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Insurers Can’t Afford to Try, Try Again

Robert Regis Hyle | September 02, 2014

In our September issue of ITA Pro magazine, columnist George Grieve wrote about the changes he sees in today’s insurance IT departments. IT seems to be growing, according to Grieve, yet many of the traditional tasks performed internally are now being shipped out to others—including solution providers and consultants.

One area, though, requires a mixture of internal IT talent; solution providers with valuable products and, just as important, an understanding of the insurer’s business needs; and consultants who can bring both sides together in the art form know as project management.

Insurers are quite used to the long process of research that comes when they reach the realization that the system or systems they have in place can no longer adequately perform the functions required to keep the business headed in the right direction.

Software selection can be tedious as hundreds of questions are asked of those solution providers looking to market their product. Comparing those responses and determining if those responses are accurate is a huge first step in the long process of software selection and implementation.

 The first person to say, “The devil is in the details,” could easily have been speaking about what happens once a product has been selected and the insurer is faced with the challenge and the headaches that come with implementation. This is where project management specialists are most needed.

One might say that this is the IT department’s job to get it right, but that often oversimplifies the experience and skills of the IT department. For many carriers, replacing something as complicated as a policy administration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. All the training and skills they have gathered to reach their station in the insurance infrastructure don’t necessarily translate to such a difficult task.

Turning to others for help was not how many IT leaders were brought up, but the fact is these projects are more than career defining. The amount of money involved in a failed implementation and the time lost to competitors who got it right the first time are major setbacks that can take years to overcome.

Try, try, again is a nice thought, but with the stakes as high as they are today, companies can no longer look at the possibility of “if at first you don’t succeed.”

In our September issue of ITA Pro magazine, columnist George Grieve wrote about the changes he sees in today’s insurance IT departments. IT seems to be growing, according to Grieve, yet many of the traditional tasks performed internally are now being shipped out to others—including solution providers and consultants.

One area, though, requires a mixture of internal IT talent; solution providers with valuable products and, just as important, an understanding of the insurer’s business needs; and consultants who can bring both sides together in the art form know as project management.

Insurers are quite used to the long process of research that comes when they reach the realization that the system or systems they have in place can no longer adequately perform the functions required to keep the business headed in the right direction.

Software selection can be tedious as hundreds of questions are asked of those solution providers looking to market their product. Comparing those responses and determining if those responses are accurate is a huge first step in the long process of software selection and implementation.

 The first person to say, “The devil is in the details,” could easily have been speaking about what happens once a product has been selected and the insurer is faced with the challenge and the headaches that come with implementation. This is where project management specialists are most needed.

One might say that this is the IT department’s job to get it right, but that often oversimplifies the experience and skills of the IT department. For many carriers, replacing something as complicated as a policy administration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. All the training and skills they have gathered to reach their station in the insurance infrastructure don’t necessarily translate to such a difficult task.

Turning to others for help was not how many IT leaders were brought up, but the fact is these projects are more than career defining. The amount of money involved in a failed implementation and the time lost to competitors who got it right the first time are major setbacks that can take years to overcome.

Try, try, again is a nice thought, but with the stakes as high as they are today, companies can no longer look at the possibility of “if at first you don’t succeed.”

 


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