MagMutual and Drupal: Finding a CMS for the Insurance Industry

With digital channel usage growing across consumer segments, digital experience is an opportunity to remove friction.


The insurance market is experiencing a disruptive transformation these days: with insuretech solving consumer pain points in one sector of the market and commoditization happening in others, many insurers are scrambling to retain their current policy holder base and attract new customers. In this environment, ease of interaction and value-add benefits become critical. As insurance is typically a low-engagement category, the question becomes how and when to do this in a smart and measurable way. With digital channel usage growing across consumer segments, digital experience is an opportunity to remove friction and even delight policy holders and prospects.

Drupal as a Best-in-Class Choice for Insurance

Like many of her peers in the insurance industry, MagMutual Insurance Company CIO Sallie Graves faces the dual challenges of tying technology to business goals and striving to attract and retain customers in an increasingly commoditized sector. We believe creating a strong digital foundation begins with choosing the right CMS for your business. For MagMutual, a leading provider of healthcare liability insurance, that foundation is Drupal.

The team at Mediacurrent, an Acquia partner, sat down with Graves to learn how Drupal serves as an underlying layer of insurance technology, enabling her organization to meet customers’ high digital demands with data-informed decisions. She discusses how MagMutual is leveraging Drupal to connect its digital ecosystem and shares her thoughts on considerations for tech leaders in the insurance space when planning for a platform migration.

For many in the insurance industry, prioritizing the customer experience is at the heart of digital strategy. What are some ways MagMutual has observed customer expectations evolve?

The industry dynamic is changing and customer expectations as a whole, not only from the younger generation entering into the industry, are different. We're definitely seeing shifts in how they want to interact from a business perspective. For example, we need to deliver services in a digital way versus historical approaches, such as one-on-one conversations and training sessions, or face-to-face panel discussions. To meet these expectations, we are changing our approach to the services we're offering our PolicyOwners.

MagMutual supports insurance, but we also focus on the healthcare industry, which is also undergoing a big change. There is a lot of consolidation happening.

How is MagMutual leveraging Drupal to build an adaptable customer experience?

MagMutual is a mutual insurance company and owned by our PolicyOwners. We provide insurance as well as an array of services that help them prevent negative outcomes, whether those are around the practice, business or regulation of medicine. Some of the ways that we've used Drupal and our website to help with this includes providing rich content and training for our customers.

We consider our Drupal platform to be a digital destination for customers to learn about our products and services offering and where they can interact on the platform and receive continuing education credit, for example. They can learn about news and information on key topics. One example is the current opioid crisis — we are able to deliver real-time training that helps to ensure the healthcare profession is up-to-date on new regulations and treatment options relating to opioid addiction, compared to traditional training methods, which would require professionals to attend in-person trainings for continuing education.

Our team is also able to gather feedback on the training through integrations with partners such as SurveyMonkey and Bridge, a learning management system. Additionally, we are able to offer a service for our PolicyOwners called UpToDate, which has been integrated into the website, allowing users complimentary access. This functionality is yet another way we are able to communicate more meaningful information to the healthcare industry.

We have also added self-service capabilities for users to pay their bills online, among other tasks. Drupal has helped lessen the burden for our technology team and allows responsibilities to be attributed to the departments that are curating content to ensure they are able to efficiently meet and respond to customer demands. What's important today from a content perspective may be different tomorrow, and the Drupal platform truly allows our team to adapt quickly to continue to develop marketing strategies as we grow and evolve with our client base.

What were the primary drivers that initially led MagMutual to select Drupal as a platform?

Drupal was in place when I joined MagMutual in 2014 — the team had adopted it one or two years prior for a rebrand and relaunch of the website. The team knew they wanted to have a robust CMS and saw that as a differentiator with Drupal in comparison to other, similar platforms. In terms of the future and the direction our team wants to move in, the ability to integrate and increase capabilities to provide value to our customers are important considerations.  

Many insurance sector websites are built with WordPress and SharePoint. In your view, why is Drupal a better choice?

In my view, I believe if you're really going to meet your customers' needs and the demands that  the insurance industry will have going forward, businesses need a robust platform that allows integration and offers many different APIs, as well as greater flexibility for content management. Drupal definitely wins over tools like Wordpress and Sharepoint in those categories in terms of sophistication and the level of user experience that it offers.

