ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwire - June 24, 2009) - IASA and Ward Group are pleased to announce Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEM) has been named the winner of the 2009 Technology Achievement Award for an initiative completed in cooperation with business partners Guidewire and HCL that successfully replaced the company's core claims administration system.

The Technology Achievement Award presentation took place on Monday, June 8 during the 2009 IASA Annual Conference & Business Show in Orlando, Florida. Ernie Pearson, CIO for IASA and director of systems development for SECURA Insurance, and Jeffrey Rieder, CPA, CPCU and president of Ward Group, presented the award to Michael Foerst, CIO for MEM.

"Missouri Employer Mutual's implementation of its new claims system was a notable achievement," said Rieder. "Both the size of the investment and impact on the organization were significant. The company's disciplined approach to developing a sound business case, rigorous project management and use of agile methodologies helped achieve a very positive return on the investment."

MEM, with business partners Guidewire and HCL, successfully replaced the company's core claims administration system with Guidewire's ClaimCenter and exceeded company goals for the project. Some of the most significant benefits MEM realized include:

--  A 16.8 percent ROI versus an anticipated 12 percent ROI
--  Significant savings from medical care discounts and utilization
--  Reduced costs of handling medical bills
--  Realized staffing efficiencies
--  Better provision of services to injured workers

The results of this project were judged by an industry panel as "innovative" and "delivering measurable business impact in the insurance industry." The distinguished panel of industry experts who participated in the judging of the award submissions included individuals from ISO, Insurance Data Management Association (IDMA), TowerGroup, Insurance Networking News, Novarica, SMA, The Tech Consultant and Ward Group.

"The replacement of our core claims management system was a mission critical initiative for MEM. As such, we employed a number of new techniques to engage, focus and empower everyone involved in making it successful. The tools we selected gave us a solid foundation, and the methodology we used allowed us the visibility into the process to make the needed mid-course corrections. We are honored that these efforts are being recognized by such esteemed organizations as IASA, Ward Group and the other members of the evaluation committee. Personally, I couldn't be more proud of the members of the core team and all of the employees that contributed to making this initiative a success."

There were two projects selected for Honorable Mention in addition to the winner of this year's award. The first Honorable Mention went to Insurance Company of the West (ICW) for the company's implementation of the FirstBest Underwriting Management System, and the second Honorable Mention went to Physicians Mutual for their work implementing the SOA-based Bill and Collect Payment System as part of the company's Greenfield Program.

About IASA

The Insurance Accounting & Systems Association, Inc. (IASA) is a non-profit, education association that strives to enhance the knowledge of insurance industry professionals, and participants from similar organizations closely allied with the insurance industry by facilitating the exchange of ideas and information. IASA is one of the insurance industry's largest, and most well represented trade associations. IASA membership includes insurance companies of all types (Property & Casualty, Life, Health, Fraternal, HMO and others) as members, as well as companies serving the insurance industry, regulators and also organizations more broadly representative of the financial services industry, including banks and investment brokerage firms. Learn more about the IASA by visiting our website at www.iasa.org or by calling (919) 489-0991.

About Ward Group

Ward Group is a consulting firm dedicated to helping insurance companies measure results, optimize performance and be more profitable. The firm is the leading provider of operational benchmarking and best practices services with expertise in staffing level analysis and expense management. For more information about Ward Group services, visit www.wardinc.com.

About Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEM)

Missouri Employers Mutual is Missouri's No. 1 provider of workers' compensation insurance. Since opening our doors for business March 1, 1995, MEM has been dedicated to providing policyholders with exceptional customer service, quality loss prevention expertise and timely, personal claims management. Headquartered in Columbia, MEM is a mutual insurance company benefiting its policyholders -- the employers of Missouri. MEM has more than a decade of experience writing more classes of business than any other carrier in the state. We write nearly 600 different classes of business in all Missouri counties. For more information about MEM, please visit the company's website at www.mem-ins.com.

Contact Information: IASA Media Contact: Jennifer Overhulse-King St. Nick Media Services (859) 803-6597