2017 has been a heady year for insurance technology. The widespread embrace of new digital experience solutions, the explosion of interest in AI, and the rapid absorption of new insurtech by mainstream insurers have helped provide extra momentum. It has brought into sharp relief the inextricable relationship between systems of record and systems of engagement and the need for platforms that foster that relationship. Creating just such a platform has been at the heart of EIS Group’s technology approach. For this reason, it is hugely gratifying to find ourselves recognized as a Visionary in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for P&C Core Platforms, North America”*, which is “an update of the ‘Magic Quadrant for Property and Casualty Insurance Policy Management Modules, North America’ published in January 2016."
Few would dispute that in the long history of insurance there has been a disruption in the fundamental process around how carriers acquire, service and maintain their client base that comes anywhere close to the scale we are experiencing today. Insurer business units and their colleagues in IT operations and system development need ways to respond to the challenge. None wish to be caught holding stone chisels in a digital world.
DevOps and the cloud are powering change and delivering business value to insurers, as CSAA Insurance Group discovered via an automated testing environment upgrade and an AWS migration
The value of the cloud means different things to different people. Security, scalability, and rapid provisioning of infrastructure are often mentioned and understood. And then there is software development and IT operations. The mashup of both is called DevOps and it is changing the speed to value equation of technology initiatives and is itself powering cloud adoption. For insurers faced with product complexity and managing large transformations, cloud-based DevOps offers tantalizingly tangible speed to value. And panelists in a session at the IASA 2017 conference explained how it all works and provided a stellar instance of where one insurer realized tremendous value.
Forget “15 minutes could save you 15% on car insurance.” This popular insurance advertising meme makes me want to ask wouldn’t your customers prefer to save not only more time and money, but the effort also? This is precisely the new value that is being achieved with new digital engagement technologies, and customers like it.
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits insurers. The small business market is often viewed as an opportunity attractive to growth-minded insurers because the focus of the majority of carriers is on the larger, highly-competitive end of the market.
Think you have heard all you need to know about the benefits of cloud deployment of enterprise solutions? Get ready for more because cloud is finally in season and bearing good fruit for insurers. The latest news is Amazon Web Services (AWS) announcing its financial services competency program to the marketplace, indicating a strong focus by one of the largest cloud providers on an important vertical. EIS is pleased to have been a launch partner for the initiative. So what is the significance of the AWS move? Industry observers were quick to weigh in on how it influences insurers’ choices and approaches for core systems in the cloud.
A recent announcement from Liberty Mutual shared with the industry how they leveraged our EIS Suite™ software and the power of the AWS cloud to create a new, single cloud-based platform for their benefits business unit. The implementation timeline was very aggressive and called for an accelerated schedule of getting from scope to live in under seven months. The implementation team creditably accomplished the goal and they did so by following modern software delivery practices.
The tech talent battle is waging and at this point insurers are not faring well. The competition is stiff across all sectors for much in demand skill-sets needed for success in the digital age. The problem for insurers is part perception, part reality. Insurance is not on the radar of millennials as an exciting career, and many insurers are still transitioning from a legacy technology. Where is the cool stuff that fresh and smart tech talent wants to work with? Insurers will need to scrutinize their technology choices and strategies if they want to attract critical talent to scaffold the next century of insurance.
“Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?” asks the popular nursery rhyme. While it's hardly surprising that Google is poised to pilot its auto insurance comparison shopping site in Q1, given the hints and speculation, it's still an ominous portent. Forrester analyst Ellen Carney describes this development as having “big implications for insurers.” However, the question this news asks insurers might be better framed as “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf pack?” For as big as Google is, it is not a lone wolf.
The overarching threat for insurers is disruption of the prevailing distribution ecosystem by new entrants. Speculation about other entrants includes Amazon and Apple, but a host of interested companies—some already active, such as Overstock and Walmart—when considered together have the power to change insurance distribution. Distribution is currently a crowded space of agents, brokers, aggregators, banks, retailers, exchanges, and other parties. A recent Accenture Global Research study quantified the threat as two-thirds (67 percent) of insurance customers who would consider purchasing insurance products from organizations other than insurers, including 23 percent who would consider buying from online service providers such as Google and Amazon.
Carriers competing in the employee benefits space have long recognized the benefits of aligning to their distribution partnerships. In fact, they did this extremely well for the past 30 years as carriers custom built their own core systems based on the products that they sold, to the markets they sold them and the channels they sold them through. It was a comfortable silo and it worked, until...