Last week, I shared the benefits of (and barriers to) insurers using software as a service (SaaS) in new business and underwriting processes. Let’s take it one step further and assume that you’ve decided to implement SaaS into your business. How can you choose the right system? Accenture believes there are three key characteristics to look for.

Automated, rules-based engine to support effective decision making

If it’s automation that you’re looking for, then you need an effective rules-based engine that supports an effective decision-making process. A rules-based engine must be able to rapidly and consistently analyze the necessary data at each step, whether new business application or policy issuance. Insurers must be able to configure underwriting guidelines and rules so that the engine can make a series of underwriting decisions—whether to “instant issue,” request additional information, or refer the case to an underwriter.

Centralized case data management

Within an automated system, insurers need a robust underwriting workbench to maintain their case data in one place, including requirements, case notes, reinsurance information, underwriting decision data and more. The workbench provides a single, consistent source of information—which can support collaboration between the many people involved in the lifecycle of a policy.

Interfaces to third parties

The central point of automation is to streamline and simplify, and that also extends to any third-party vendors that might be part of the underwriting process. Consider, for example, interfaces with medical and physician data providers—the benefits of automation would be lost if the system wasn’t compatible with these critical vendors. Other factors include platform neutrality, a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and the ability to integrate ACORD, XML and proprietary standards.

Choosing the right SaaS provider

In addition choosing the right technology, insurers must select the right SaaS provider. It’s important to choose a partner with both technical and industry experience. The life insurance industry has its own unique needs, and life insurers must be sure to partner with someone who can not only understand, but address those needs.

While some carriers may choose to fully adopt SaaS for some functions, others may want a hybrid approach, retaining some functions within their own IT infrastructure. In the latter case, the combination of legacy systems, public clouds and private clouds creates a combination that rapidly creases the complexity of the IT environment. As such, insurers will need to look for an integrator that can manage that complexity, implement solutions and maintain them over time.

To learn more, download How Software as a Service Is Revolutionizing Automated New Business and Underwriting Systems (pdf; opens in a new window).

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