Emerald Insurance implements Ability Financials




Emerald Underwriting Managers, part of the Emerald Insurance Group has implemented Ability Financials to improve fiscal control and provide for simpler consolidation of the group's financial data for reporting and analysis.

Emerald was launched as a local property and haulage specialist operating in South Africa. The group has since expanded its scope of operations to include Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. It is now one of the continent's leading underwriters in the property, engineering, motor fleet, haulage and volume markets.

Emerald historically used a low-end accounting system and relied heavily on Excel spreadsheets for its financial management. A staff member who had experience with Ability Financials was able to demonstrate the benefits of a consolidated financial management package and drive the move to the new system.

Emerald's GM Finance, Bruce Lancaster, says Ability Financials was selected because the product was the best fit for the company. "Ability met our needs in terms of the system requirements, the functionality on offer and it was the right solution for the size of the firm."

According to John Olsson, marketing director of Ability Solutions, the open architecture of the system allows Ability Financials to support an unlimited number of companies, branches and end users in multi-currency and even multi-tax regime environments. Financial and reporting structures can be changed dynamically at any point in the life of the system, not only affecting current and future data, but also reengineering all historical data to bring it in line with new business requirements.

The solution was installed in three phases, corresponding to the three divisions within the Emerald Insurance Group. Each phase involved migrating Emerald's existing data to the Microsoft SQL Server platform and moving users onto the new system. Ability was able to complete each phase in four weeks.

Ability Solutions also customised the product to the underwriter's specific requirements and will assist in integrating it into Emerald's line-of-business applications. The next step in the implementation will be to customise and enhance the system's reporting capabilities to meet the needs of Emerald's management team. Following this, the company will also look into making use of the business intelligence (BI) capabilities of Ability Financials to enhance the analytical capacity of the group.

"Ability's performance has been totally professional," Lancaster adds. "The company has an in-depth understanding of the insurance industry and also spent the time required to understand the specific needs of Emerald."

"Having installed Ability Financials, Emerald has improved the control, efficiency and reliability of its financials," concludes Olsson. "Moreover, it will also be able to gain fast access to in-depth information and statistics once the reporting and BI phases are complete."

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