Insight Paper Outsourcing Policy Administration: How a managed services model is

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1 iworks Enterprise Life Admin A hosted, policy administration solution for insurers Insight Paper Outsourcing Policy Administration: How a managed services model is revolutionizing traditional PAS implementations

2 Contents 1 Executive Summary 1 A Legacy of Policy Administration Systems (PAS) Implementations 1 The Current Landscape 2 Traditional PAS Project Challenges 3 Building the case for an outsourcing model 3 Benefits of a SunGard solution 3 Conclusion

3 Executive Summary Consider the following scenario. Your boss just asked you to present the status of your policy administration project to the board of directors. Immediately, your palms start to sweat, as you realize you have nothing but bad news to deliver. The project is 18 months behind schedule. The team you hired to help with the selection is gone, and you re scrambling to find suitable replacements. The system you re implementing is so complex, it takes months to train new staff. And to top it all off, you ve experienced scope creep to the tune of an additional $1 million. If this sounds familiar, you re not alone. Unfortunately, we believe that this type of scenario plays out across insurance companies around the world. Many insurance carriers are operating on policy administration platforms that have been in place for decades with significant operational and technological risks. This, coupled with a highly competitive market and availability of improved vendor offerings, is driving many insurance carriers to undertake policy administration system (PAS) transformation initiatives. Among the top issues to consider when selecting a PAS system, is how quickly you can be up and running and how costly the up-front investment in time and resources will be. This paper will highlight the common missteps when engaging technology vendors on PAS projects, and how an outsourcing model can help alleviate some of the most common challenges and frustrations. In a best case scenario, PAS projects can take as little as six months from selection to implementation, and external costs can be well under $1 million. While these low numbers typically represent a single line of business in a few states for a P&C insurer (life/health/annuity implementations tend to be considerably more expensive due to higher license and conversion costs), even more complex initiatives have been completed in less than two years for under $10 million. A Legacy of PAS Implementations Today most carriers are operating on policy administration systems that are decades old. For the carrier, maintaining legacy systems carries significant technology and resource risks and increased maintenance and support costs. Often, these older systems cannot keep up with the changing demands of the business, as they are unable to scale fast enough to support new product introductions and new distribution methods. Adding to the complexity is the requirement to maintain older versions of technology systems, coupled with the need to retain staff to support system upgrades. There s an inherent risk in staffing to maintain these legacy systems, as many are retired or close to retiring and knowledge share is limited. In addition, often the original software vendor has terminated support for the system, requiring carriers to increase staff and associated operating costs to mitigate the risk. Insurers that leverage a vendor s experience in implementing PAS projects will have a greater chance of success. The Current Landscape According to CEB TowerGroup Thirty-eight percent of Insurance firms intend to adopt or replace the technology before i PAS implementations are costly, risky and labor-intensive endeavors, as they use up valuable business and IT resources. The most aggressive PAS implementations are measured in quarters, not months, creating a ripple effect that impacts all areas of the business. In addition, the risks associated with these highly visible implementations are great. Large PAS implementations take time. According to Deloitte, many large P&C carrier implementations deliver their initial rollout in 20 months, with the full rollout within 40 months. ii Implementing a large core system successfully is challenging. However, it s not all bad news. According to a recent Deloitte report Recent improvements in vendor solutions, along with growing vendor experience in system delivery, are increasing the odds of successfully implementing a modern PAS. However, with a PAS implementation project likely to be a once-in-acareer event, CIOs and IT leaders need to consider ways to use lessons learned from successful implementations. PwC i ceb TowerGroup Policy Administration Systems Life & Annuity Technology Analysis ii deloitte Policy Administration Transformation Achieving results in a Complex Ecosystem 1

