Case Study – Keystone

“Ventures ATL has been an outstanding partner for Keystone Insurers Group. They have and continue to be, thorough and dedicated in understanding and meeting our needs as an organization. They have worked diligently to assist us in streamlining processes and taking responsibility for repetitive tasks that require care and attention to detail to resolve. We appreciate their continued support and partnership and it is our desire to include them as an integral part of service to our agency partners into the future.”
– Lea Ann Hawk | Chief Operating Officer | Keystone Insurers Group

Background
Keystone Insurers Group (Keystone), headquartered in Northumberland, PA, is a franchisor of independent insurance agencies in multiple states and is delighted to hear about the value Ventures ATL brings to their clients. Keystone provides its agents with a community of like-minded agencies, industry expertise, and access to specialized consumer products. Ventures ATL is a nonprofit who seeks to bridge the unemployment gap within the neurodiverse community by hiring adults with autism and related developmental differences. Ventures ATL’s employees excel at repetitive tasks that require attention to detail, which makes Ventures ATL an excellent option for companies looking for a high quality and cost effective third party service provider. Keystone was looking for a business partner that could help complete various time consuming, but important, activities. It was important for Keystone to find an outsourced partner with attention to detail and the ability to deliver high quality project outcomes at an efficient pace. Keystone initially worked with Ventures ATL to find a first project that could add value and serve as a proof of concept for a possible working relationship.

Initial Project
Keystone receives monthly reports from their insurance carriers detailing line item detail on customer premiums. The formats of these reports are unique to the carrier and initially incompatible with Keystone’s central database. Ventures ATL was given responsibility to manipulate a particular carrier’s report (an Excel document) into a specific format that can then be uploaded into Keystone’s database so that Keystone can make correct and timely payments to its customers/partners. At first, Ventures ATL’s management team worked with the Keystone employee who had been completing this project in order to develop an understanding of the project’s components and to develop an instructional document. For the next two monthly reports, Ventures ATL completed the manipulation project jointly with Keystone to ensure the process was thoroughly understood. Thereafter, as Ventures ATL took over the project, the Keystone employee had 3-5 days of extra bandwidth per month. In addition, Ventures ATL’s organizational and excel skills allowed for the project to be completed quicker, and Ventures  ATL’s editing of the project’s directions helped to alleviate ambiguous points in the process, further increasing efficiency. Keystone was pleased with the ongoing success of this initial project and began to look for more areas that Ventures ATL could provide value.

Growing the Relationship
Currently, Ventures ATL has now worked on four recurring projects with Keystone, in addition to several one-time projects, totaling over a dozen projects. After the initial success of the first project, Keystone began to look at Ventures ATL as a valuable partner that could assist in additional areas. At that time, Keystone was about to undertake a major transition from their legacy database to a new Salesforce-based database. This database is crucial to Keystone’s operations and the transition was time sensitive as there was a subsequent expected uptick of work volume within the database in 6 months. The project involved matching accounts between the two databases so that an account’s data in the legacy database could be transferred into the correct account in the new database. Originally, this was expected to be a time-intensive project where Ventures ATL’s employees would match Accounts between the two systems one-at-a-time. Ventures ATL identified a strategy (creating unique identifiers for each Account and utilizing Excel functions) to complete the project at a much quicker pace. What was originally projected to take 6 months was shortened to several weeks, saving significant time and money for Keystone. Ventures ATL’s fresh perspective and creativity contributed to unforeseen added value.

Growing the relationship further, Keystone next tasked Ventures ATL with assisting on a second recurring project that occupied 2 weeks a month for 4 Keystone employees. With a monthly cadence, Keystone received reports from their carriers that contained important financial and key metrics data. Each carrier report was received in a different format which made automating this process difficult. Data from the reports has to be manually entered into a centralized database. Accuracy and prompt entry of data was crucial as this database was used by Keystone employees to create deliverables for senior executives and partner agencies. Ventures ATL’s employees’ strong attention to detail was a valuable asset to the project and utilizing Ventures ATL allowed Keystone’s employees to work on other initiatives.

