Software Alliance: Empowering insurers to achieve more
What would you say are the biggest technology-related opportunities for insurers in the current environment?
While many recent disruptive technology trends present meaningful opportunities across the insurance landscape, there are four key trends we believe should form the core of any insurance technology vision.
While the concepts of cloud computing have been around since the late 1990s and the tangible benefits of performance, agility, flexibility, and utility-based pricing are now well understood, many insurers have yet to unlock anywhere near the full potential of cloud.
Most of those insurers who have embarked on cloud-first or cloud-ready initiatives have stalled at the relatively obvious lift-and-shift migrations of legacy workloads and systems from data centres to the cloud. Unfortunately, because these workloads and technologies weren't designed for cloud, they simply aren’t in a position to deliver all the benefits and generally require the same or more maintenance than the on-premise systems they’ve replaced.
Enterprise Data Fabric
The potential value of data has never been clearer. This is particularly true for insurers with their enormous breadth, depth, and history of data, most of which goes untapped. This is partly due to the siloed nature of data within specific applications or teams, which means it’s not accessible as a commodity within the insurance enterprise and prevents value from being derived across the business.
Data fabric goes beyond traditional enterprise data warehouse concepts and integrates data across platforms and users without necessarily lifting, shifting and duplicating information. The key is to make data available everywhere it’s needed and include built-in metadata to help consuming systems and personnel understand the data that is available to them.
There is now a wealth of technology on offer to derive insight and actionable intelligence from data. However, insurance is still captivated by complex ecosystems of spreadsheets and other user-developed applications. This means that like data, any insight is typically siloed in teams or individuals with cooperative decision-making almost impossible.
Automation and Reduced Time-to-Value
Perhaps the most obvious opportunity on offer to many parts of the insurance enterprise is that afforded by automation or even hyper-automation. Despite what many actuaries and risk managers might have you believe, the end-to-end processes within insurance are reasonably static, with the same workloads being performed time and time again, albeit with different data and assumptions. Such processes typically lend themselves to business process automation and management, but such concepts are still relatively unheard of within the insurance enterprise.
Why aren’t insurers taking advantage of these opportunities? What are the barriers holding them back?
Based on discussions with our clients and technology partners, the rate of technological change occurring outside of insurance continues to accelerate and outpace the rate of change taking place within the industry. This means that emerging technology opportunities are perhaps becoming even harder to unlock.
The barriers are numerous and perhaps obvious, but typically include:
- Continuously evolving regulatory agenda – there is no time for the industry to reflect, consolidate, and optimise the technology and workloads implemented as part of the most recent regulatory changes before the next series of upheaval comes along
- Complexity of existing systems and processes – solutions typically build upon the shoulders of those which came before, which means there are numerous layers of technology and processes required to deliver the latest business and regulatory requirements. This leads to very brittle and inefficient systems, often with a rotten or redundant core
- Legacy technology debt – many insurance operations still operate on technology from the 1990s and earlier. Even where new technology has been implemented, this is often constrained by the need to work with legacy systems and processes
- Limited reference points of success – despite the benefits on offer, there are few visible reference points where the adoption of new technology has made a tangible difference.
What is SAL doing to help insurers address these barriers and take advantage of the opportunities on offer?
We are currently focused on delivering a genuine cloud native modelling, calculation and analytics platform for insurance. This expert system will leverage the flexibility, integration and automation potential of the existing Mo.net platform, but allow users to deliver core workloads quickly and effectively in the cloud and with minimum manual intervention and supervision.
The vision is to allow users to deliver results reliably within hours or minutes leaving time and resource available to focus on developing actionable insight andintelligence for the benefit of the organisation and its customers.