4 Traditional PAS Project Challenges Culture and Staffing Cultural and staffing issues must be considered when embarking on large PAS projects. Due to the length of PAS projects, often the staff that starts out the project is not the same as when the project is delivered. Often, the staff that joins a project already underway do not feel accountable for a project they inherited, specially if they did not participate in the selection process. New project sponsors may also have different agendas and priorities further adding to the complexity. During these times of transition, the project is in danger of being derailed and precious time is wasted getting it back on track. As a result, these delays increase project risk and contribute to the perception of a failed implementation. Because of their size, PAS implementations are massive, transformative, once-in-a-career initiatives. Those in charge of the selection and implementation process appreciate that decisions they make will have an impact far beyond their tenure, as most PAS engagements last more than 20 years. Fear of making a lasting mistake drives carriers to mitigate risk in the decision-making process by implementing selection committees. The challenge is that this often prevents carriers from making nimble decisions, as the committee process is sometimes politically sensitive and beaurocratic. Having the right staff in place for a project is also a challenge. If the project team is made up of individuals without previous experience delivering projects of this size and scope, they may not fully appreciate everything that is required to have a successful implementation. Beyond business expertise and knowledge of a carrier s products, these projects require staffing for support services such as project management, business analysis, professional services, business rules design, integration, and other such required skill sets. Additionally, carriers inherit a lot of risk when investing in training and maintenance skilled staff to continue supporting the policy administration platform for the long haul. According to Deloitte, as if trying to execute a complex project without properly skilled resources was not enough of a challenge, many carriers compound the problem by introducing organizational complexity. This is done by carving out tasks and awarding the work to multiple vendors, often in an effort to keep them honest. Additionally, placing part-time resources in full-time roles and moving resources into new roles during a PAS implementation are common examples of unnecessary organizational complexity. iii Lastly, historical siloed thinking contributes to a project s failure. Oftentimes, PAS systems are selected based on their usability to support a specific line of business. Little consideration is given to the capabilities of that same platform to support additional business lines, and as a result very narrow implementations of various systems are often cobbled together with a myriad of integration solutions. To better leverage the breadth and depth of a PAS solution requires strategic thinking at the highest levels, keeping in mind the long-term partnership that will be required with the chosen software vendor. Careful consideration should also be given to single platform providers that support multiple lines of business to minimize having to repeat this process for every new product launch as well as to enable more customer centric, cross-sell capabilities. Over-engineering the Solution PAS failures often occur when carriers over-engineer the replacement solution, often building in too much complexity up front. According to Novarica, one of the common myths in PAS projects is that functionality delivered on Day One needs to be nearly perfect because Day Two (the second major release with the functionality that was left out on Day One) may never come. iv This idea has been propagated over the years, as the business areas have come to expect that internal IT teams will not be supportive of future system enhancements. This is further complicated by the need to satisfy every single stakeholder s requirements in the initial phase of the project. Due to this, the first specs for a policy administration solution are often overdefined and far more complex than needed. According to Novarica, insurers should include the bare minimum functionality necessary to allow the business to run. This is what allows a carrier to start realizing benefits quickly, and those benefits can help to fund the remainder of the project. v Technology and Infrastructure Investments Beyond the initial implementation costs, it is rare that carriers accurately estimate the long-term technology costs that are incurred with a policy administration infrastructure build out. While a lot of attention is paid to the upfront costs of procuring technology solutions and infrastructure, many carriers underestimate the true costs of maintaining these systems for 20+ years. Some of the hidden costs carriers often fail to include in their total cost of ownership (TCO) calculations are: software maintenance and upgrades maintaining adequate infrastructure to support the growth of the book of business adequate data storage and backup facilities redundancy and system availability costs quality control support staff costs With a traditional license model, insurers have one lens through which to measure TCO, so little attention is paid to impact on unit costs when searching for a PAS solution. iii deloitte Policy Administration Transformation Achieving results in a Complex Ecosystem iv novarica Core Systems Replacement:20 Myths and Realities v novarica Core Systems Replacement:20 Myths and Realities 2 Outsourcing Policy Administration: How a managed services model is revolutionizing traditional, PAS implementations

