Wednesday Sep 14, 2011

Why Your Proof-of-Concept Should Be a Proof-of-Capability

Policy administration systems are core to a carrier's operation. Replacing these systems presents more risk than nearly any other IT project. Carriers should carefully weigh the risks against the benefits as they build the business case for embarking on a modernization project.

In a previous Oracle Insurance Blog I highlighted best practices recommended bySecurian Financial Group's Denise Smieja about the company’s successful approach to replacing its legacy policy administration system. Smieja along with Roger Soppe, Oracle Insurance, were among Insurance & Technology magazine’s virtual roundtable of industry experts that recently weighed in on this topic. While Smieja offered insight on criteria carriers should consider when developing a request for proposal, Soppe focused on another critical step in the evaluation process: the proof-of-concept (POC).

In the article, Setting the Stage with a Solid Proof of Concept, Soppe noted that while many insurers are familiar with the idea of a POC, they may skip this important step due to time or budget constraints. He cited how a leading North American life insurance carrier demonstrated the value of a POC in proving the capabilities of the “people, process and technology” of the vendors and systems integrators being evaluated for its policy administration migration project.

“Other carriers can adopt this idea of a ‘proof-of-capability’ in their own policy admin transformation projects,” advised Soppe in the article. “This process reduces risk and helps build buy-in across the organization. This approach can be crucial to receiving a green light -- it is the final validation of all of the research and decision making that the carrier has done to date and sets the stage for success.”

Click here to read more or click here to download the Oracle Insurance strategy brief, “Proof-of-Concept Done Right: Mitigating the Risk of Policy Administration System Migrations.”

You can also learn more about Oracle Insurance and how insurance carriers are leveraging its solutions to adapt to change, better service customers, and better manage their business for compliance and growth at Oracle OpenWorld, next month in San Francisco, Calif.

Helen Pitts is senior product marketing manager for Oracle Insurance's life and annuities solutions.

Monday Sep 12, 2011

Building the Business Case for Policy Administration Replacement

Proof-of-Concept Done Right: Mitigating the Risk of Policy Administration System Migrations

How can insurers build an effective business case for policy administration system replacement? Insurance & Technology magazine recently asked a virtual roundtable of insurance industry experts, including Denise Smieja, Securian Financial Group, and Roger Soppe, Oracle Insurance, to weigh in on this hot topic and share recommended best practices for success.

In discussing Securian Financial Group’s successful policy administration transformation project, Smieja explained that the carrier’s business goals for new product development focused on flexibility and the ability to rapidly develop innovative, market-standard products—capabilities that were lacking in Securian’s previous legacy system.

“One of the critical changes we wanted was a consistent release cycle for new products,” noted Smieja in the article. “We struggled to introduce one product per year—we needed to improve that and be able to quickly launch new products, enhancements and regulatory changes. We are now committed to four product releases (either new products or enhancements) annually.”

Smieja also advised carriers to gather input from various disciplines across the company, including IT, actuarial, new business and in-force administration, when embarking on a request for proposal process. Important factors for consideration when evaluating a policy administration system include usability, technical fit with the corporate infrastructure, and configurability to support unique business rules and processes.

You can learn more about the best practices discussed by Smieja by reading Securian Financial Group Supports Innovation. You also can read the full article in last month’s print edition of Insurance & Technology.

Highlights of the best practices offered by Soppe will be covered in an upcoming Oracle Insurance Blog.

Helen Pitts is senior product marketing manager for Oracle Insurance's life and annuities solutions.

Monday Mar 28, 2011

Game Changer for Insurers: An Adaptive Approach to Core Systems Migration

Improved speed to market, more competitive product offerings, better customer service - these are a few of the advantages that come with replacing an inflexible, aging policy administration system. So why do insurance companies still hesitate to undertake a replacement project and modernize?

One reason is the risk involved in migrating from an old policy administration system to a new one. New ways of thinking about core system migrations, including data conversions, can help insurers reduce this risk and realize the benefits of a modern core system, like Oracle Insurance Policy Administration for Life and Annuity. The concept of "adaptive migration" combines proven data conversion methodologies with an adaptive, highly configurable, rules-driven core system, turning programming code into business rules and inflexible processes into flexible ones.

You can read more about this new approach, and how it can reduce the risk and bring the benefits of migrating to a new policy administration system. Download the newest Oracle Insurance strategy brief "Changing the Rules of the Game: An Adaptive Approach to Core System Migrations" to learn more.

You can learn even more by stopping by Oracle partner's Universal Conversion Technologies' (UCTs') booth at The Life Insurance Conference, April 11-13, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Representatives from both Oracle Insurance and UCT will be on hand to answer your questions and share best practices about adaptive core system migrations.

Not coming to The Life Conference next month?  Stop by and see us during the Life & Annuity sessions at the Core Systems Summit 2011, April 15 in Chicago, or join Oracle Insurance at ACORD LOMA 2011, May 22-24 in San Diego.   Find out more about Oracle Insurance Policy Administration for Life and Annuity and our other solutions for the industry by visiting the Oracle Insurance booth #225 and ACORD LOMA sessions featuring Oracle Insurance executives and our insurance customers.  We'll highlight more about what we have planned at ACORD LOMA this year in an upcoming Oracle Insurance blog. 

Helen Pitts is senior product marketing manager for Oracle Insurance's life and annuities solutions.

