Decision Research Corporation’s (DRC) GameChanger™ is an Advanced, Configurable Policy Administration Software Solution –  scheduled for release September 2012.  Discover how DRC’s Flexible, Adaptable, Scalable Technology will help you change the way you do business. 

The following article has been provided by Stephen Korow, Vice President of Technology, Decision Research Corporation, who offers an insider’s look at the exciting changes taking place in the dynamic insurance software industry:

Over the past several years, the degree to which modeling is involved in the management of a line of business has grown from modeling the rating calculation – to modeling underwriting rules – to being able to model the entire business process. 

Today – modern frameworks and tool-sets are enabling carriers to push more and more of what is customarily considered part of the IT domain to other parts of the business which have subject matter experts.

Simultaneously, tech-savvy users continue to join insurance companies.  They bring with them the expectation that they will have the tools which allow them to complete their work without requiring a high degree of IT involvement. 

Modern policy administration systems (PAS) reflect this empowerment with new frameworks and tool-sets which enable business users to model an ever increasing percentage of the business process without having to go through IT to make a source code change.  Users increasingly have an alternative to code changes by using tools which place a new layer of abstraction between the code and the user.  Domain specific modeling tools allow the business to rapidly prototype lines of business and make changes to existing lines to take advantage of new opportunities.

However, as with previous advancements in technology, the definition of the capabilities of these products varies widely from one PAS vendor to the next.  What is referred to as configurable can look a lot like source code in some products.  This situation results in both IT and the business user having to go through a learning curve because a totally new syntax for modeling business rules is being introduced.

To avoid this situation, the PAS modeling tools should utilize or reflect interfaces and applications the business user is already familiar and comfortable with.  For example, all modern rating tools allow rate plans to be modeled and maintained in Microsoft Excel or an interface which closely approximates a spreadsheet.  The actuary, who is ultimately responsible for the rate plan, is already well versed in the use of Excel.  A minimal learning curve is required for them to productive when a new rating engine is introduced.  Similarly, the PAS tool should allow business user to configure the business process with a minimal learning curve. 

Forcing the business user to learn a complex interface or a syntax which closely approximates code is simply pushing application development from IT to business.  This will only serve to exacerbate the problem.  The correct definition of configurable is not to turn every in the company into a programmer.

As in most things, one size does not fit all.  Not all aspects of the business process should be configurable.   There are many steps in the policy management workflow which are not appropriate for configuration.  IT must continue to provide these key capabilities in collaboration with the business user.  IT ends up becoming more directly involved and partnering with the business users to produce a system which more appropriately distributes responsibility for management of aspects of the system.  Business functions are managed by the business while IT functions are under IT.

Control of responsibility and access is managed through roles.  Users are assigned roles.  In these roles, they are given control of specific segments of the configuration process.  This feature facilitates checks and balances which ensure that only approved changes make it to production.  These controls should already be in place at a carrier as part of the classical development process involving IT, QA and the business.  The new PAS should be configurable to conform to the existing development process while supporting a paradigm shift which migrates aspects of maintaining business rules to the business users.

The purchase of a modern, configurable PAS system doesn’t portend the obsolescence of IT and that’s a good thing.  It does mean that IT can concentrate on technology and the business can concentrate on responding to the market.  Implementing a configurable policy administration system which puts powerful tools in the hands of users will make all departments more productive and efficient by allowing them to focus on their area of expertise.  Ultimately, it can be a real game changer by allowing a carrier to be more responsive than the competition. ~ Stephen Korow, Vice President of Technology, Decision Research Corporation

About DRC

Decision Research Corporation is a Microsoft Gold Certified ISV Partner.  With over 30 years in the insurance software industry, DRC is a highly experienced and trusted software development company that consistently delivers software solutions to support a wide range of P&C insurance industry lines of business.

From the small startup insurers and MGAs to insurers with written premium in excess of $2 billion, DRC clients have chosen DecisionMaker™ Suite for their rating, quoting, billing, policy administration and claims needs and an impressive return on investment.

For more information on DRC’s people, products, and services or to request a customized GameChanger ™ demo please contact:

DRC
Rick Young
(808) 949-8316 ext. 120
info@decisionresearch.com

 DecisionResearch.com

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