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Mutual Protective Insurance Company Relies on Barr to Meet Printing Demands

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Most of us don't think all that much about insurance - until we need it. And when it does come time to make a claim, we expect our request to be processed promptly and reliably. Exceptional service is a way of life at Mutual Protective/Medico Insurance Company, one of the premier providers of senior-oriented insurance products. In 1999, Mutual Protective paid out more than $110 million in claims. According to company reports, 97 percent of these claims were paid within three days.

That kind of customer care requires an exceptional communications infrastructure, at the center of which is an efficient, high-speed print management system. The monthly print load at Mutual Protective consists of up to 750,000 pages, and includes policies, premium notices, claim drafts and monthly agent commission statements. So when it came time to upgrade from the mainframe-based print server, Mick Ratigan, systems manager at Mutual Protective, turned to the most respected vendor in the business.

"We only looked at the Barr solution," Ratigan says. "I had limited knowledge of another product, but I was not interested." Ratigan explains that Barr's reputation and track record as the leader in the field was the most important factor in his decision - and he was not disappointed. - After installation and tailoring, the Barr Server basically takes care of itself. It's very reliable."

What prompted the upgrade was a need to migrate corporate print management operations from the mainframe to a Microsoft Windows NT-based server. Mutual Protective's printing infrastructure includes the VSE/ESA mainframe and two Bus & Tag-attached Xerox laser printers. With critical print operations at stake, Ratigan had to get everything right the first time.

Easley worked closely with Barr sales and support consultants to provide a comprehensive plan for distributed printing, and now he and his associates are preparing to roll out the new system for university-wide operation. Executive and managerial guidance for the project is provided by Dennis Cromwell, Director, and Dan Miller, Operations Manager of UIS.

In order to ensure a smooth transition to the Windows environment, Ratigan, working closely with an authorized Barr reseller, selected the Barr Enterprise Print Server as the foundation for his print management strategy. The Barr Server accepts data from a variety of sources (mainframes, AS/400s, TCP/IP hosts and network users) and distributes print streams to multiple destinations (printers, report distribution systems and electronic storage).

Moving 3211 print streams from the mainframe was the primary objective in Mutual Protective's custom-designed system. The Barr Server's BARR/PRINT CHANNEL option was installed to do this, providing a Bus & Tag connection between the mainframe channel and the server running the Barr software. Next, the company's Xerox printers were attached to the Barr Server via Bus & Tag, using BARR/PRINT390, another option of the Barr Server that drives the printers at rated speeds.

Finally, the BARR/PRINT TCP/IP option was implemented to take full advantage of the Barr solution by letting network users access production printers without involving the mainframe. This option enables the Barr Server to receive print output from hosts via a TCP/IP network. It provides the Barr PC with destination printer names, origination name, job name, title and user name. This information can be used as criteria to route the job to its final destination.

The new-found ability to print from the network clearly represents a major benefit for Mutual Protective. However, less obvious advantages of migrating to the Barr solution include the reliability of Barr's products and the scalability of the configuration. For Ratigan, the Barr solution is "very easy to configure, very reliable, and the tech support, very good." He adds that this same quality is evident in the product manuals and documentation as well. For the folks at Barr, it's nice to know that a respected insurance company like Mutual Protective relies on Barr solutions for its print management needs.

IT migration demands a trusted guide before taking the leap

the Barr solution is "very easy to configure, very reliable, and the tech support, very good."

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