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Once Upon a Time, Implementation Stories Were Truly Spooky

Robert Regis Hyle | October 28, 2014

Trick or treat.

It’s Halloween time once again and if you want to pull a reverse candy dispensing, bring a Mr. Goodbar to my house on Friday night.

Halloween is a night for scaring people, too. There will be plenty of zombies and vampires walking through the neighborhoods this week, but there probably won’t be any kids dressed up like IT leaders. For one thing, it would be a pretty lousy costume, but for another, things are not quite as scary as they used to be in the world of insurance technology.

One reason for that can be found in an article in the latest issue of ITA Pro magazine: “Taking the Plunge.” In the article, Chad Caldwell, vice president and national insurance practice lead for Centric Consulting, states: “Frankly, there wasn’t a lot of system transformation happening 10 years ago because insurers were scared of failure. There are at least twice as many successes than failures today, which wasn’t the case 10 years ago.”

Werewolves and vampires are one kind of scary, but in the day-to-day world we live in, nothing scares business and technology leaders more than the fear of failure. It’s hard to get an accurate number because companies are loath to mention anything but success stories.

The failure rate on the implementation of new systems was so high when we reached the millennium that carriers postponed plans that they knew would be beneficial to the company because they just weren’t confident enough in the talents of their own staff and the software providers to take on such a challenge.

There are no guarantees of success today, but the steps needed to ensure the possibility of a successful implementation are clearly drawn out and the holes in the implementation process—from both the carrier and the vendor standpoint—have been alleviated by consultants and systems integrators who have the experience that many carriers can’t afford to have on staff.

“The success rate of conversions is head and shoulders above where it was even three or four years ago,” says Chad Hersh, senior vice president in The Nolan Company’s insurance practice. “Since that time, we’ve gone from seeing primarily small- and mid-sized carriers having success to mid-tier companies as well. Now, you are starting to see larger carriers implement systems and not run into big problems, which is going to spur even more interest in core transformation.”

So don’t get spooked by the thought of implementing a new policy administration system. There are no guarantees in anything we do in life, but the possibilities of a successful implementation and all the benefits that come with a new system are worth the effort.

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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.


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