Friday Sep 16, 2011

Core Systems Modernization: Still a Top IT Priority for Insurers in Coming Decade?

Carrie Burns, editor of Insurance Networking News , wrote an interesting article this week highlighting Celent’s new report, “Reviving the Insurance Core Systems Business Case.”

 In “Core Systems Modernization a Concern for the Next Decade,” Burns notes that insurance technology experts have been discussing core systems modernization for the past decade—and based on Celent's research serious legacy modernization and transformation “will continue to be on insurers’ priority lists for the next decade.”

According to the article, the move towards action is a result of “more than just lack of functionality in legacy systems or the inability to quickly bring about organic growth by developing new products and markets. Difficulties in hiring qualified IT staff with the necessary skills to support legacy platforms are real, and most insurers expect this issue to get worse. Ultimately, Celent says, the business case for legacy modernization should support incremental improvements, which are realized as hard benefits, but also enable the strategic flexibility that will allow insurers to compete more effectively. 

“Some insurers know this and are moving forward, converting to modern approaches and languages, bringing new functionality online and enabling quick product introductions and organic growth.” Click here to read the full article. 

You also can learn more about how insurance carriers are modernizing their IT infrastructures with Oracle’s policy administration, revenue management and billing and other adaptive insurance solutions to better support their business during Oracle OpenWorld next month in San Francisco, Calif.  

The insurers I’ve spoken with who are already registered are looking forward to several key insurance-track sessions.  This includes the insurance keynote session “Make Your Next Move Count:  Priorities and Choices in Insurance Management” featuring Shohreh Abedi, CIO of Farmers Insurance, and Christopher Eberly, Distributor Services, Head of IT for ING.  Both will be joined for what promises to be a compelling and lively panel discussion by James Dewaker, Cognizant, and Oracle Insurance executives Don Russo and Chuck Johnston.  Click here to learn more or register for Oracle OpenWorld. 

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














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.

Wednesday Jul 20, 2011

Oracle Rated “Positive” in Gartner MarketScope for North American Life Insurance Policy Administration Vendors in 2011

Oracle has received a “Positive” rating in the “MarketScope for   North American Life Insurance Policy Administration Vendors,” research published by Gartner, Inc., June 15.  Oracle received the “Positive” rating in evaluation of Oracle Insurance Policy Administration for Life and Annuity .

According to the research—authored by Steven Leigh, a Gartner principal research analyst in the Insurance Industry Advisory Services—business drivers, such as system consolidation, legacy replacement and business growth, will continue to increase system purchases during the next 12 months.  Gartner expects life insurers to continue to pursue new policy administration systems as the business drivers continue to accelerate. North American life insurers are continuing to consolidate existing policy administration systems, reduce their dependence and risks associated with legacy systems, and find solutions that will increase flexibility within their IT departments.

Oracle was rated with 14 other providers of life insurance policy administration systems. Gartner’s MarketScope provides a comparative evaluation of life insurance and annuity systems based on four major criteria: market understanding, offering/product strategy, product and services, and overall viability.

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

The MarketScope is copyrighted 2011 by Gartner, Inc. and is cited with permission. The MarketScope is an evaluation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner's analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the MarketScope, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest rating. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Friday Jun 24, 2011

Unlocking High Performance with Policy Administration Replacement

It is clear the insurance industry is undergoing significant changes as it consolidates and prepares for growth. The increasing focus on customer centricity, enhanced and speedier product development capabilities, and compliance with regulatory changes has forced companies to rethink well-entrenched policy administration processes.

In previous Oracle Insurance blogs I’ve highlighted industry research pointing to policy administration replacement as a top IT priority for carriers. It is predicted that by 2013, the global IT spend on policy administration alone is likely to be almost 22 percentage of the total insurance IT spend.

To achieve growth, insurers are adopting new pricing models, enhancing distribution reach, and quickly launching new products and services—all of which depend on agile and effective policy administration processes and technologies.

Next month speakers from Oracle Insurance and Capgemini Financial Services will discuss how insurers can competitively drive high performance through policy administration replacement during a free, one-hour webcast hosted by LOMA. Roger Soppe, Oracle senior director, Insurance Strategy, together with Capgemini’s Lars Ernsting, leader, Life & Pensions COE, and Scott Mampre, vice president, Insurance, will be the speakers. Specifically, they’ll be highlighting:

  • How replacing a legacy policy administration system with a modern, flexible platform optimizes IT and operations costs, creates consistent processes and eliminates resource redundancies
  • How selecting the right partner with the best blend of technology, operational, and consulting capabilities, is an important pre-requisite to unlock high performance from policy administration transformation to achieve product, operational, and cost leadership
  • The value of outsourcing closed block operations

We look forward to your participation on Thursday, July 14, 11:00 a.m. ET. Please register now.

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


Oracle's flexible solutions can help insurers navigate the change necessary to meet today’s challenges and have the business agility to be prepared for the future.

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