Archive for September, 2016

Life Insurance Policy Administration Systems That Make a Difference

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

As an insurance carrier, you need to look at how technology can be implemented to better manage your overall business. Service oriented architecture, referred to as SOA, provides an array of benefits, including a better return on investment, better service assembly, as well as scalability so that you can grow your insurance company at the speed you desire without concerning yourself so heavily with costs.

SOA Approach

Feature Rich Products

When you decide to purchase an insurance policy administration system, you want to make sure that it is rich with features. Technology in insurance has come a long way in recent years, and you can use this as a way of creating more innovative products and services, which will then be passed on to your clients.

Such features to look forward to include:

–           Policy management

–           Distribution management

–           Claims assistance

–           Web portals

–           Case management

–           Assistance with commissions

–           Billing

–           New business data entry

All of this allows you to become more client-centric. This is a trend that is becoming more and more important within the customer service landscape. Clients want it to be all about them, and when you use service oriented architecture, it can make it easier to center things around the client. As you provide a higher level of intuitive services, you can establish loyalty.

In the world of insurance, loyalty is a necessity. You want people to continue to subscribe to their policies year after year, without worry of them straying to another carrier.

When you use the right SOA system, you can have a next-generation product configuration with online reporting and more tools for employees to use. This will allow them to be more productive, and you can remain flexible to the needs of your clients as well as your insurance business.

The Benefits of Advanced Software

Many insurance companies are slow to implement advanced software solutions. Much of this has to do with the fact that they are unaware of just how new technology can make a difference. Custom software solutions can be created, allowing you to unlock as many features as you want. This will give you the benefits in the areas where you need them the most. When service-oriented architecture is used to build a new system, you can begin to take insurance needs for your clients to an all new level.

When you have the right software in place, you can get a better return on your investment. This provides you with more layers to ensure that you are giving clients exactly what they need. You can take functionality of an app to the next level, providing credit card authorization, policy management, billing, disbursement, and much more. This will be of benefit to you, your insurance agents, as well as your clients.

You have the means to be more client-centered when you tap into modern technology, providing user collaboration, online reporting, as well as real-time processing. This gives you the chance to learn more about what is going on within your insurance company at a moment’s notice. The policy administration component can allow you to manage policies more effectively and provide more services on the front end, thus intentionally increasing revenue at the same time.

When you give clients what they need and what they never knew they wanted until you gave it to them, you can establish a significant amount of loyalty within your insurance company. Further, you can make it easier for insurance agents to manage the entire process, thus allowing them to be more productive and bring in more commissions.

To learn more about life insurance policy administration systems, contact Fast Technology today.

 

Technology Trends in Life Insurance

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Life insurance, like most other industries, is trying to adapt to the age of big data. Technology is now part of how business is conducted, so keeping up with technological trends is necessary to maintain a large number of clients. Customers expect certain accommodations, employees deserve updated tools, and your business should be allowed to maximize its potential. Here are four trends the life insurance industry is following that will benefit your company and clients alike.

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Communication

The world is now constantly connected to media. This constant connectivity has changed the way the consumer absorbs information and the expectations they have in regards to services. Around 90 percent of youths use social media in some form. Keeping relevant and updated social media accounts allows your company to keep lines of communication open with a market that is otherwise inaccessible. Though it may seem like a trend to older generations, the dawn of social media has changed communication and advertisement for good. The consumer is more likely to see a Tweet about an upcoming deal on a policy than they are to see a commercial on television.

Mobility

Life insurance, like most industries, is becoming more accessible to mobile devices.  Finding time to actually sit down at a desktop computer and browse the Web has nearly become inconvenient. Smartphones are tools utilized by a huge percentage of Americans. The devices are constantly held by the public and allow them access to the Internet from almost anywhere. Rather than inconvenience your customers, creating an application that enables them to create or manage their policy while on the go will expand your market.

Automation

Because the Life Insurance industry is highly regulated by the government, filing processes can be tedious.  Automating the regulation processes alleviates a lot of the stress associated with documenting life insurance policies, licensing of sales associates, and consistency of process. Your company has to meet certain standards and automating certain processes helps you to ensure the quality of your work is always up to par. Automation documents how a process was completed and leaves a more traceable paper trail. A modern automated operation has an advantage over those that are using a classic filing system. A modern infrastructure is more easily changed than a system that depends on teaching each individual a new filing process each time new regulations are implemented. Automation reduces the likelihood of human error that will hinder your business.

