Most life insurance companies have spent decades and millions of dollars maintaining their aging policy administration systems. But their work has been only partly successful. Although it might be acceptable to maintain a closed block of business on a legacy system, new business should be processed on a platform that supports today’s breed of customers and products—a platform that is adaptable and can keep up with the blistering pace of 21st century commerce.

Success factors for modernization

When it comes to modernization CIOs have several goals in mind: eliminate business and IT silos, reduce complexity and deliver a world-class customer experience. Based on our experience, we see four success factors that are especially important for meeting these goals:

  1. Flexibility through a mobile-first strategy. Traditionally, companies built systems for a desktop and only later considered mobile requirements. Today, the goal is “build once, use many times.” Off-the-shelf GUI infrastructures make it easier to create systems that are responsive and can be displayed on multiple devices.
  2. Smart applications. Embedding intelligence into applications is now critical—automated applications that offer straight-through processing and are driven by analytics and self-governance.
  3. Strategic alliances. To defend and grow market position and support multiple distribution channels, new dimensions of application connectivity are essential. It’s important to open up and interface with business partner and customer ecosystems.
  4. A world-class customer experience. Delivering a compelling and satisfying customer experience is a crucial differentiator as carriers consider policy administration systems. The focus needs to be on building integrated solutions that create personalized, multi-channel customer experiences at a reduced cost.

Key ingredients

Insurers can take optimal advantage of these trends by pursuing innovations in several areas:

  • Leading infrastructure. Effective infrastructure must be real-time, cost-competitive and available 24/7, with scalability to handle the peaks and valleys of business activity. Strong security is essential for Web access.
  • Best-of-breed applications. Applications need to be tiered, layered and flexible, as well as agnostic to the ecosystem so they can perform in any environment. By taking advantage of the open source world, carriers can improve their return on investment.
  • Innovation-focused leadership. Effective technology and business leaders understand market direction, and they anticipate and meet the expectations of next-generation consumers.
  • Supporting the business. Leaders are pursuing predictive analytics solutions for ongoing business support. At the same time, they seek to improve cost structures through operational improvements.

Building for the future

When deciding on concrete steps to develop a flexible, world-class policy administration system, CIOs need to think about solutions that will meet both short and long term goals. They should begin with the core capabilities, built in the cloud, and then look at other components and their dependencies. 

Think of it like solving a jigsaw puzzle. You begin with the corners and edges, and then work to solve the rest of the puzzle. CIOs need to put the basics in place, and then ensure that ongoing innovations are developed in sync with other parts of the puzzle—making the maximum progress with a minimum of resources and spending, while getting the best results over a multi-year period.

To learn about the Accenture Life Insurance & Annuity Platform, visit our website.

 

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