Capmation helps Compeer Financial develop HailPro
Full Stack Development
Compeer Financial is a member-owned, Farm Credit cooperative supporting agriculture and rural communities. It provides loans, leases, risk management and additional financial services in the upper Midwest to approximately 73,600 member-owners with a focus on enriching rural America.
Compeer acts as a broker for seven Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs). Every year, all seven AIPs send Compeer new crop hail rates in extremely long and complicated Excel sheets and PDFs — sometimes thousands of rows long. The company found itself overwhelmed and determined that it needed to find an alternative way to process and distribute this data.
Each of the seven AIPs operates in several states and sent separate data files for each state. Each AIP also used their own formatting which led to significant confusion when trying to read, condense, and standardize the files. Compeer’s goal was to provide all of the data in a consistent format that allowed its agents to compare and evaluate product decisions that best align with the goals of its clients.
In addition, because they work with rural agricultural communities, Compeer’s insurance officers spend a great deal of their time in the field with limited WiFi and phone reception. They needed an easy way to access information when WiFi wasn’t accessible.
“We were looking for a better tool that was more user-friendly for our sales teams and clients,” said Thad Stauffer, Director of Insurance Strategies at Compeer. “We needed a way to take all the data we were getting from our insurance companies and just inject it into the system. We chose to work with Capmation because of the time they spent with us upfront understanding what we needed and why we needed it.”
The challenge was daunting. Both Compeer and Capmation knew managing and standardizing that amount of data wasn’t going to be easy. Working closely through Capmation’s Agile and collaborative process, they set out to create a new progressive web app (PWA) uniquely suited to Compeer’s requirements.
After laying out the ground rules surrounding the project, the Capmation team worked closely with Compeer to develop a minimum viable product, or MVP. Capmation knew they were facing a tight turnaround and wanted to ensure Compeer had a functional application by its internal deadline with the option to add additional features later.
Sprints 1 and 2 were largely dedicated to initial setup and a series of one-hour knowledge transfer sessions with Compeer. These sessions were vital to communication and alignment; they ensured Capmation understood Compeer’s data and that Compeer kept its hands in the project.
“It was important that we talk through it in detail,” said Thad. “We had daily stand ups and end-of-sprint demos because they follow the Agile methodology. Dave [Ward, CEO and Founder of Capmation] says quite often that it’s about doing the right things for the right reasons. That was helpful in driving the process.”
This collaboration made smooth progress of Sprints 3 through 8. There were small delays in data population due to the size and lack of standardization, but by the end of Sprint 7, Capmation had caught up to the original timeline.
Collaboration on both sides was key to establishing an effective partnership. “Compeer was extremely accommodating and actively participated in every standup when we had questions,” explained Dave. “They were also an active participant in the testing process. They constantly gave us feedback and that led to a successful solution.”
Through close client work and additional collaboration with the Compeer business technology department, Capmation worked quickly to create a new, game-changing platform.
After 8 sprints, Capmation and Compeer successfully engineered the Phase One version of HailPro, a web-browser-based application with the ability to function offline. HailPro is a user-friendly, highly-scalable solution that will give Compeer the ability to expand into new states and partner with new AIPs. Compeer’s team will also be able to add new rates and update HailPro without needing to outsource its IT efforts.
“Phase one was a huge success,” said Thad. “There are still a few things coming up because of the sheer amount of the data, but our agents are very happy. Phase Two will build the full data uploader and Phase Three will add specific functionalities for our agents.”
Overall, both Capmation and Compeer view the project not only as an individual win, but as the seed of a blossoming partnership.
“One of our biggest successes of this process was the relationship that we built with Capmation as a partner — not only for this product, but for future projects as well,” explained Thad, “With a lot of companies you work with, it’s, ‘we’re going to have a quick meeting about these two things and then we’re moving on.’ With Capmation, it’s, ‘Let’s sit down and have a conversation. Let’s make sure this is good for everyone involved.’ Every project has problems, but Dave and Capmation were always ready to solve them.”
Capmation Software Engineer, Ricardo Muriel, echoed Thad’s thoughts on the quality of the partnership.
“Strong collaboration with the Compeer team has been key for developing HailPro into the tool it is now. Thad and his team continue to do an exceptional job providing us with the insight we need to work with the data as we moved forward. Partnering with Compeer has been a great experience and everyone on the Capmation team is excited to continue keep evolving this project and our work together,” said Ricardo.
- Interactive software lets users easily compare rates and large amounts of standardized data within a webpage – reducing the confusion of overly-long Excel files.
- Mobile access allows agents to use the software offline while out in the field with clients in low or no-reception areas.
- A strong first development phase created a solid foundation for future expansions and project partnerships.