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Rules for tech implementation success

Implementing new systems is a challenge for any insurance firm. 

Delays, over-spend and even litigation are all too often unwanted features of a project implementation not going to plan. It needn’t be that way. 

Many companies are now smoothly installing flexible cloud-based systems to control their business process, ushering in a new era of efficiency and responsiveness to customers’ needs. 

By following these rules, you can enjoy similar success.

  • 1) Have clear timelines and checkpoints

By having clear timelines and checkpoints, a client can improve the likelihood of a success. 

Once the initial workshops to understand the client’s circumstances are finished, a clear path should be set towards project completion. 

For example, a five-stage implementation of a new policy system could look like this:

  • The setting up of workshops for the implementation phase
  • Loading of in-force policy data into the new system
  • Review and adjustment of figures per policy
  • Migrating prior years’ policy data using the system provider’s new tools
  • Migration of early years policy data within the system to conclude the implementation project

The client’s timeline and deliverables should be communicated from the start. 

Potential consequences of timeliness not being met should be made clear. 

Timelines will bring urgency and clarity, benefiting the client in the long run.

  • 2) Create dedicated teams

From the outset, the client should provide dedicated resources to support implementation. 

The kind of teams typically involved in implementation include extraction teams that take out and make useable a firm’s data, accounting and settlement teams, finance, general ledger, data warehouse and management information teams. 

The overall project manager will be the critical point-of-contact to ensure teams are working to agreed timelines and in the correct way.

  • 3) Ask the right questions

System providers and/or the project technology consultants must ask the right questions and the client should endeavour to answer as thoroughly as possible. 

The client should also think carefully about the questions they need to ask of their partners. 

This is particularly important to get right in preparation for the data migration. 

Typical questions a client will be asked concern their ability to manage data, whether they have plans to run different two systems – the old and new – while policies are transferred, and cash position in relation to policies.

  • 4) Have a dispute and adjudication mechanism

There should be a person with responsibilities to decide on disagreements that may arise. 

History teaches us that it is not uncommon for client and system providers/technology consultants to have disagreements over data quality and data requirements. 

The individual should be able to adjudicate on disputes, enabling a speedy resolution so the project can progress unhindered.

Migrating data onto a new system and then bringing it into use is a serious undertaking for insurance firms. 

However, the rewards are great. 

Many system providers now offer products across a range of areas such as underwriting, policy administration, claims and analytics. 

By following these rules and achieving a successful implementation, companies will find the next project easier as they continue to upgrade their systems in a competitive insurance landscape where technology provides the edge.