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Insurer Tames Email Search

Last year, the Transatlantic Reinsurance Company (TRC) (NYSE: TRH) IT staff spent nearly as much time on email queries as its legal team did.

Without a dedicated email search and indexing product, TRC found searches could take days for a single query. "It was a very cumbersome procedure," says IT VP Socrates Pichardo. "We had to spell out a query, test it, and make sure it produced the hits we were looking for. [Results] were full of duplications and irrelevancies... It took weeks to go through it all."

To make matters worse, the New York-based insurance company was bombarded with requests with regulators, litigators, and internal departments such as human resources -- all frequently needing information. One query returned 11,000 messages for the legal department to go through, and close to half of them were duplicates.

At the end of last year, TRC went looking for a better system. Pichardo says his first choice was a product that could search and archive email. He looked at Symantec Enterprise Vault, EMC EmailXtender, and IBM Storage Archive Manager, but found their search features "rudimentary." (See Symantec Upgrades Vault and EMC Offers Email Services.)

"Their emphasis is on archiving, not retrieving or searching," Pichardo says. "They do a good job of managing storage growth and handling ageing of emails, but their search capabilities are on the level of Outlook search at best. When we questioned them they said, 'We're not looking to expand our email search capability.'"

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