Session Update from IASA 2010
By Roger Soppe on Jun 09, 2010
Below: Panelists discuss how replacing a legacy system with a more modern policy administration system can deliver agility and growth during the IASA session, "Achieving Business Agility and Promoting Growth with a Modern Policy Administration System." Pictured from the left: Steve Forte from OneShield, Roger Soppe of Oracle Insurance, Mike Sciole of IFG Companies, and Tom Kristensen, senior vice president at Marsh US Consumer. Photo courtesy of Universal Image.
This week was the 82nd Annual IASA Educational Conference & Business Show held in Grapevine, Texas. While attending the conference, I had the pleasure of serving as a panelist in one of many of the outstanding sessions conducted this year. The session - entitled "Achieving Business Agility and Promoting Growth with a Modern Policy Administration System" - included industry experts Steve Forte from OneShield, Mike Sciole of IFG Companies, and Tom Kristensen, senior vice president at Marsh US Consumer.
The session was conducted as a panel discussion and focused on how insurers can leverage best practices to mitigate risk while enabling rapid product innovation through a modern policy administration system. The panelists offered insight into business and technical challenges for both Life & Annuity and Property & Casualty carriers. The session had three primary learning objectives:
- Identifying how replacing a legacy system with a more modern policy administration solution can deliver agility and growth
- Identifying how processes and system should be re-engineered or replaced in order to improve speed-to-market and product support
- Uncovering how to leverage best practices to mitigate risk during a migration to a new platform
Tom Kristensen, who is an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience, was able was able to offer a unique perspective as a business process outsourcer (BPO). Marsh US Consumer is currently implementing both the Oracle Insurance Policy Administration solution and the Oracle Revenue Management and Billing platform while at the same time implementing a new BPO customer.
Tom offered insight on the need to replace their aging systems and Marsh's ability to drive new products and processes with a modern solution. As a best practice, their current project has empowered their business users to play a major role in both the requirements gathering and configuration phases. Tom stated that working with a modern solution has also enabled his organization to use a more agile implementation methodology and get hands-on experience with the software earlier in the project. He also indicated that Marsh was encouraged by how quickly it will be able to implement new products, which is another major advantage of a modern rules-based system.
One of the more interesting issues was raised by an audience member who asked, "With all the vendor solutions available in North American and across Europe, what is going to make some of them more successful than others and help ensure their long term success?" Panelist Mike Sciole, IFG Companies suggested that carriers do their due diligence and follow a structured evaluation process focusing on vendors who demonstrate they have the "cash to invest in long term R&D" and evaluate audited annual statements for verification. Other panelists suggested that the vendor space will continue to evolve and those with a strong strategy focused on the insurance industry and a solid roadmap will likely separate themselves from the rest.
The session concluded with the panelists offering advice about not being afraid to evaluate new modern systems. While migrating to a new platform can be challenging and is typically only undertaken every 15+ years by carriers, the ability to rapidly deploy and manage new products, create consistent processes to better service customers, and the ability to manage their business more effectively, transparently and securely are well worth the effort.
Roger A.Soppe, CLU, LUTCF, is the Senior Director of Insurance Strategy, Oracle Insurance.