Customer Story: Columbia Insurance Group


Columbia Insurance Group transitioned from its legacy software vendor to Gain Compliance in 2021 for their three entities and their Combined filings. In this Customer Story, you will learn how Gain’s software shortened the learning curve with the Annual Statement process for a newly-minted stat accountant, as well as what a modern software filing experience is like for those with deep knowledge and industry experience.  

Key Quote:

“Gain reduced the learning curve for [a new team member] by being so easy to use.”

Kelly Klug, CFO


When Elise Hopkins joined the team at Columbia Insurance Group as a Financial Analyst, she learned that she would be contributing to the company’s Statutory Financial Statements. As a CPA with a background in manufacturing, this was an entirely new domain for Elise. She described her initial trepidation as she ventured out of her GAAP world:

“It was the one part of the job I didn’t feel secure about. I know accounting, so that’s familiar, but statutory accounting was new to me. I started in August, and shortly after we had a training session with Gain Compliance to learn about the software and most of it went over my head because I wasn’t familiar with statutory accounting or the NAIC filings or the insurance industry in general.”

At that point, she took matters into her own hands. “After that meeting, I asked Pam [Root, Columbia’s Controller] if she could make a list of what pages I would own,” she explained, “and I would look at last year’s statements to see if I could find where the numbers were coming from.”

The Financial Analyst Perspective: 

Gain’s intuitive, user-friendly interface made it easy for Elise to undertake a self-guided tour of the underlying data flow within the statements:

“I started looking at last year’s statement and I liked how in Gain I could see where data is coming from to understand what I needed to input where. I would see a number that I thought I had to input, but it’s grayed out because it’s being calculated, it’s pulling from somewhere else. I could click on that number and see where it was pulling from and go to that page to get to the original source number and understand how that fed over to the original page I was looking at. This helped me a lot to get a sense for how the statements were compiled. That’s what I use it a lot for, figuring out where numbers come from and understanding the source.”

While Elise quickly mastered how the data flowed within the statements, she said that learning how to interpret the NAIC guidance took longer. “At first, I leaned on Pam a lot just because reading the guidance didn’t make a lot of sense to me due to my lack of experience in the insurance industry.” She said, “Now, having been here two years, I’ve been through the annual statement twice. I’m more comfortable with reading and understanding the guidance and will look through the instructions on my own or email our contacts at Gain about it. I might go to Pam to double check that she’s seeing it the same way and that allows me to move forward knowing we’re on the same page.”

“You know how the NAIC is always changing things…Gain is on top of those changes and letting us know about them. Knowing that they changed how this is disclosed, or that they added another column or row to a page, it’s very helpful.”

The Controller Perspective: 

In contrast with Elise, Pam Root had extensive experience with statutory statements at the time of transition to Gain Compliance.  In her position as Controller of Columbia Insurance Group, she described the benefits of Gain’s software in educating a new team member on the filings:

“The software is very user-friendly and easy to learn.  You do not have to spend a sizable amount of time shadowing a new person, not even someone completely new to statutory filings, to get them started with the software successfully.  There’s direct links to the applicable Annual & Quarterly NAIC instructions included in each page, and extra information listed from Gain Compliance which can be very helpful, especially within the Notes to the Financial Statements.”

As a long-time filer with a legacy software provider, Pam offered a high-level assessment of that experience, citing the Notes section to illustrate Gain’s benefits:

“We used our prior software provider for over 15 years.  The software worked fine, it did its job, and we were able to complete & file our Quarterly & Annual Statements in a timely manner.  However, the software did not contain any extra bells and whistles and especially did not include an efficient way to complete the Footnotes within that system.  We used Microsoft Word to complete the Footnotes and then imported the Word file into this legacy software.  

The Footnote process was time-consuming and downright painful for us.  It was very difficult to try to keep up with all the Footnote changes by studying the NAIC Instructions.  Now, Gain Compliance does the majority of that for us.  The Gain Compliance software points out any changes needed within the Footnotes, updates the format of the notes when necessary, and gives us a narrative of the new guidance within the footnote itself.  This is such a great help to us, and I can’t imagine not having this extra instruction and assistance.  We have limited staff and limited time, so we are extremely glad not to have to worry quite so much about Footnotes.” 

Pam stressed how Gain improved outcomes, both through process efficiencies as well as improved data quality. 

The CFO Perspective: 

Kelly Klug recounted how Gain’s cloud-based solution streamlined review and collaboration: “As CFO, I have access to the entire statement, so I have visibility that I did not have with our previous vendor,” he related. “I populate Schedule P and the information within a handful of the Notes, along with assisting as needed with various Pages 2, 3, and 4 data points. Of particular use to me is the Schedules P Excel template that Gain provides. We populate the template with current year loss data and upload it, and the software calculates everything else. This has proven to be a huge efficiency gain as compared to the legacy program that we were using before. Gain is a state of the art platform that is very easy to use.”

Kelly recounted the IASA Midwest Spring Conference this year, remembering how he used to have to sit through the sessions on the NAIC changes in past conferences, and then realizing the educational value that Gain’s modern solution provides. “Gain keeps track of those changes,” he said, “and we know Gain has tested how the software manages those changes, so we appreciate having a trusted partner when it comes to that.”

Kelly recalled Elise Hopkins’s experience in working on the Annual Statement as a new hire working on the statement. “Gain reduced the learning curve for her by being so easy to use,” he said. “And support has always been very responsive, so that helped her get up to speed as well.”


Historically, the process for a GAAP accountant to become a contributing member of a statutory financial reporting team has been made unnecessarily difficult by antiquated software tools. Yes, the domain is rich and can be complicated, but software should be an aid in progressing up the learning curve, not a hindrance.

Gain Compliance, as the first new vendor approved by the NAIC since 2001, delivers on this promise. 

Gain’s software features a thoughtfully-designed and intuitive interface that proves incredibly valuable for understanding how the data flows within and across statements, how cross-checks work and how errors can be resolved, and what areas of the statement are impacted by NAIC updates. 

Learn more about how Gain has improved outcomes for financial reporting teams for other carriers.