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 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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