Insurer saves $100,000 annually using SaaS-based email service

About Permanent General Assurance

Auto insurer Permanent General specializes in helping customers who are new to the auto insurance market or who have difficulty finding traditional auto insurance. The company has approximately 600 email users, and Ernie Clapp, manager of network services, reports that about half of all customer communication – and most internal communication – takes place via email.

Given the criticality of email to the firm, Clapp was surprised to find when he began working for Permanent General in early 2009 that the company did not have email archiving, disaster recovery or business continuity solutions in place.

Tape backups become onerous due to increasing email volume

“Everything was in active email,” recalls Clapp. Some people used PSTs and some didn’t. The ITteam performed incremental daily and full weekly backups to tape. The full backups typically were started on Friday nights, but due to increasing email volume often extended well past Monday morning.

And though they fortunately had never had to restore anything from the tapes, the IT team wasn’t 100 percent sure that the process would work. The huge amount of data being stored lead to frequent failures during backup.

“If we needed to restore email and could not, there would be a significant impact on our business,” explains Clapp. “If we lose track of claims, we could lose revenue. A lot of our marketing leads come in via email, and those might be lost. We might potentially have to go back and re-do a lot of work, which would take a lot of time. And of course it would impact our ability to communicate with customers.”

Email is woven into many automated sales, marketing and service processes at Permanent General – for instance, for filing online claims and for policy renewals. “If email goes down, those processes come to a standstill,” says Clapp. “An email outage has a major impact on our overall productivity.”

Firm seeks new approach to archiving, disaster recovery and business continuity

“Clearly, we needed to find a better way to handle archiving, disaster recovery and business continuity, so we started to explore some new options,”’ says Clapp. Initially, Clapp and his team researched point solutions that covered a subset of its needs, assuming they would need to integrate several products together. Then a former colleague recommended that Clapp consider Mimecast.

Mimecast provides the only end-to-end solution for unified email management in the cloud – a fully SaaS-based solution that covers archiving, discovery, business continuity, security and policy management.

More than 2,400 companies around the world have replaced multiple, on-premise point solutions with Mimecast subscriptions in order to significantly reduce the risk, complexity and overall cost of email management.

Because Permanent General already used a cloud-based service for anti-spam and anti-virus, they were comfortable with the concept. “We loved the model,” Clapp recalls. “The biggest hurdle we thought we would face on this project was coming up with the up-front money to invest in hardware, software and infrastructure. Mimecast took that concern off the table.”

Wide feature set with no up-front hardware or software costs leads to tremendous value

Mimecast also provided tremendous value. “Of the other vendors we evaluated, none had as wide a feature set as Mimecast, and those that did offer more than one set priced them all separately, which meant costs escalated very fast,” explains Clapp. “We also felt that Mimecast offered the best Outlook integration – during an outage, our users would access a mailbox that looked almost exactly like their regular Outlook mailbox, which we thought would make things much easier for them.”

Clapp reports that Permanent General’s Mimecast implementation was flawless. “The Mimecast team is great, very knowledgeable and professional,” he says. “All in all it took about a week, and any holdups were on our end because we were rolling out a new email archiving policy at the same time.

When it came to turning on Mimecast, we just changed our SMTP, pointed to Mimecast and the mail started flowing. Mimecast has an organized process that’s broken into clear steps that make it very easy. They dedicated a person to work with us during the process, and whenever a concern came up, he was always available to address it.”

Mimecast saves Permanent General $100,000 annually

By choosing Mimecast, Permanent General was able to avoid having to purchase, implement and maintain separate archiving, disaster recovery and business continuity solutions. It also avoided having to add or re-allocate staff to manage those systems. Ultimately, Permanent General let its old anti-spam/anti-virus subscriptions expire since Mimecast includes those features at no additional cost.

In making his original business case to purchase Mimecast, Clapp calculated the cost of subscribing to Mimecast versus the cost of purchasing, implementing and maintaining separate point solutions for archiving, disaster recovery, business continuity and anti-spam/anti-virus. “Mimecast is savings us more than $100,000 annually,” says Clapp. “We get a lot of value out of our Mimecast investment.”

According to Clapp, Mimecast has also had a very positive impact on overall email quality:
-There is a noticeable reduction in the amount of spam that reaches users – in an average month, Mimecast delivers approximately 150,000 valid email messages to users’ inboxes, and blocks approximately 400,000 spam emails.
-The organization has not experienced a virus outbreak since implementing Mimecast.
-If an email outage occurred, it would not affect employee productivity or be visible to customers.

Permanent General Assurance
Sector: Insurance
Size: 600+ End Users
Location: United States
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