of our strategies from a marketing perspective. Drupal 8 is going to allow us to be on a continuous upgrade path to Drupal 9, so looking forward, we won't have these big moves like what we're doing now to get from 7 to 8.

One of the things that I'm very excited about with moving to Drupal 8 and the decoupled environment is really allowing for better performance. We have a lot of APIs and integrations where we have to load data into a page - this is going to give us more real-time performance around that.  There was always a risk of things being out of sync in the very integrated environment that we have and this is really going to help reduce that risk. From an upgrade perspective, as we apply patches and take on more new features and capabilities, that's going to be a much easier process with Drupal 8. This will help us respond to security items in a much more rapid and efficient way. 

I see a lot more integration in self-service in our future, trying to create a more seamless experience. Getting to Drupal 8 will allow us to do that while still delivering the level of performance and user experience that our customers are going to demand.

Mediacurrent: What advice can you share for other insurance organizations that are considering adopting Drupal 8?

SG: A few considerations:

Pick the Right Agency Partner
First, you need to make sure you pick the right partner to work with on it. We've been working with Mediacurrent who is very knowledgeable on Drupal and really allows us to have all the key experts. We have access to SEO experts, UI/UX experts, and people with a high caliber of development experience on Drupal. I think that's been a huge advantage. I'm sure I'm biased, but I also feel we're coming out with a more superior result because we have the right partner.

I also think you have to find a team or a partner that fits in as part of your group and is invested in your success. You need to find that “right fit” that aligns with what your goals and objectives are when you look at your website and digital strategy.

Align Marketing and IT Departments
Our technology team at MagMutual is deeply engaged in doing the right things from an integration perspective. We're tightly aligned with marketing and marketing is deeply engaged in the project — we’re a very cohesive team. That's another thing I would say, you need to have that collaboration between all parties because, while the content and the experience is super important, you've got to have the functionality there now as well. So you've got to have all parties working together and you have to have expertise from all these different areas to make sure the whole experience is successful. 

Set KPIs for Continuous Improvement 
The website is one component of our digital strategy and you've got to make sure all those different pieces fit together. I think that's been really important as well in the partnership with Mediacurrent, that we are looking at it in a more holistic way.

A lot of people approach these things as an individual project. They don't look at their website as something that's living and changing every day. Obviously, as we're going to Drupal 8, we have a larger project team working on that than we do normally. But we also have an ongoing process where we're constantly monitoring our KPIs. We are constantly asking, are we seeing the results we need versus saying, okay, every two years we're going to come take a look at this, and we may upgrade, we may rebrand, we may look at some things that we can do around SEO. We're improving continuously. I think that's really created a better product, result, and experience for our customers and helps differentiate us. 

For KPIs, we're measuring “stickiness,” looking at bounce rate and whether visitors are really exploring the site. We've been really trying to pay attention to the areas that are seen as valuable and making sure we're continuing to evolve those. On the side, MagMutual has been going through a nationwide expansion, primarily driven by healthcare consolidation. As we’re growing and evolving, this is helping us to measure how we’re performing in these new areas of expansion and whether we’re providing the right resources. 

Through our KPIs, we've been able to see that we’re getting traction. It's really helped us monitor our expansion as a company. We use Google Analytics and we have analytics dashboards integrated for our marketing team to go through on a regular basis. Those are real-time too. So if there's something going on like a campaign, we can watch it in real-time to see if we’re getting the results that we needed to. Because we've been monitoring all of this, we've been able to take everything we've learned and incorporate it into our Drupal 8 upgrade project to address some of these things in bigger, more effective ways. 

Final Thoughts

Thanks to Sallie, we’ve explored how Drupal is a fit for her insurance organization. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog series with Acquia, where we’ll provide CMS comparison information and tools to help insurance providers achieve what MagMutual has established — building for continuous improvement on a platform that supports its business goals and KPIs.  

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