An Oracle Strategy Brief May No Limits: Enabling Rating without Constraints

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1 An Oracle Strategy Brief May 2011 No Limits: Enabling Rating without Constraints

2 Executive Overview... 1 Introduction... 2 Trends in Rating... 3 The Carrier Challenge... 4 The Rise of Standalone Rating Engines... 4 What Features to Look for... 5 Moving Beyond Traditional Rating Functionality... 5 Product Development... 6 Rate Management... 7 Distribution Management... 7 Conclusion... 8 About Oracle Insurance... 8

3 Executive Overview Rates are at the heart of the insurance business. They determine what products companies sell to which customers every day. It s not enough to be the low-cost provider; you have to provide the right product at the right price to the right customer through the optimal channels, whenever the customer wants it. And you must do it consistently across all channels, with no surprises or differences in pricing between one channel and another. Technology is the key to achieving this goal. New advances in rating engines can lead to highly targeted products that will help insurers write more business and grow their premiums to compete in a fast-changing market. Business user-friendly systems, with configurable rules and tool kits, can not only help improve speed to market but help business teams develop more innovative products. However, many insurers are held back by technology that is outdated, inflexible, and requires heavy IT support. This paper will discuss the constraints that may be holding insurers back from achieving optimal rating, and explore new technologies that can enable better pricing, more innovative products, and faster time to market. 1

4 Introduction Ask business decision makers in the insurance industry what keeps them up at night, and the majority will cite the pressure they face to adapt to major market changes. In a society that is trending toward instant answers and self-serve everything, businesses have to adapt to change. Insurers face increased competition combined with tremendous pressure to grow. They need to differentiate their offerings through innovative products, greater efficiency, and niche market opportunities; extend rating tools to channel partners, agents, and customers; and cope with the complexity of multiple systems. And they need to do it all fast. How do you provide the right product at the right price to the right customer through the best channels, at any given moment in time and within a highly complex IT environment? The key is to have rates and underwriting rules that can be changed on the fly from a single system and extended across every system you use. Recent advances in rating engine technology provide all this, and more. Realizing it s not enough to be the low-cost provider, many companies already have made this connection. A recent Novarica survey found that growth pressures are the most important factor in determining IT strategy for insurance companies today (see Figure 1). Today s third-party rating engines go well beyond traditional functionality to redefine how insurance companies approach product development, rate management, and distribution channels. As such, they can help you gain the competitive edge that s needed to survive and grow in a volatile market environment. 2

5 Figure 1: Results from a Novarica industry survey rating the importance of business drivers of IT strategy in (Source: US Insurers IT Budgets and Projects for 2011, Novarica 2010.) Trends in Rating Insurers recognize that they can no longer afford to calculate insurance rates solely on the basis of easy-to-identify factors, such as driver age, gender, marital status and accident history. Rules-based enhancements to product development systems have helped some companies introduce new offerings at a faster pace. A number of improvements are at various stages of deployment across the industry. For example, in the near future, micro-rating based on individual characteristics will replace the broad tiers the industry uses today. Taking auto insurance as an example, each customer s rate will reflect when they drive, as well as how far and how fast they go. The more indications they show of aggressive driving, the higher the premium will be. The standard insurance product set has expanded to include disappearing deductibles, loss forgiveness, and even green insurance (policies that allow their holders to use environmentally-friendly alternatives when rebuilding a home after a loss). Electronic support for filing ISO paperwork and straight-through processing remove yet more steps from the cycle. Progressive, pay-as-you-go insurance is another trend to watch. Rather than examining past driving habits as a basis for premium, insurance costs are accrued depending on how much how, where and 3

6 when you drive. Do you have a backup camera, or other safety optional safety devices installed in your vehicle? If so, the rating engine may calculate a lower price for your policy. All of these trends suggest that flexibility is a key component to success, and speed to market is essential. Insurance companies need to deliver what consumers demand today and anticipate what they ll require in the future. The imperative is clear. Getting there, however, is another matter. The Carrier Challenge Insurance organizations today are highly complex. The process for handling the filing of a single ISO circular takes six to nine months and costs $135,000, according to Novarica (see Figure 2). Figure 2: Results from a Novarica study measuring the cost of processing ISO circulars. (Source: Carrier Internal Processes for ISO Circulars, Novarica, 2010.) Maintaining rates, rules, and forms across multiple systems and through the entire selling chain is a labor-intensive process. It takes senior talent to analyze changes and understand the impact of modifications across the business and IT infrastructures. These days, the level of IT involvement required is often a deciding factor in whether carriers choose to make rate changes. But what if you didn t need to involve IT? The Rise of Standalone Rating Engines Standalone rating engines eliminate the need to hard-code rate changes into multiple systems and allow you to externalize the rates, rules and logic associated with the rating process. In this approach, a single, rules-driven rating engine performs all rating for the enterprise and disperses results to all. 4

