Trupanion is the fastest growing provider of medical insurance for cats and dogs throughout the United States and Canada. They understand the importance of having a plan to ensure there is never a delay in processing claims for a sick pet. So, when it came to their own IT disaster response plan, long recovery times simply weren’t acceptable.
Sungard Availability Services’ (Sungard AS) managed recovery program frees Trupanion to focus on innovating medical insurance for cats and dogs and their industry-leading claims approval process. Now, recovery can happen in hours, not weeks, and every day systems stay in sync with recovery systems for continuity of both business and pet care.
- Access to critical applications, pet medical records and claims for fast approval, even during disruption
- Computing and storage resources in a Sungard AS recovery center available on demand 24/7
- A fully managed solution keeps primary and recovery environments in sync
- Operations and staff can be relocated to a workplace recovery center to quickly resume business
We were extremely surprised when Sungard AS was ready to validate the first systems brought online within 90 minutes. It was shockingly fast.
Pet recovery relies on IT recovery
When it comes to helping a dog or cat in need of medical attention, Seattle-based Trupanion wants its customers to focus on giving their pet the best treatment, not the bill. With medical insurance coverage, Trupanion customers have peace of mind, knowing they can have fast access to services and approvals they need for a pet in trouble.
Of course, this all depends on having ready access to the applications and systems that process those claims, flowing in from veterinary hospitals across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. If systems become unavailable due to disruption or disaster, there is a lot at stake.
We commit to paying veterinary bills for any new accidents and illnesses a pet may experience. If we lose our primary computing facility or our systems to make good on that promise, then we’re breaking our promise to our customers.
“We have animals waiting for critical medical procedures, and whether or not they get those procedures hinges on the approval or preapproval of a claim,” says Adrian DuPre, VP of IT Infrastructure at Trupanion. “So for us, being down for a significant amount of time would be a breach of trust with our customers.”
Having a more robust business and IT recovery plan was both a must and a challenge, especially with multiple terabytes of data to manage, compliance regulations to meet, frequent technology changes and a goal to devote its small internal IT staff to other priorities.
“As a fast-growing company, we’re focused on innovation and bringing out new features and benefits to our customers, as opposed to maintaining a large staff to deal with day-today IT operations,” says Chief Financial Officer Tricia Plouf. “So taking on the burden of drafting a comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity plan, and having full responsibility for maintaining and testing that, just didn’t make business sense to us. It made a lot more sense to have a third party handle that on our behalf so we can focus on our customers and their pets.”
A Fully Managed Recovery Environment
To choose the right disaster recovery (DR) partner, Trupanion consulted with Gartner, Inc. and reviewed Recovery-as-a-Service vendors in the Gartner Magic Quadrant report, which names Sungard AS as a leader.
“Sungard AS is considered to be the ‘go to’ DR provider and has a great reputation,” DuPre says. “We were pleased to find that Sungard AS, unlike other vendors we reviewed, did not reply on third party software to manage the recovery effort. Very few have the comprehensive services offered by Sungard AS, and that’s what sold us.”
The clock soon started ticking on an aggressive 60-day timeline to build and test the new recovery environment. To start, the Sungard AS team assessed Trupanion’s primary systems and recovery strategies to ensure the right processing, network and storage Sungard AS recovery data center when needed. The existing DR process involved reallocating Trupanion’s on-site development systems, reinstalling operating systems, applications and databases and waiting for tape-based backup data to arrive from its off-site hosting provider before bringing up the production environment.
It could have taken days to restore critical systems, including those supporting claims processing, the website, and the fax gateways that transmit medical records and claims forms, converted and stored as electronic files. It would take even longer to resume a full production environment.
Instead, the Sungard AS team implemented an ondemand recovery infrastructure, based on Enterprise Storage Replication (ESR) for NetApp, to restore normal business operations much faster. After replicating more than 26TB of production data, the DR test was done three days before the deadline and exceeded expectations. “We were hoping for a reasonable window from the declaration of disaster to having access to the first virtual machines,” says DuPre. “We were extremely surprised when Sungard AS was ready to validate the first systems brought online within 90 minutes. It was shockingly fast.”
Today, Sungard AS assumes full responsibility for the complete IT recovery lifecycle—from replicating data to on-going change management. A Workplace Recovery Solution provides an alternate 80-seat work site with telephony and recovery systems, so agents can continue to answer calls and process claims amidst adverse conditions impacting the corporate offices.
We were pleased to find that Sungard AS, unlike other vendors we reviewed, did not reply on third party software to manage the recovery effort. Very few have the comprehensive services offered by Sungard AS, and that’s what sold us.
Freedom to focus on innovating medical coverage for cats and dogs
Trupanion’s critical data is now available for retrieval in a ready-to-use state within hours, ensuring they are able to continue to process claims for their policyholders. The company can meet regulatory and industry requirements for recovery and response time for claims. And internal IT staff has more time to collaborate with developers to bring new solutions to market, such as their innovative direct pay solution that ends the reimbursement model.
As part of a Managed Recovery Program, which includes a Discovery and Dependency Mapping Service, Sungard AS maintains a central repository of data on the production environment and an application dependency blueprint for a fully recoverable infrastructure and applications.
“We continue to innovate new technology, so from quarter to quarter, there is a lot of change that goes on,” DuPre says. “With the Managed Recovery Program, Sungard AS maintains our internal run book for us, making sure our DR environment stays up-to-date and parallel with the changes we make to our primary environment.”
For a company who knows the importance of having a contingency plan, it’s reassuring to have a tested and proven recovery solution in place.
“We’re a company that offers medical insurance for cats and dogs, so being without the robust recovery plan we have in place today was not an option. Now, we could have a serious disaster, either in our datacenter or at our corporate office, and it would have no impact on the service we provide to our policyholders,” DuPre says. “I sleep a lot better at night knowing that, if something happens, Sungard AS has the people and expertise we need to get back up and running. They have really proven themselves as a business partner we can trust.”
Being without the robust recovery plan we have in place today was not an option. Now, we could have a serious disaster, either in our data center or at our corporate office, and it would have no impact on the service we provide to our policyholders