Build America Mutual Customer Story
Premier U.S. Bond Insurer Powers Digital Deal Flow with Alfresco
Build America Mutual relies on Alfresco Content Services, running on Amazon Web Services, to manage and review nearly 4,000 new insurance deals annually. Smart use of automation allows underwriters and the Credit Committee to move deals forward quickly.
Building a Digital Business
New York-based Build America Mutual Assurance Company (BAM) insures bonds for essential public purposes like roads, utilities and schools. Since its formation in 2012, the company has insured more than 4,800 transactions, with insured par totaling over $39 billion in U.S. municipal securities. Founded by a team of industry experts, BAM had the unique opportunity to build its digital business platform from the ground up. “We had the ability to start with a clean slate, forearmed with the knowledge of what had and hadn’t worked in the past,” says Bobbie DeLuca, BAM VP and Head of Information Management and Public Finance Operations.
The Need for Speed
When DeLuca joined the company, her charter was to enable a completely paperless office. Speed was paramount. BAM’s core business systems had to be up and running within six months. They also had to facilitate the rapid response to new insurance requests. “One thing about bond insurance is that there is a lot of documentation that goes along with it,” says DeLuca. “There is a very quick turnaround period for an underwriter to analyze a deal and then present it to a committee to approve it. So it really is critical that you can get to that information quickly.”
Running on Amazon Web Services
To support the deal-making process, the newly formed insurer needed a platform that made it simple for people to share, store and manage content. “We really wanted to empower employees to do much of what they wanted to do on their own,” says DeLuca. It was also important that the solution feature easy-to-configure workflow capabilities and a mobile app, and that it integrate seamlessly with the company’s deal tracking software (BAMBOB). The ability to host the platform on Amazon Web Services (AWS) was a top technical requirement. BAM wanted to avoid escalating data center costs, and was motivated by the scalability and security provided by AWS’s computing and database resources. For DeLuca, the key was also ensuring that employees could access and act on information from anywhere at any time.
Alfresco Rollout in Four Months
After evaluating several options, BAM chose Alfresco Content Services for its digital business platform. “In every category, Alfresco was the best fit for us,” says DeLuca. “It met our needs out of the box and allowed us to go completely cloud based.” Alfresco’s open, modern architecture was also a plus. DeLuca didn’t want to repeat past experiences with proprietary software “when getting anything done cost an arm and a leg and took a lot of time.” BAM partnered with Micro Strategies, Inc. (MSI) to implement Alfresco in just four months—easily beating the six-month deadline. (The rollout was before the release of Alfresco’s AWS Quick Start which allows companies to spin up a full production environment in less than an hour.) “MSI was instrumental in helping us to develop the platform in a way that maximizes the benefits that Alfresco has to offer,” says DeLuca.
Automated Creation of Deal Sites
The tightly integrated combination of Alfresco Content Services and the BAMBOB deal tracking software powers the company’s collaborative, highly efficient process for preparing, reviewing and approving insurance bids. Within minutes of a transaction being entered into BAMBOB, a dedicated deal site is automatically created in Alfresco—complete with the appropriate folder structure and security access. Everyone involved in the transaction can hit the ground running with a central location to store and share deal-related documents. “This is really key for us,” says DeLuca, “because sometimes an extra ten minutes is the difference between getting the deal and not getting the deal.”
Auditable Workflow for Deal Approval
Once a deal is ready for review, Alfresco Content Services orchestrates the insurer’s credit approval voting process. The underwriter saves the submission into a Daily Submissions folder, which triggers a notification to the Credit Committee. Members can quickly see which deals need approval, sort them by due date and review and comment on the deal from their mobile device or laptop. Votes are registered through Alfresco so everyone can easily track deal status. “Plus we have a built-in audit trail, which our auditors really like because they can make sure a deal got the appropriate approval,” says DeLuca.
Enhanced Document Search and Retention
Alfresco helps BAM overcome the challenges of operating such a document-intensive business. For example, the insurer leverages Alfresco’s robust metadata capabilities to greatly enhance document searches. Key information about a deal—such as expected close date, maturity date and sector—is pulled out of BAMBOB and automatically assigned to site content. Additional metadata is assigned using folder rules. Says DeLuca, “We have some pretty phenomenal searching capabilities, and our users don’t have to do anything but save a document to the right location.” The use of dedicated sites and metadata also simplifies the execution of document retention rules. The insurer can satisfy compliance obligations by locking down sites for the deals it wins. Deleting the remaining sites limits the risks and costs of saving lots of unnecessary information.
Secure External Document Sharing
BAM also uses Alfresco to securely share documents with third parties. Rather than shipping box loads of paper, the insurer synchronizes select documents with a secondary cloud-based instance of Alfresco Content Services. External parties can access the information they need electronically and “you don’t have to save that document twice.” “We saw right away that employees could collaborate on content both internally and externally with little effort,” notes DeLuca.
Achieving the Paperless Office
Thanks to Alfresco, BAM employees can easily find, save and share the information they need to move insurance deals forward. All 80-plus staff members use Alfresco Content Services. To date, the insurer has created over 7,000 deal sites, containing 150,000+ documents. DeLuca jokes that the completely paperless office exists only in someone’s imagination. “But Alfresco gave us the opportunity to be as close to that as possible,” she says.