Wednesday Sep 02, 2015

6 Sources of Gridlock in Insurance Product Development

Time is money. Benjamin Franklin said it back in 1748 not knowing how relevant that statement would be to insurance companies in the twenty-first century. Rapidly emerging market conditions in the last decade are driving high demand for new insurance products. Today, developing new insurance products is a matter of necessity for corporate survival, yet product development remains at a snail’s pace.

Insurers are well aware of this problem. They’re concerned that they’re not adapting fast enough to changing markets. Around the world, the average time needed to launch a new insurance product from concept to sale ranges from six to twelve months, according to RGA. The longer it takes to get these products out to market, the more revenue losses insurers face.

What’s the root cause of the sluggishness?

Every professional knows all too well the inherent delays coordinating multiple departments within an organization. In insurance, complexity is ingrained in the industry. The process starts with the product development team bringing together people from claims, IT, underwriting, state filings, sales, marketing, and legal. They meet, discuss ideas, and set up action items. They schedule future meetings, share drafts, get input, revise drafts. And the cycle continues for several months. More meetings, more documents, more revisions, and various sign-offs—all before filing to individual departments of insurance via SERFF. After filing, the approval process is at the mercy of each state DOI.

There is no single culprit responsible for the slow pace of product development. However, one thing is for sure: the day-to-day business processes that come as second nature to most of us are contributing to the gridlock.

Here are five ways insurers may unknowingly be slowing down product development:

  1. Creating manual reports with spreadsheets.
    Product development managers rely heavily on spreadsheet reports in order to stay informed, organized, and have a quick reference handy. Many people still rely on Excel spreadsheets to manually track state filings, historical filing data, and DOI forms. Managers typically create manual spreadsheets to track staff productivity.

    Spreadsheets are time-consuming and leave insurers vulnerable to data entry mistakes. Insurers need to avoid manual processes like creating and updating spreadsheets as much as possible, and instead, seek automated solutions with report-generating capabilities.

  2. Using e-mail to collaborate.
    Consider the hundreds of e-mails that insurance staffers exchange while collaborating on the development of a single insurance product:

    “I missed the last conference call. Could we go over the deadlines?”
    “Did legal confirm the status of their approvals?”
    “Marketing didn’t get cc-ed on the last email. Could you resend it?”

    With one central database accessible to all users, insurers can radically improve efficiency and eliminate the need for time-consuming internal correspondence. Lawyers, underwriters, actuaries, and others involved in product development need to be able to log into one place, share information and immediately make it accessible to all, and post messages to other staffers.

  3. Using Microsoft Word.
    Insurance product development is a very document-intensive operation. Documents go through multiple rounds of revision, passing from one department to another. Word has basic track changes functionality, but it’s not the ideal solution for product development. Just as messages need to be stored in a central place accessible to all users, so do all notes, drafts, and revisions.

  4. Researching GIs (general information requirements) by visiting each state DOI website.
    If you’ve bookmarked all the DOI websites for every state and jurisdiction on your browser or listed them in a spreadsheet, you might think you’ve created your own research shortcuts. There are smarter ways to research if you have the right tools. Your tech solution should provide all the information you need in one place.

  5. Having separate storage places for DOI correspondence, completed state filings, filings under development, forms, requirements, and more.
    Again, the importance of a central database cannot be overstated. These documents need to be accessible and searchable, especially for the key players in the product development process. State filing analysts need constant access to filings, and actuaries need access to filing forms and records of historical roadblocks in each state.

  6. Converting to pdf manually.
    In many cases, DOIs require that certain documents be submitted as pdfs. On the surface, creating pdfs might seem to be relatively easy to do with a couple clicks. However, depending on the file you’re working with, you can run into problems in the conversion process such as loss of image quality or complications from hyperlinks, layouts, or certain fonts.

    The ideal tech solution for insurance product development has the ability to not only convert automatically to pdf, but also allow for native Excel format when necessary.

It may be difficult to imagine eliminating the business processes above from your routine, but with the right tech solution, you can radically speed up product development, from the beginning stages all the way through approval.

Oracle Insurance Compliance Tracker, the only third party software integrated with SERFF, was designed specifically for the insurance industry to speed creation and submission of regulatory filings. Insurers who use Oracle Insurance Compliance Tracker have reported huge productivity boosts of up to 50 percent.

If you’re interested to see what Oracle Insurance Compliance Tracker can do for you

For more information on Oracle Insurance Compliance Tracker, visit oracle.com/insurance.

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Tuesday Aug 11, 2015

A Cloud-Based End-to-End Insurance Administration Solution for P&C Insurers

Property and Casualty insurers are embarking on a transformation journey to modernize their core systems in an effort to provide more flexibility, improve speed-to-market for rate changes and new product introductions, and increase revenue growth and profitability. Now is the right time for carriers to position themselves for the long term with technology solutions and capabilities that can be deployed to address today’s challenges and set a foundation for future success.

Oracle and Sunlight Solutions invites you to join us for a live webcast to learn about insurance administration solutions specifically tailored for P&C insurers. The combination of the Sunlight Suite – a flexible, cloud-based system – integrated with Oracle Insurance Insbridge Enterprise Rating and Oracle Documaker, provides end-to-end insurance administration, enterprise rating and rules, and document and forms management capabilities that can help you gain a competitive edge in the market place.  Sunlight Suite is built on open technology and can fit into a carrier’s environment to replace or supplement existing systems.

