Launching personal lines in Pennsylvania

Launching personal lines in Pennsylvania

In 2016, Grinnell Mutual’s then-CEO Larry Jansen mentioned in a president’s letter to our agencies and mutual members that “The Guidewire platform, which we will implement over the course of several years, is the gold standard in our industry.”

The two-plus years since that sentence was published have been some of the most transformative and challenging in the company’s history.

Feb. 18, 2019, that future-tense “will” became a present-tense “are.” A pilot group of some of our best agents in Pennsylvania now write Grinnell Compass insurance, Grinnell Mutual’s new auto coverage, plus home insurance on the Guidewire platform.

The Guidewire platform supports quoting, rating, underwriting, policy generation, claims processing, and billing, offering end-to-end policy management and issuance.

The implementation of the new platform has just begun. Grinnell Mutual will roll out additional personal lines in Pennsylvania, then move all personal lines to the new platform in all of our writing states, and finally, move all commercial lines in all states onto the Guidewire system.


Roby Shay, the project’s co-executive sponsor and vice president and chief information officer for Grinnell Mutual agrees. “The implementation of Guidewire is about adopting best-in-class technology to serve our agents and customers better.” It’s something we have to do to position ourselves for the future.”


Part of the effort to smooth the way for the piloting agents and their staff included on-the-ground, face-to-face training with Grinnell Mutual staff. Several people from Underwriting, Sales, and Service traveled to the state to introduce the platform. Mike Shepardson, assistant vice president of Sales, Service, and Specialty, was one of them.

Noting that the project replaces every major system the company uses to do business, Shepardson said, “It’s amazing to me that this thing we’ve been working so long and so hard on to make user-friendly just faded into the background because it was exactly that. When something that’s so complicated on the back end looks so easy to users, that’s a huge success.”


Lauren Augustin, one of the project heads, says the advantages of the successes (and mistakes) in the life of the project so far go well beyond the technological.

“This has also been transformational for the Grinnell Mutual culture,” she said. “It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s made us think and work differently. We had seven teams of people from across the company working toward a common goal and thinking more globally.

“Every department has been interdependent in making this happen,” Augustin said.

While this has been historic for the company, there are a lot of pieces to fall into place as future releases go live.

As Augustin put it, “We’re well aware that the next step will always be as important as the one before it.”

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