Thursday Jan 06, 2011

Fidelity Investments Life Insurance Executive Weighs in on Policy Administration Modernization

James Klauer, vice president of Client Services Technology at Fidelity Investment Life Insurance, weighs in on the rationale and challenges associated with policy administration system replacement in this month's digital issue of Insurance Networking News. 

In "The Policy Administration Replacement Quandary"  Klauer shared the primary business benefit that can be realized by adopting a modern policy administration system--a timely topic given that recent industry analyst surveys indicate policy administration replacement and modernization will continue to be a top priority for insurers this year. 

"Modern policy administration systems are more flexible than systems of the past," Klauer says in the article. " This has allowed us to shorten our delivery time for new products and product changes.  We have also had a greater ability to integrate with other systems and to deliver process efficiencies."

Klauer goes on to advise that insurers ensure they have a solid understanding of the requirements when replacing their legacy policy administration system. "If you can afford the time, take the opportunity to re-engineer your business processes.  We were able to drastically change our death processes, introducing automation and error-proofing."


Click here to read more of Klauer's insights and recommendations for best practices in the publication's "Ask & Answered" column.

You also can learn more the benefits of an adaptive, rules-driven approach to policy administration and how to mitigate risks associated with system replacement by attending the free Oracle Insurance Virtual Summit:  Fueling the Adaptive Insurance Enterprise, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, January 26.   

Insurance Networking News and Oracle Insurance have teamed up to bring you this first-of-its-kind event. This year's theme, "Fueling the Adaptive Insurance Enterprise," will focus on bringing you information about exciting new technology concepts, which can help your company react more quickly to new market opportunities and, ultimately, grow the business. 

Visit virtual booths and chat online with Oracle product specialists, network with other insurers, learn about exciting new product announcements, win prizes, and much more--all without leaving your office.  Be sure and attend the on-demand session, "Adapt, Transform and Grow: Accelerate Speed to Market with Adaptive Insurance Policy Administration," hosted by Kate Fowler, product strategy director for Oracle Insurance Policy Administration for Life and Annuity.

Register Now!

Helen Pitts is senior product marketing manager for Oracle Insurance's life and annuities solutions.

Monday Oct 11, 2010

Transforming Enterprise Content Management through Document Business Intelligence

How can my company become more efficient at managing increasing volumes of content enterprise-wide?  It's a topic I discuss frequently with insurers (and have highlighted in previous Oracle Insurance blogs) - and has become increasingly more important to the industry.

The October digital issue of Insurance and Technology explores the continued explosion of content and its ongoing impact on how carriers do business internally within their own organizations as well as externally with their distribution channels, partners, and insureds. 

The need to more effectively manage content and be better positioned to adapt to shifting market dynamics and regulatory compliance requirements is top of mind for insurers when rationalizing their enterprise document automation and content management capabilities.  This is particularly true as they strive to meet evolving consumer preferences and demands, including improved interactive, real-time communication and servicing capabilities across multiple channels.

"Never have insurers had to communicate via so many diverse channels with such speed, and seldom have they been under such pressure to accomplish these tasks efficiently," notes Insurance and Technology  Executive Editor Anthony O'Donnell in the issue's cover story on page seven.

Seizing the Power of Enterprise Document Automation

My Oracle Insurance colleague James "Jim" Mullarney notes in the article that "the automation of content creation offers insurers the best chance to keep up with an exponential expansion of content resulting from both the changing definition of the document and the proliferation of communication channels.  'The notion of documents has been changing from locked-down PDF to living, breathing organisms adapted to a range of communications platforms.'"

He explains that "more than 80 percent of the content created within the enterprise today is unstructured", with that number "projected to grow at rates ranging from 60 percent to 200 percent."

Mullarney adds that insurers not only need to address the challenges associated with managing large volumes of content.  They also need to address the impact of "changing customer expectations on their ability to filter and package external content. 'Many insurers are trying to allow customers to choose the channels for various kinds of communication, and this can get very onerous to manage...Publishing eight or 10 types of communication becomes very difficult unless you have a single (enterprise document automation or Customer Communications Management) system to manage it.'"

Three Tips for Achieving "Document Intelligence"

He goes on to explain in the "Industry Voice" column on page 14 of this month's digital issue how insurers can maximize the value of their content by running content creation - or document automation - like a manufacturing business.  

Insurers require the ability to measure and improve efficiency, productivity and impact of their document creation and production by leveraging "a combination of BI (business intelligence), next-generation automation, and content management."  In an environment of rapid regulatory change where compliance may come down to changing or removing policy clauses this type of "document intelligence," can dramatically reduce time and cost associated with making changes.

To achieve this goal insurers require improved:

  • Visibility - The ability to mine content, enabled through smart archiving, and analyze in real time thousands of forms, identify key content and understand when and how it is used.  Analytic capabilities integrated into a document automation platform can help identify opportunities to reduce costs, optimize resources and accelerate production.  Ideally these tools empower business users to create and run reports without little or no IT intervention.
  • Automation - A flexible, end-to-end enterprise document automation platform that optimizes the production and delivery of high volumes of individualized documents through multiple channels - and that can scale support new channels and content streams.
  • Control - A single point of management via dashboards for greater visibility into the entire document enterprise.  Insurers can troubleshoot problems to avoid delays in document production and make changes to better utilize resources or address changing business priorities at the push of a button.

Want to learn more? 

Click here read to both articles in this month's digital issue of Insurance and Technology or go directly to Business Intelligence Brings Potential for Managing Content Enterprise-Wide.

Helen Pitts is senior product marketing manager for Oracle Insurance's life and annuities and enterprise document automation solutions.

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