The webcast will feature:

  • Live product demonstration
  • Discussion on the insurance features offered and unique highlights
  • Exploration on the available deployment options

A Cloud-Based End-to-End Insurance Administration Solution for P&C Insurers
August 26, 2015
1:00 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT
Register today

Wednesday Jun 24, 2015

Grow Large Group Business by Leveraging Modern Sales Tools

Profitable growth remains the key objective for many healthcare payers. However, new healthcare market reforms and increasing competition from plan sponsors and Group carriers are making it harder for payers to become more profitable. Many healthcare payers are now looking for ways to improve their profitability. One way is by increasing productivity through streamlining their sales, installation, enrollment, and renewal processes, particularly in the Large Group line of business.

For many healthcare payers, managing the Large Group sales process is challenging – from opportunity management and group management to configuring the right plan for the group and presenting the proposal to large employer. There are multiple systems throughout this sales process and too often teams must rely on spreadsheets and paper forms and email to keep track. In the current IT environment for many Large Group payers, there is no single sales tool that can help sales people increase their productivity.

What the large group payers need is a modern sales tool that can consolidate the multiple systems that sales reps use on the front end and provide a single rating engine on the back end to provide the best price for any plan combination. Essentially, the large group payers should make their complex product, pricing, and business rules available to Sales in real-time, so the sales rep always have the information they need to quickly and accurately configure, price and quote a deal.

Using a modern sales tool can help sales rep become more productive. The tool will put all of the product, pricing, and bundling rules in the system and make it easy for sales reps to manage the configuration complexity. The sales reps do not need to know the product dependencies, compliance issues and other factors because everything is built into the system. Without many of the manual processes, sales reps will have more time to do what they are supposed to do which is selling the product and closing more deals.

If you are a healthcare payer, you should consider leveraging modern sales tools to optimize your sales process and help your sales reps become more successful. We encourage you to watch this webcast on demand to learn more about Oracle solutions that can help you grow your Large Group business.

For more information on Oracle Insurance Insbridge Enterprise Rating and Oracle CPQ Cloud (Configure, Price, Quote), visit oracle.com/insurance.

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Tuesday Jun 23, 2015

Watch Now: The Changing World of Value Based Payments

The emergence of value-based contracting models represents an evolution in clinical and payment methodologies aimed at creating better quality outcomes, greater provider accountability, and improving cost efficiency.

As a quick introduction to the topic, we’ve created a short video that examines the background and emerging payment models.

In a recent Webcast with FierceHealthPayer, Richard Lieberman, Chief Data Scientist at Mile High Healthcare Analytics and Oracle’s Kathy McCarthy, Director of Sales Consulting, discuss the shift from fee-for-service to value-based payments. Some of the topics discussed are:

  • How the transitions to value-based payments are being accomplished
  • Where are the success stories
  • How the new models of capitation are different from capitation of old
  • Integrating accountability into value-based payment models

Richard and Kathy examine the technology needed to accomplish these payments, what types of systems/models are suited to this new paradigm and how this technology can be delivered to your organization. They also discuss where and how cloud technology can fit into your transition.

For more information on Oracle’s solutions for healthcare payers, visit oracle.com/insurance.

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Thursday Jun 04, 2015

Delivering Best of Breed Solution to Manage Policy Lifecycle

In recent years, we’ve seen increasing interest from small-to-mid-sized carriers in transforming their policy administration systems (PAS). The business case for transformation is clear as leading insurers are already showing the benefits of modern and flexible policy administration systems. PAS transformation simplifies the IT environment by reducing the number of redundant systems and processes as well as reducing overall IT costs. They can also improve market agility by creating a more flexible platform for quickly responding to customer needs and regulatory requirements.

Even though the business case is clear, one of the biggest considerations for PAS transformation is the selection of a technology partner for this transformation journey. Carriers must be aware that selecting a core system ties them to the product vendor for years to come, so picking the right vendor – one that can provide the latest features and technology that can support your specific business goals and optimal business processes – should be the main priority. Carriers should look at vendor’s functionality, advanced features, affordability, usability and architecture in detail and determine if the vendor provides the best solution for each of the policy lifecycle processes.

With the objective of helping small-to-mid-sized carriers reducing the risk and getting the best of breed solution to make them successful in their transformation journey, Oracle is partnering with Sunlight Solutions to deliver best-in-class insurance administration solution for P&C carriers. Sunlight Solutions is a new up and coming company that provides modern policy administration system for P&C market. The joint solution will deliver greater speed-to-market, business agility and lower cost while reducing the risk.

Additionally, Oracle will be exhibiting at the IASA conference in Las Vegas June 7-10th. Please stop by Oracle Booth #440 to learn more about the joint solution. Learn more about other activities at the conference by visiting oracle.com/events.

About

Oracle’s solutions provide the modern, rules-driven flexibility insurers need to support Digital Insurance transformation, simplify their IT environments, and innovate to keep pace with changing demands.

For more information, visit oracle.com/insurance.

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