Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: The Insurance Industry’s Dream

IASA ConferenceOn June 3rd, I saw the Gaylord Resort Centre in Washington D.C. become the hub of C level executives and managers of insurance carriers for the IASA 2013 Conference.  Insurance Accounting/Regulation and Technology sessions took the focus, but there were plenty of tertiary sessions for career development, which complemented the overall strong networking side of the conference.  As an exhibitor, Oracle, along with several hundred other product providers, welcomed the opportunity to display and demonstrate our solutions and we were encouraged by hustle and bustle of the exhibition floor. 

The IASA organizers had pre-arranged fast track tours whereby interested conference delegates could sign up for a series of like-themed presentations from Vendors, giving them a level of 'Speed Dating' introductions to possible solutions and services.  Oracle participated in a number of these, which were very well subscribed.  Clearly, the conference had a strong business focus; however, attendees saw technology as a key enabler to get their processes done smarter, faster and cheaper.  As we navigated through the exhibition, it became clear from the inquiries that came to us that insurance carriers are gravitating to a number of focus areas:

  • Navigating the maze of upcoming regulatory reporting changes.
For US carriers with European holdings, Solvency II carries a myriad of rules and reporting requirements. Alignment across the globe of the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) processes brings to the fore the National Insurance of Insurance commissioners' (NAIC) recent guidance manual publication.
  • Doing more with less and to certainly expect more from technology for less dollars.
The overall cost of IT, in particular hardware, has dropped in real terms (though the appetite for more has risen: more CPU, more RAM, more storage), but software has seen less change. Clearly, customers expect either to pay less or get a lot more from their software solutions for the same buck.
  • Doing things smarter – A recognition that with the advance of technology to stand still no longer means you are technically going backwards.
Technology and, in particular technology interactions with human business processes, has undergone incredible change over the past 5 years. Consumer usage (iPhones, etc.) has been at the forefront, but now at the Enterprise level ever more effective technology exploitation is beginning to take place.
  • That data and, in particular gleaning knowledge from data, is refining and improving business processes. 
Organizations are now consuming more data than ever before, and it is set to grow exponentially for some time to come.  Amassing large volumes of data is one thing, but effectively analyzing that data is another.  It is the results of such analysis that leads to improvements both in terms of insurance product offerings and the processes to support them.
  • Regulatory Compliance, damned if you do and damned if you don’t!
Clearly, around the globe at lot is changing from a regulatory perspective and it is evident that in terms of regulatory requirements, whilst there is a greater convergence across jurisdictions bringing uniformity, there is also a lot of work to be done in the next 5 years. Just like the big data, hidden behind effective regulatory compliance there often lies golden nuggets that can give competitive advantages.

From Oracle's perspective, our Rating Engine, Billing, Document Management and Insurance Analytics solutions on display served to strike up good conversations and, as is always the case at conferences, it was a great opportunity to meet and speak with existing Oracle customers that we might not have otherwise caught up with for a while.

Fortunately, I was able to catch up on a few sessions at the close of the Exhibition.  The speaker quality was high and the audience asked challenging, but pertinent, questions.  During Dr. Jackie Freiberg’s keynote “Bye Bye Business as Usual,” the author discussed 8 strategies to help leaders create a culture where teams consistently deliver innovative ideas by disrupting the status quo.  The very first strategy: Get wired for innovation.  Freiberg admitted that folks in the insurance and financial services industry understand and know innovation is important, but oftentimes they are slow adopters.  Today, technology and innovation go hand in hand.

In speaking to delegates during and after the conference, a high degree of satisfaction could be measured from their positive comments of speaker sessions and the exhibitors. I suspect many will be back in 2014 with Indianapolis as the conference location.

Did you attend the IASA Conference in Washington D.C.?  If so, I would love to hear your comments.

Andrew Collins is the Director, Solvency II of Oracle Financial Services. He can be reached at andrew.collins AT oracle.com.

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