CASE STUDY

Assurant depends on workforce continuity services to ensure quality customer service

When Assurant, Inc. became a public company in 2004, it affirmed that everything it does is guided by its core values: to show common decency, use common sense and apply uncommon thinking to deliver uncommon results.

Since then, Assurant has adhered steadfastly to its commitment to help protect what matters most by offering specialty insurance products. As it has grown into a $9 billion company, Assurant has fortified its resolve to always ensure quality customer service.

For the past seven years, Assurant has relied on Sungard Availability Services to ensure that its employees can use alternate workspaces and serve their clients without interruption if a disaster occurs.

“Many of our offices in the U.S. had reached capacity and we needed to identify other options for alternate workspace in the event of a disaster,” recalls Santita Hyman, Assurant’s Business Continuity Director. “Our ability to mobilize to alternate office locations when necessary is a requirement for some of our clients and ensures we can continue to provide service especially during these critical times.”

“Our ability to mobilize to alternate office locations when necessary is a requirement for some of our clients and ensures we can continue to provide service especially during these critical times.” SANTITA HYMAN Business Continuity Director, Assurant Inc.

“Just as we are there to protect the health and wellbeing of our customers, Sungard AS is ready to help us protect our most important assets: our people and our information” SANTITA HYMAN Business Continuity Director, Assurant Inc.

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About
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Provider of specialty insurance and related protection products(NYSE: AIZ)
  • Uses Sungard AS Workgroup
Business benefits
  • Enhanced capability for business recovery through brick and mortar and mobile recovery unit solutions
  • Another layer of disaster protection to show to state and federal regulators checking compliance standards
  • Solid, proven disaster recovery partnership for seven years

Partnering for business solutions

Assurant assessed several vendors that could provide alternative workspace. Sungard Availability Services stood out with regional brick-and-mortar recovery sites near Assurant’s larger offices nation-wide, says Hyman. The ability to deploy self-contained mobile recovery units to the more remote offices also enhanced the offering.
“Sungard AS was willing to work with us on our requirements and our seating needs, allowing us to mix and match their services to meet our cost and flexibility requirements,”Hyman says. Assurant has offices worldwide, with 18 locations under contract with Sungard AS in the U.S. and Canada.

Sungard AS’ Workforce Continuity Services offer customers:

  • More than 28,000 workstation seats worldwide, outfitted with network, computer, telephone, and office equipment.
  • Complete connectivity for a customer’s systems, applications, telephones and Internet, and test time to ensure all requirements are viable should a real disaster occur.
  • Mobile recovery units dispatched to the customer’s location within 24 hours in the continental United States and Canada.
  • Prompt arrival of personal computers or servers at any location in the continental United States or Canada within 48 hours.

 

Sungard AS delivered when it really mattered

The Assurant-Sungard AS partnership faced a challenge soon after it went into effect in 2007. After Assurant’s Addison, Texas office flooded in November 2008, the company initiated its business recovery process with Sungard AS in nearby Grand Prairie.

Flooding occurred in about 60 percent of Assurant’s office space and wasn’t discovered until early Saturday morning, when employees arrived to take customer calls. Teams from both companies worked in partnership throughout Saturday and Sunday so business operations could be up and running by Monday morning in Grand Prairie. Dozens of Assurant’s Addison employees successfully worked from the Sungard AS site for nine days.

“That experience was a success. We didn’t miss a beat,” says Hyman. “Employees felt good they could go to a nice facility with workstations, PCs and phones that allowed them to conduct normal call center operations.”

What especially stood out to Assurant officials, including Hyman, was how fast Sungard AS’ personnel engaged. They were on the job at 7:20 a.m. ET on Saturday and teamed with the Assurant IT staff throughout the entire process.

“When we needed more IT help with the phone setup, the Sungard AS team immediately jumped on it. It was very much a joint effort,” notes Hyman. “It was our first experience shortly after being engaged with Sungard AS, and it definitely boosted our confidence in what the partnership can provide.”

Since then, the two companies have primarily been involved in testing the different Sungard AS facilities, including mobile recovery units, once annually. The mobile recovery testing allows Assurant to validate the alternate workspace option and gain additional confidence in the Sungard AS solutions.

“Just as we are there to protect the health and wellbeing of our customers, Sungard AS is ready to help us protect our most important assets: our people and our information. That’s an example of the common sense and uncommon thinking that guide Assurant,” Hyman concluded.

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