Five months after Ventures ATL started their initial project, the Keystone team experienced a light bulb moment that would become the third recurring project. A large part of their business involves managing and updating policy renewal documents within their new database. Though this project occurs year-round, a substantial portion of the work volume takes place during a one month period. During the middle of this busy month, Keystone was facing a daunting challenge of processing the month’s work volume while finalizing their transition into their new database. Keystone tasked Ventures ATL to initially help work through the backlog of work. Ventures ATL’s flexibility over the next few months were valuable to Keystone as the work volume fluctuated and the work instructions were often changed as the process was refined. As Ventures ATL developed an understanding of this complex project, it made sense for Keystone to assign responsibility for a large portion of this project to the Ventures ATL team. Ventures ATL’s employees monitor carrier websites for new policies. When a new policy is available, prescribed steps are taken to download the policy and upload it into Keystone’s database, make organizational changes to the database, and enter required information into the database. When there is an action item for a Keystone employee, the Ventures ATL team assigns that responsibility to the correct person (this person receives an email prompt to complete the task), eliminating any need from the Keystone team to periodically check for new action items. Ventures ATL’s diligence ensures that renewal documents are uploaded in a timely manner, allowing the downstream portions of the process to be completed efficiently. Ventures ATL’s involvement with this project has allowed numerous Keystone employees to spend time on other initiatives, while the overall quality and efficiency of the process is maintained at a high level.

Multiple smaller data cleansing, data entry, and data research projects have spun-off from this renewal project. Many of these projects are important to Keystone, but have been placed on the back burner as more pressing matters have been attended to. With Ventures ATL’s involvement, these projects can be attended to by Ventures ATL and their finished products provide noticed efficiency and effectiveness improvements within Keystone’s operations. Ventures ATL’s familiarity with the database and process as a whole make it easy for Keystone to assign these projects as they come up.

After hearing about the successes coming from the Ventures ATL engagement thus far, different departments within Keystone started to recognize areas in which Ventures ATL could provide value, leading to Ventures ATL’s fourth recurring project. This project required downloading files from different online sources and importing them into a centralized file sharing platform. Ventures ATL’s employees’ attention to detail and ability to remain focused through repetitive tasks provided value to Keystone. With this project, Keystone’s employees were happy to have a large amount of their time free to allocate to different tasks, having confidence that the project was being done accurately. In fact, due to Ventures ATL’s ability to complete this project sooner that was typically done in the past, other downstream pieces of the process are now able to be started and completed earlier, leading to an overall increase in operational efficiency and decrease in deadline-induced stress.

In summary, the projects Ventures ATL has worked on with Keystone have been successful because Ventures ATL is able to provide strong business value to Keystone. Ventures ATL has earned Keystone’s confidence with consistency, attentiveness, accuracy, efficiency, communication, flexibility and an occasional “wow” result.

Conclusion
Ventures ATL has become a trusted and relied upon partner for Keystone that works as an extension of their team. By growing its working relationship with Keystone, the Ventures ATL team has developed a familiarity with Keystone’s operations which allows for shorter learning curves on new projects. Ventures ATL has helped smooth out large work flow spikes, provided innovative and effective solutions to projects, and taken on recurring projects that previously occupied a significant portion of time for many Keystone employees, thereby freeing them to work on other strategic initiatives.  What has largely contributed to Ventures ATL’s success is the focus, attention to detail, affinity for repetitive and prescribed tasks, logical thinking, and dedication of their employees, along with their talented management team, effective communication, and creativity. Additionally, the enthusiasm of Ventures ATL’s employees for their work has noticeably contributed to this success. Knowing that their work makes a significant impact for Keystone is meaningful to Ventures ATL’s employees. One of the best testaments to a job well done is repeat business. Ventures ATL is very proud of their working relationship with Keystone and looks forward to continuing to identify areas where their team can add value.