An insurance platform for all seasons

Guy Shepherd, chief executive of Software Alliance (SAL), explains how SAL's financial modelling platform provides insurers with a single calculation engine that can be deployed for a multitude of business applications

How can support the needs of insurance decision makers?

We firmly believe can be the single calculation engine for a range of insurance operations, from the front-office illustrations and quotations, through to pricing, valuation and reserving, and into back office servicing and administration.

Historically, each of those calculation needs have been supported by different technologies, many of which are now considered legacy platforms.

Our vision is to have a single calculation engine and collection of models supporting the calculations for a range of products and consumers throughout the insurance lifecycle.

Can the platform help insurers with transition and implementation to IFRS 17? is largely agnostic to regulatory regime change and is therefore already equipped to support the needs of IFRS 17.

The platform will also be capable of dealing with the next incarnation of financial regulatory change due to being a code-based platform.

It has lots of enablers to answer any question that may be asked of it today, or in the future.

From an IFRS 17 view, the key is around integration, governance, speed and agility.

In terms of data, is best-in-class in terms of its integration potential with a variety of data storage technologies, and can easily integrate with general and sub-ledger platforms, or with other enterprise components, such as business intelligence or BPM solutions. has all the functionality required to support the calculation needs of IFRS 17 without relying on updates to proprietary, vendor support libraries.

How are insurers using cloud technology? What are the main trends?

Given the emergence of more customer-centric and more generic cloud-based tools, from a consumer point of view, people have very quickly found themselves in the cloud without really knowing it.

Insurance, however, has been slow to adopt cloud technology, and not necessarily for valid reasons. While the risk of data loss for insurers using the cloud has largely been mitigated, the problem is more about hearts and minds and incumbent technologies.

In terms of hearts and minds, there is almost a personal satisfaction for a person in being able to physically see their infrastructure and touch their data.

Guy Shepherd, chief executive of Software Alliance (SAL)The challenge facing insurers is that most of their platforms were written 20 or 30 years ago, and trying to shoehorn legacy technology into a cloud-based environment is really difficult.

There are, however, several valid reasons why people have been slow to adopt cloud technology.

An example of this is how people negatively view the security of their data or intellectual property (e.g. models) in transit or more importantly at rest.

In reality, these issues are less of a problem in the cloud than they are with corporate data centres displaying a company logo for all to see. It has taken some time to convince people of this.

In spite of these issues, a number of insurers are now adopting a cloud-first technology strategy, albeit without appreciating the challenges of moving actuaries away from their traditional legacy tools.

What is SAL's strategy over the next year?

Our business philosophy remains focused on building the most flexible, well controlled, and efficient calculation and modelling platform we can, while enabling integration with any aspect of the insurance enterprise.

To underpin this, we are working closely with a number of our clients to understand the emerging challenges and opportunities associated with the evolving financial modelling landscape.

We are also continuously developing our service-oriented outlook.

While we believe we have all the necessary technology components, we need to put them together in forms that end users in the wider insurance ecosystem understand, especially in terms of real-world benefits or value propositions.

It is also about coming up with tangible user cases that we can take to the insurance industry because we have a very interesting and unique story.

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