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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.
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:
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.