7 systems including the policy administration system, Web portals, agent channels, and more. This solves the problem of data redundancy, inaccuracies, and duplication of effort across multiple applications. It also reduces any performance risk which typically occurs when you expose a policy administration engine to a Web portal to support Web quotes. The benefits of this approach include greater consistency with business logic and more robust analytic tools that enable detailed what if modeling and provide the ability to assess the impact of a change to the overall book of business. Best of all, with a centralized rating engine, you only need to build it once. Any changes that need to be made are done from a single location. With an adaptive, rules-driven rating engine, changes are managed by the business users and can be performed in minutes, and then propagated throughout the enterprise. This greatly reduces the time required to make rating changes, as well as reducing maintenance efforts and reliance on the IT department. What Features to Look for When choosing a third-party rating engine, it s important to evaluate how it handles rule definition and management. For example, how is a driver assigned to a vehicle? What determines decisions of acceptability? How does the system combine different rules and rate tables? This capability is the heart and soul of the rating engine, and it needs to provide infinite segmentation options. Here are some additional features to look for: Product design and development tools Testing, modeling and product analysis Compliance and auditing transparency Business intelligence and analytics Workflow Web quoting tools Multicarrier comparison functionality Design and production of forms Interoperability Ease of integration Moving Beyond Traditional Rating Functionality Traditional rating functionality is no longer competitive enough. Rating engines must provide benefits such as extensibility, consistency, and accuracy, as well as innovation, to help create unique products. Oracle Insurance Insbridge Rating and Underwriting leverages adaptive, rules-driven capabilities to ease product development, improve rate management, and enhance distribution management. Let s look a little deeper at each of these areas: 5

8 Product Development Micro-rating, or Multivariate Rating: Oracle Insurance Insbridge allows insurers to create limitless variables per rating program. These variables are stored centrally and can be shared across programs. And they can be added and managed by business users, without tapping IT resources. Faster Product Development: The capability for design-time integration accelerates the cycle for developing new products. In design-time integration, a new variable or field, such as car color, can be added once, in the rating engine, and then that field is automatically propagated throughout all the systems that require it. Rather than manually adding car color as a variable to every other system such as policy administration or the agent portal design-time integration updates those systems automatically, greatly reducing the amount of work required across systems. (See Figure 3.) Figure 3: Speeding new product creation with design-time integration Predictive Analytics and Impact Analysis: Together with Oracle Insurance Insight, Oracle Insurance Insbridge helps you to, for example, identify parts of the business that may be experiencing a high volume of claims and determine what changes to make in the pricing structure. You can introduce new rating variables to create new micro-rating tiers. Oracle Insurance Insbridge then performs what-if impact analysis to test the changes to see if they have the intended effect (see Figure 4). 6

9 Figure 4: How predictive analytics and impact analysis work using Oracle Insurance applications Rate Management Single Source of Rating Truth: Oracle Insurance Insbridge makes sure that if you introduce a new deductible for a product, that price is reflected automatically in the agent quoting system, the policy administration system, and all other systems that connect to the rating engine. Straight-through Processing: The rating engine increases effectiveness for the entire policy lifecycle, from lead generation and quoting to the binding process as well as billing and claims. Oracle Insurance Insbridge connects to each of these steps in the cycle, providing accurate and consistent rates across the board. Automated underwriting rules streamline the application process, and business users can manage policies during the bind, change, and renew process. Once again, IT does not need to get involved. Distribution Management Extend Rating Content: By exposing the rating data to channel systems, you avoid the need to hardcode changes into multiple systems, while maintaining your ability to manage rates centrally. For example, you can create a set of deductibles and factors for a product in Oracle Insurance Insbridge, and the agent portal can dynamically retrieve that data. In this way, you eliminate the need to create and maintain two copies of the set of deductibles one for the portal and the other for internal use thus streamlining development and reducing errors. Facilitate Online and Offline Rating: Whether your agents are connected to the network or working remotely from mobile devices, they can prepare accurate quotes following the same business rules that apply across the organization. For example, agents heading out to meet with clients can download the latest version of rating logic onto their laptop, so that they have access to the most recent, accurate rates even without an Internet connection. This is especially useful to agents who work in remote areas, where access to the Web is not always readily available. 7

10 Conclusion Recent advances in technology can remove many of the constraints that insurance companies face when trying to adapt to current market pressures. Innovation in rating is a critical capability that affects revenue, differentiation, and operational efficiency. An adaptive solution for insurance rating and underwriting opens the door to limitless possibilities to go beyond traditional rating functionality and differentiate the business. Innovative tools and functionality can help insurers overcome traditional technology constraints, helping to speed product development, improve rate management and pricing accuracy, and improve management of distribution channels. It empowers business users to deliver the right products, to the right channels, at the right time. Kyle Abel is a product strategy manager at Oracle Insurance, responsible for rating and underwriting applications for Property & Casualty insurers. About Oracle Insurance Oracle believes that insurers should be able to leverage technology to help transform their business. Oracle Insurance provides adaptive, rules-driven systems that let insurance companies easily change business processes as their business needs change. These systems position insurers to become more adaptive themselves, ready to respond to dynamic market conditions and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. Engineered to work together, Oracle s solutions support the entire insurance lifecycle from product development, to marketing and sales, to customer service and support, to management and compliance. For more information on Oracle Insurance, please visit oracle.com/insurance, contact us by at or call to speak to an Oracle Insurance representative. 8

11 No Limits: Enabling Rating without Constraints May 2011 Oracle Corporation World Headquarters 500 Oracle Parkway Redwood Shores, CA U.S.A. Worldwide Inquiries: Phone: Fax: Copyright 2011, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is provided for information purposes only and the contents hereof are subject to change without notice. This document is not warranted to be error-free, nor subject to any other warranties or conditions, whether expressed orally or implied in law, including implied warranties and conditions of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. We specifically disclaim any liability with respect to this document and no contractual obligations are formed either directly or indirectly by this document. This document may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without our prior written permission. Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. AMD, Opteron, the AMD logo, and the AMD Opteron logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices. Intel and Intel Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. UNIX is a registered trademark licensed through X/Open Company, Ltd oracle.com

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