Wednesday Nov 11, 2015

Online Reviews: What They Reveal about Insurance Customer Expectations and Why Insurers Need to Listen

thumbs-up-small Think about the last gadget you bought or a restaurant you recently tried for the first time. Chances are, you probably read online reviews and considered a few different options before making your decision.

We all tend to do greater due diligence in order to make smart purchasing decisions—not only because we can, but because we feel like we should. In the post-recession economy, we’re especially conscious that every time we spend money, we’re taking a risk on a product or service. We’re more protective of our resources and skeptical of the claims we see in ads.

People shopping for insurance are no different. That’s why online reviews have a powerful impact on how we select insurance providers. Four out of ten insurance customers read online reviews and base their insurance buying decisions on them, according to Accenture.

If you work in insurance—and you most likely do if you’re reading the Oracle Insurance Blog—you probably don’t have time to comb through insurance review sites. So I decided to explore them for you. I poked around multiple websites with insurance industry reviews like Consumer Affairs, J.D. Power and Associates, and, some of which feature reviews written by experts and customers. Not surprisingly, customers often use these sites to vent about their insurers unwilling to repair damages, raising premiums, or taking too long to respond.

Read the full blog...

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Wednesday Oct 21, 2015

Using IT to Keep Pace with Rapid Growth of Health Plans in Latin America

Healthcare in Latin America is undergoing significant change. Many factors are influencing these changes. Age, chronic disease and increasing wealth in some countries are creating a new demand for higher quality services. Governments are increasing spending, and local and multinational private sector players are investing heavily.

Kathy McCarthy, Director of Sales Consulting for Oracle Health Insurance, discusses the topic in today's post.

Legacy IT systems that resist change make it difficult for health plans to capitalize on new opportunities. Custom development is a costly and cumbersome approach in a business where competitors change tactics overnight. Health plans require greater agility to address their specific business requirements and adapt in real time to ever-shifting market conditions.

Latin American health plans need flexibility as a central IT platform design component. They require applications that support core business processes where people may choose a private health plan as a supplement to, or in lieu of, public insurance – ultimately supporting business innovation and rapid growth.

Factors such as budding economies, up-and-coming middle class, and progressive policies toward managed care make it hard for public systems to keep pace. As the population becomes wealthier due to economic growth, more Latin Americans will choose to enter a private healthcare system.

The influx into the private healthcare system opens significant opportunity, and it also presents several challenges. Health plans must deal with regulatory and contractual complexities that are unique to the sector, such as waiting period requirements, co-pays, and the negotiation of in-network versus out-of-network agreements. They must also have the scalability required to process a high volume of claims.

Health Plans will be well-served in the short- and long-term by moving forward with their own game plans for success in a new era of healthcare finance and coverage. There are several strategies that health plans can put into action today that will serve them well – now and in the future – regardless of how the health plan market continues to evolve.

Plans need to consider that:

  • Cost efficiency is paramount. Most insurers are expecting to reduce the costs incurred for healthcare with technology.
  • Systems need to be agile and flexible to handle legislative changes and market demands.
  • Security and privacy of health data is an integral element of any system.
  • Data becomes critical to manage costs and outcomes. There must be access to data and the ability to analyze and manage that data.

If you are an insurer that is looking to expand into Latin America market or currently competing in the health insurance market in Latin America then you should download the new “Health Insurance in Latin America” white paper to learn some of the ways to build competitive differentiation to be successful in this market.

  • Download the new white paper in English
  • Download the new white paper in Spanish

For more information on Oracle Health Insurance, visit

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Monday Sep 21, 2015

Webcast en vivo - Aprovechando las mejores prácticas tecnológicas en el mercado de seguros de vida de América Latina

Regístrese al Webcast hoy. Español | English
7 de Octubre, 2015
1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT

Gracias a la tendencia consistente de reducción de pobreza, contracción de tasas de desempleo y crecimiento poblacional, el mercado de América Latina se ha convertido en uno de los más atractivos a nivel mundial para seguros de vida, salud y pensiones. Viendo lo atractivo de este mercado, muchas compañías aseguradoras están orientando sus planes de expansión hacia América Latina. Con el incremento de la competencia entre aseguradoras locales e internacionales, se espera que el crecimiento rentable constituya un reto en algún punto en el futuro.

Desafortunadamente, muchos sistemas legados de administración de pólizas carecen de la flexibilidad que les permita adaptarse a la dinámica de cambio constante del mercado. Es esencial entonces, para los aseguradores en mercados emergentes como América Latina, aprovechar las nuevas tecnologías invirtiendo en la modernización de sus sistemas de Administración de Pólizas.

Únase a nosotros en un webcast en vivo donde exploraremos como los aseguradores pueden:

  • Incrementar la eficiencia para mejorar sus servicios, manteniendo los costos bajo control
  • Lanzar nuevos e innovadores productos reduciendo el tiempo de puesta en mercado
  • Sacar provecho de las oportunidades de crecimiento potencial de los productos de vida y pensiones

En este webcast, ilustraremos como FONASA llevó a cabo este recorrido de transformación. FONASA es la entidad financiera encargada de recolectar, administrar y distribuir los fondos del estado destinados a la salud en Chile, proporcionando cobertura desde 1979 a más del 75% de la población chilena. Discutiremos los retos al competir en el mercado usando sistemas legados y las necesidades que los llevaron a adoptar un sistema basado en reglas con el fin de brindar servicios nuevos e innovadores de manera eficiente.

Regístrese al Webcast hoy. Español | English

Live Webcast - Leveraging Best Practices in Technology in the Latin America Life Insurance Market

Register for the webcast today. English | Español
October 7, 2015
1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT
NOTE: Webcast will be conducted in Spanish.

With the continued long-term trend of reduced poverty, shrinking unemployment rates and population growth, the Latin America market has become one of the most attractive markets in the world for life, health and annuity products.  Because of the attractiveness of the market, many insurers are setting their sights on expanding into the Latin America market. With increasing competition from local players and international insurers, it is expected that growing profitability will be a challenge at some point in the future.

Unfortunately, many legacy policy administration systems are largely inflexible and unable to adapt to constantly changing market dynamics. Leveraging modern technology such as investing in a modern Policy Administration System has become essential for insurers in emerging markets such as Latin America.

Join us for a live webcast where we explore how insurers can:

  • Increase efficiencies to improve service, while controlling costs
  • Improve speed-to-market by launching new and innovative products
  • Take advantage of growth potential for life and annuity products

In this webcast, we will highlight FONASA’s transformation journey. FONASA is the financial entity entrusted to collect, manage and distribute state funds for health in Chile, providing coverage since 1979 to more than 75% of the Chilean population. We will discuss their challenges in competing in the market using legacy systems and how they decided to move to rules-based system in order to deliver new and innovative services faster.

Register for the webcast today. English | Español
NOTE: Webcast will be conducted in Spanish.

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

Don’t forget to keep up with us year-round:


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


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