The open source piece of it, especially for content management, makes Drupal more flexible and robust. From a development perspective, teams are able to attract a greater talent pool in the marketplace because it is open source and built by developers. Additionally, the advantage of the APIs is also important and will continue to evolve. We appreciate the plugins that can be adopted, which are available because it is an open source platform.

As MagMutual prepares to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, can you share your team’s vision for the new platform, and how Drupal 8 will position MagMutual for long-term success?

Drupal 8 aligns nicely with our brand’s future and go-to-market strategy. The details of our strategy are confidential for now, but I can share we will be completing this together with decoupling while migrating to Drupal 8. It definitely creates a lot of synergies in terms of the direction of our strategies from a marketing perspective. Drupal 8 will enable the organization to be on a continuous upgrade path to Drupal 9, so looking forward, our team will not have to dedicate such resources in the future.

One of the aspects our team is very excited about in relation to the Drupal 8 migration and the decoupled environment is the opportunity for better performance. Currently, our team has a lot of APIs and integrations in which we have to load data into a page, so this will allow for increased real-time performance. Secondly, there is always a risk that platforms will be out of sync in an integrated environment, so this will help greatly in increasing security and stability. Also, as we apply patches and add on new features and capabilities, it will now be a much easier process with Drupal 8, which will help our team to respond to security issues more efficiently.

We envision integration in self-service in our future as well as prioritization to create a more seamless experience. Getting to Drupal 8 will allow us to accomplish this while still delivering the level of performance and user experience that will meet our customers’ expectations.

What advice can you share for other insurance organizations that are considering adopting Drupal 8?

I would note the following as important points to consider:

First, it is important to select the right agency partner to work with on it. We've been working with Mediacurrent, whose team is very knowledgeable in Drupal and allows us to interact with key experts that have a high level of development experience, which is a huge advantage.

I also think you have to find a team or a partner that fits in as part of your group and is invested in your success. You need to find that “right fit” that aligns with your goals and objectives when you look at your website and digital strategy.

Secondly, it is important to have alignment between the marketing and IT departments. Our technology team at MagMutual is deeply engaged in the project from an integration perspective — we’re a cohesive team. It is definitely important to have this level of collaboration because, while the content and level of experience is important, it is equally important to have functionality, as well. So, all internal stakeholders should work together to draw upon expertise from all different parts of the business to ensure the experience is successful.

Finally, I would underscore setting KPIs for continuous improvement. The website is one component of our digital strategy, and we have found it is important to ensure all these different pieces fit together. This has been critical in the partnership with Mediacurrent, which our team is approaching in a more holistic way.

Many organizations approach website development as an individual project. Of course, as we migrate to Drupal 8, we have a larger project team than usual dedicated to it. Yet, there is an ongoing process to consistently monitoring KPIs to ensure we are seeing the results we are seeking to achieve versus an approach in which every two years we will review again and may upgrade and rebrand. We are seeking to improve continuously, and I think that has created a better product and experience for our customers, and thus has helped to differentiate the brand.

For KPIs, our team is measuring “stickiness,” i.e., we are reviewing the bounce rate and whether visitors are exploring the site. Our team is focused on the areas that are deemed valuable and to ensure we're continuing to evolve. MagMutual has been experiencing a nationwide expansion, primarily driven by the healthcare consolidation. As we have evolved, this process has helped us to measure how we’re performing in these new areas of expansion and whether we’re providing the right resources.

Through our KPIs, we've been able to measure traction and monitor our expansion as a company. We use Google Analytics and have analytics dashboards integrated for our marketing team to review in real time. In the case of a campaign, our team is able to monitor it in real time and then takes the findings and incorporates them into our Drupal 8 upgrade project to meet our objectives in more effective ways.

Final Thoughts

Graves and her team have provided great insight into how Drupal is a fit for MagMutual’s organization. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog series with Mediacurrent, where we’ll provide CMS comparison information and tools to help insurance providers achieve what MagMutual has established, building for continuous improvement on a platform that supports its business goals and KPIs.  

Featured Resources

View More Resources