5 Building the case for an outsourcing model According to a recent Celent report Software as a Service is continuing to gain acceptance in the marketplace. SaaS delivery has risen from 10% to 14% of all reported deals in 2012 to 27% this year. Why are managed services and SaaS revolutionizing the way carriers approach PAS implementations? It s simple. These alternative deployment models provide relief to some of the most common challenges carriers face when embarking on these large projects. A cloud-based policy administration solution with supporting managed services helps solve some of the common frustrations of typical PAS projects. Combined, cloud and managed services offerings provide: Agility and speed to market enabling carriers to quickly respond to market demands and compete in new markets Scalability, infrastructure, and application support Affordability and predictability with a multi-year hosted lease approach versus more traditional upfront license fees Staff Augmentation Managed services provide relief by making available expert staff to manage the added burden of initial product and system configuration work. Leveraging best practices learned from dozens of implementations, a vendor s own team is often better equipped to deal with any product nuances. Our recommendation is that insurers should play to their staff s strengths and augment as needed with vendor staff that can help fill resource gaps. Carriers should find one trusted partner to help reduce organizational complexity and foster common goals and incentives. Simplifying the Configuration of the PAS Solutions We ve outlined the tendency to over-engineer a policy administration solution, particularly in the initial phases. To help alleviate this pain point, insurance carriers should consider working with vendors that provide out of the box product configurations and templates that help simplify the upfront development process and reduce time to market. Identifying Hidden Technology and Infrastructure Costs To get a complete picture of a policy administration system s TCO, insurers must consider the full spectrum of hidden, long-term costs. A traditional upfront license and maintenance model does not provide a full picture of all ancillary costs that are incurred. Insurance carriers may consider a SaaS deployment model that relies on the vendor s hosting capabilities, infrastructure and application management services to quantify the costs on a yearly, lease agreement basis. Benefits of a SunGard solution With more than 30 years experience as a leading provider of software and services to financial, insurance and healthcare firms, SunGard is able to bring a wide range of software, IT and services together.the depth of SunGard s expertise, combined with our global operations and client presence uniquely positions us as a single source partner. We offer multiple consumption models for our services, from a fully outsourced solution, a partially outsourced solution, a short-term overflow or Disaster Recover (DR) solution, to a full platform Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) where SunGard is the provider of the hardware, software and the business processing. SunGard s managed services solutions focus directly in the verticals we serve. Insurers may benefit from our deep domain expertise and our market leading software solutions, both of which are at the foundation of our managed services offerings. Conclusion When embarking on a vendor selection and implementation process, insurers should recognize that policy administration system projects are likely to be the most important and longest that the company will undertake over the next 20 years. With this in mind, insurers should consider alternative deployment methods, like SaaS and managed services, to improve their time to market and reduce overall costs. It s equally important for insurers to weigh their options, understand the risks, and learn how to best mitigate them. The least painful way to learn the lessons provided by history is to observe others mistakes, and leverage best practices offered by vendors with experience in implementing projects of all shapes and sizes. Find out how SunGard can help your organization fundamentally transform and streamline your business processes to make more of your Policy Administration implementation. 3

6 About SunGard iworks SunGard iworks is a business-driven IT product family for the insurance industry in each of the following major business lines: Life/health/annuities/pensions, property and casualty, and reinsurance. iworks offers a range of products and services including front-office tools, policy administration, reinsurance, actuarial calculations, financial and investment accounting and reporting. SunGard partners with customers to help deliver products and services that align with changing business and regulatory needs. For more information, please visit: contact us tweet this whitepaper About SunGard SunGard is one of the world s leading software and technology services companies. SunGard serves approximately 25,000 customers in more than 70 countries and has approximately 17,000 employees. SunGard provides software and processing solutions for financial services, education and the public sector. SunGard also provides disaster recovery services, managed IT services, information availability consulting services and business continuity management software. With annual revenue of over $4.0 billion, SunGard is one of the largest privately held IT software and services companies. For more information, please visit SunGard. Trademark Information: SunGard, and the SunGard logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of SunGard Data Systems Inc. or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and other countries. All other trade names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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