The Cloud

Not only do cloud services make collaboration and mobility more accessible, they also provide an extra level of protection for the information your company is charged with maintaining. In the case of disaster, utilizing cloud based services for your information will save you from having to collect the information again and from having to redo work that was already completed. Cloud based services save your company on IT department expenses. The cloud increases collaboration and eases mobility. Due to the large amounts of data created by your life insurance company, it is fiscally irresponsible to manage all of it on your own. Your company can actually save a great deal of money by hiring cloud services.

The age of big data has greatly impacted the way business is conducted. If you are behind the times or are in the process of transitioning to a more tech savvy process, these four trends may help you to catch up. Modernization can be a scary ordeal. Try and not be afraid. Some of these technological tools can greatly impact your business for the better. Increasing quality of your process, security of your information, and increased productivity are all side effects of technological advancements. If you have any questions about technology trends in life insurance, contact us today.

How Much Do You Really Know About Microservices?

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

We would all like to think of ourselves as experts in something but when it comes to microservices, how much do you really know? We put together a few FAQs about this topic and we think the answer might surprise you.

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What are microservices?

Microservices are part of an architectural style of creating large software applications by creating a suite of smaller applications (modules). Microservice modules deploy independently and distribute independently to software users.

The term refers to the idea that some software applications (especially larger ones) are easier to build and maintain when broken down into smaller component pieces. Software engineers build each module of the suite so that it is responsible for and runs its own process. These component modules communicate with each other through Application Program Interface (API) which acts like a kind of translator between applications. Best of all, they communicate over the client’s network to accomplish the business’ goal.

This architectural model contrasts to the traditional model in which the software system develops as one piece.

What are the advantages of microservices architecture?

We see microservices architecture becoming the industry standard for building continuously deployed software systems. The advantage of distributing different responsibilities of a software system by dividing it into smaller pieces is twofold: (1) it increases cohesion (the elements that belong together stay together) and (2) it decreases the degree to which the smaller, separate pieces, or modules, are interdependent on each other (coupling). When a software system exhibits traits of high cohesion with low coupling, the system is usually easy to read and easy to maintain.

Using microservices also means that modifying the software system is easier because the developer can add new functions and features at any time. The system can also tolerate continuous code refactoring which means developers can release the software system modules early and continuously. Changes to the modules are simpler, too. A change to one small part of the software application generally means a small change to just that service module. The modification requires rebuilding just that one service module and then redeploying to the network. The rest of the software modules remain intact and operational.

From an engineering standpoint, microservices saves time because the various module pieces develop concurrently instead of in a series. This means that modifications to one module do not require stopping work on the rest of the project as would happen under the traditional architectural model.

Is this architectural scheme used to create life and annuity software applications?

Yes. Insurance software, such as the latest software in policy administration products, leverages your existing software. It does this by wrapping around your existing system. Alternatively, the new system can overhaul your existing system one component at a time. Components and services are pre-built and pre-configured so they can integrate with your system as full applications. And you receive early benefits because each component delivers early as a stand-alone application.

So, what do these microservices modules do?

The services organize around capabilities that the client needs. One module may function as the front-end user interface. Another may concentrate on logistics or billing, and so forth.

Does my system need certain programming languages to operate microservices modules?

No, that’s one of its selling points. Microservices use the best environment that suits the customer’s needs and capabilities. For example, microservices operate via several different programming languages and can coordinate with different databases, hardware, and software.

Can you give examples of companies that use microservices architecture for their software needs?

Amazon and Google are the first that come to mind. You can count Netflix and Salesforce as users, too, as well as Red Hat OpenShift, The Guardian, Spotify, Uber, Wix, Microsoft Azure and others.

To read more about Spotify’s experience with microservices, computerworlduk.com’s article entitled“How Spotify uses automation and microservices to gain speed advantage on larger rivals.”

To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us. We look forward to helping you grow your business.

Big Data for Life Insurance: How it’s Bringing Better Relationships with Clients

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

The life insurance industry has become a little slower to adapt to using big data over the last few years. Yet, big data for life insurance has expectations to change the industry forever once they start adopting the right platforms. They can take the lead from another insurance industry that managed to get into big data first. In the property and casualty insurance industry, they’ve already taken on big data to better analyze risk selection.

In life insurance, big data awaits for use in similar ways. However, we’re likely going to see it used in a number of different ways based on how complex life insurance is.

For those who wonder when life insurance is going to start using big data, it’s now. While they’ve started using the basics, they still have a way to go to get to full use. It’s not to say they haven’t planned out what they intend to use big data for in the near future.

Let’s take a look at what many life insurance companies say they plan to do over the next two years.

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What Are the Top Strategic Goals?

In a Willis Towers Watson survey, many life insurers said they first plan to use big data to improve risk selection. More precisely, 50% of those surveyed said they’d do this, which tells you how important it is in the life insurance industry.

Giving better insight into who’s most at risk can help life insurance companies set more competitive premium rates and weed out those costing them more money. Before the age of big data, far too many insurance companies had to do insurance underwriting through a more time-consuming vetting process.

Determining who was at risk usually meant months of research on medical history, or inspection reports. Big data assembles all of this information in one centralized place and with immediate insights, saving weeks of protracted research.

As an addendum to risk selection, the above survey showed 25% of insurers want to use big data to target profitable customers. Using more data to assess risk helps scope out clients the insurer knows has a better chance of living longer.

Using Big Data to Improve Customer Relationships

While the above goals show that life insurance companies need to look out for themselves, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to improve relationships with their clients.

In the survey, it’s noted insurers want to use predictive analytics in big data to expand customer relationships over the next two years. Similarly, they want to enhance customer value proposition over the long-term.

It proves how symbiotic the life insurance industry is, and big data can make this happen without clients even knowing their insurers know more. Equally important, though, is using big data to transform business models and improve internal performance management.

At the heart of this is data mining, which is a key element in using big data successfully.

How Data Mining Works

With further evidence showing insurers want to do data mining to better understand their clients, what sources do these companies need to use to find thorough information? Through the Willis Towers Watson survey, it’s shown administrative systems and claims data is where most of the big data comes from internally.

On an external basis, medical records and prescription data are the biggest data mining sources. Putting these together can obviously tell a lot about a person’s health record. Nevertheless, insurers plan to eventually use other sources like email, credit scores, and social media to extract data.

Big data is going to extract voluminous data from every online source imaginable to give a definitive portrait of people who depend on life insurance.

Contact us at Fast Technology to learn more about big data in life insurance, and our software using service-oriented architecture.

Are You Missing Out on Big Data for Increasing Life Insurance and Annuity Sales?

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Life Insurance companies have always used key data to calculate risk and return, but there is new technology that can make a big difference. Utilizing Big Data for Life Insurance and Annuities can discover big opportunities for sales, marketing and underwriting life insurance products. It can be a potential gold mine for this industry, which has shown stagnation recently.

Many companies know the value of this information but still fail to use it to their advantage. Big Data can tell you more about your business and customers than historical claims and mortality reports. New technology is the biggest driver of this information, which can be found from various sources on the internet.

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What is Big Data?

The amount of Big Data is growing at an exponential pace and there are many sources that can give life insurance companies what they need to be competitive. The sources of Big Data collected during customer relationships include smart phones, social media, credit reports and website analytics.

With this information, life insurance companies can more accurately correlate premiums to risks. The information includes key points beyond what is given during the application time of life insurance and annuities. This additional Big Data can be information on health, behavior and lifestyle.

How can life insurance companies profit from Big Data?

The more life insurance companies know about their customers the greater chance of success. To be competitive they need analytical tools that will store and analyze the data effectively. This leads to efficiency, growth and innovation while it helps life insurance companies expand into new markets that never seemed possible. Big Data, if used with strategic objectives can find valuable solutions.

There are 4 basic ways in which life insurance companies can benefit from Big Data.

 Deepen customer relationships when policyholders share additional information over the life of the policy. An example of this are customers joining a wellness program and with the insurer building a relationship by learning more about their current health condition. With a medical checkup and using a regular exercise program they can lower their premium rates and build valuable advantages for themselves and the company.

Underwriting new risks with Big Data analytics for customers that were not worth the risk before. With new technology like real-time analytics, life insurance companies can track their client’s health and manage risk more efficiently. An example would be a client that manages their diabetes to stay healthy and is an asset to the company. Companies can grow substantially by finding these new clients and working with them using analytics. The clients are rewarded with better health progress while providing this relevant information to the insurer.

Enhances the business process using Big Data analytics with life insurance companies improving the efficiency of running a business. Improving the insurance application process with better technology can help increase customer sales.

Sales agents have better technology and data to make better predictions for making sales. This software can indicate who is more likely to purchase a policy, by using the metrics provided by Big Data collection.

In marketing, life insurance companies are using advanced analytics to predict who will buy and what chance there is they will cancel the policy. Leads and qualifications are also enhanced with Big Data that reflects a customer’s buying habits.

Increasing market penetration with companies expanding into new markets with faster underwriting by using Big Data analytics and with automation lowering costs. Big Data finds groups of potential customers that add up to billions of dollars. The automation of this process saves money and time with less human intervention.

With Big Data, your life insurance and annuity company can develop a better understanding of the market and existing customers leading to an increase in business. With analytics, you are able to discover information and new markets which were never possible before.

Fast Technology can help build a solution just for your business in the life insurance and annuities market. In this industry, you will be successful with this technology building better relationships with consumers and regulators, contact us for more information.