Posts Tagged ‘insurance component’

5 Ways IoT is Changing Insurance

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

You may appreciate IoT – for insurance, and you may not. Whatever you may think about the Internet of Things (IOT), generally, insurance industry experts think that the IOT will have significantly impact your insurance products, risk pools, loss control, data collection, and sharing of information. For those of you who aren’t so sure about it, here are some of the best things we found out about this feature.


  • Usage-based insurance. Currently, insurance companies gather information from the vehicles of potential customers — think Progressive’s Snapshot — by combining telecommunications with information technology (telematics). They want to determine the vehicle’s history of speed, turning patterns, driving distance and other metrics in a particular geographic area in order to fix a price for insurance coverage how drivers are actually using their automobiles. In the future, IOT devices will talk to each other and give a more precise picture of this type of data, in real-time . The carriers of the future will know more about you and the steps you take to change your habits. IOT will enable carriers to reduce loss ratios, improve growth and margins. Insurance analysts expect that it will prove financially sound for both the carrier and the insured.
  • Sensors: Homes and businesses have been using sensors for a while to track light usage, temperature, toxic fumes, and other metrics in our buildings. Up until now, the sensor reported its information one-way. With IOT, the communication becomes two-way. The sensors will alert customers to the potential for dangerous conditions and reduce the risk of loss from environmental factors that the sensor recognizes as flawed.       Insurance carriers like this aspect because consistent monitoring reduces the risk of a problem spreading or in the case of immediate threat contact the authorities, fire, or health services automatically.
  • Biometrics: We are all familiar with smart devices we call “wearables”, like Fitbits. With the IOT emergence and the improved data enhancements, wearable devices will enable health providers to determine compliance with rehabilitation appointments for disabled patients. Employers will monitor employees activity times and the monitors will even track your heart health. Smart devices will get smarter, communicate with each other and become more customized to your behavior. In the future, biometric devices will not only collect information but report it back to the wearer or to the wearer’s physician, an employer or insurer. A monitor tracking blood chemistry, for example, will alert the wearer to a potential heart attack. This is one are of IoT that is already starting to gain traction. In fact, a recent CB Insights survey shows there are now more than new 50 start-ups with focusing on wearables for the life insurance sector alone.
  • Diagnostics:  Manufacturers embed smart sensors in all sorts of machines, from toys to appliances to industrial machines. As these devices are internet enabled and capable of “talking” to other smart devices, insurance carriers that provide warranties on these various smart devices will be in a position to sell products that offer reports identifying potential impending problems with the device before the problems happen.
  • Carriers’ transformation: The biggest change will occur in the way carriers operate. The tremendous amount of data will mean insurance companies have to figure out the logistics: how are their legacy systems going to communicate with all these devices, how will they store all this data that smart devices deliver; how will they sort through the information and make some sense of it. Some industry analysts predict the IOT will consist of billions of smart devices sending 50 trillion gigabytes of data by 2020. That is four, short years away. The time to figure out the logistics of these changes is now. The in-house IT department meet the need, not only in size but in sophistication. Carriers will need to not only look internally but at third party partners to help streamline and modernize to meet the come wave.

If you want to read more about how the Internet of Things will relate to the insurance field, please see the article entitled “IBM Internet of Things for Insurance“.

To talk more about how FAST is preparing insurers for the IoT future give us a call at 732-225-0008 or visit us at


“Drop the Software Testing Baton”

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

A software tester, with a determined look on his face, walks briskly up to your desk and blurts out, ‘It doesn’t work.’  After you sigh, your mind oscillates between responses of, ‘Okay, let me look into it,’ and ‘What the heck do I do with THAT?’

Developing and testing software should be less of a series of hand-offs between tester and developer, and more of a collaborative, ongoing conversation.  Even with the most well-intentioned of testers, the baton is often passed off to a developer because the tester has run out of debugging options.  FAST has eliminated that baton pass forever.  The testing approach and automation that we used on a recent project played a significant role in allowing us to convert a company’s life insurance policy administration system in only five months.  No one on the project could have imagined this pace being possible without efficient and effective testing woven into the entire project.

Empowering the Team

We created a debugging tool easy enough for everyone on the team to use…

  • A failed test condition was no longer the end of the road
  • What went right, what went wrong and precisely where it went wrong was clear as day
  • Corrections were made simply – using spreadsheets  and configuration changes
  • Painstakingly documenting detailed recreate steps became a thing of the past

With the debugger everyone on the team could,

  • grab the exact xml being tested
  • use it to step through the business logic and rules to see what was happening

Testing & Automation

The test driven approach of FAST 8x and the Test Case Manager are the perfect complement to the debugger.  They both offer tremendous value, FAST 8x automation drives testing efficiency while the Test case manager increases effectiveness.

  • FAST 8x: the test driven approach automatically test APIs, eliminating the need for regression testing the application
  • Test Case Manager: tool for actuaries and the product team to test a variety of permutations using the calc spreadsheet independent of the application
  •  Calc spreadsheet: designed for actuaries, by actuaries, an easy to use UI allows the team to create  their own scenarios  and eliminates their reliance on a technical resource to update code

As we used these tools, it was really cool to watch the traditional software development lines between tester and developer disappear!


The benefits of using these tools to debug and test business transactions and calculations were numerous.

1)      Transparency of business processes to the business owner with a user-friendly spreadsheet which is easily traversed

  • This transparency promotes a feeling of trust between the vendor and the client

2)      Business knowledge transfer was a by-product of the transparency of the business rules

  • The tool facilitated business process discussions with the client

3)      Continuous testing of the business logic and rules

  • Resulted in a condensed ‘testing phase’ and quicker deployment

4)      Perpetual vendor reliance was eliminated

  • The client quickly internalized how they could maintain these business rules on their own

5)       Small steps and simple calculations demystify complex calculations

  • Logic is not buried deep in layers of code and errors can be fixed by dragging and dropping the appropriate orchestration step into the right place

As a Business Analyst, the tools were cool and fun to use.  They created a great sense of accomplishment across the team – issues could be quickly pinpointed and then corrected through configuration and I could fix bugs on my own!  And as for the Actuaries being able to create and test their own calculations, let’s just say they got as excited as actuaries get…

After the success we achieved, I can’t imagine a project without it!!!


Sharon Amos, Business Analyst



Powering Software Development: Technology and the Virtual Project Team

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. – Henry Ford


Most people believe that successfully completing an Agile project with multiple companies, across different locations is impossible… As technology continues to change where and how we do business, this is no longer a valid assumption.  When implemented thoughtfully, any organization, large or small, can leverage today’s technology to create powerful teams capable of developing great software – faster than ever imagined and at a lower cost.  Using Skype and an HD TV outfitted with a web cam, a company is armed with the all tools it needs to create a dynamic virtual environment for software development projects.  Working closely with a customer in this manner offers significant benefits for both the service provider and the customer -

  • more software is developed accurately the first time because communications are clear and e-mail ambiguity is avoided
  • time is saved as bugs are addressed and resolved immediately because there are no “voice messages left” or “calls to return
  • a unified project team works closely together – this strengthens trust, fosters morale and drives a successful outcome
  • working software is put into production more quickly and at a lower cost

FAST’s Virtual Office

With each customer engagement, a Warp Zone is established – a dedicated project room equipped with a web cam and a large, flat screen television.  Through the Warp Zone, we see our business partners in their normal working environment and they set-up a similar environment so they see us as well.  The cameras remain on all day throughout the life of the project.  Initiating a conversation or asking a question takes a simple wave to the camera.

Working together this way allows us to dig in and understand our customers’ business processes and their needs, so we can provide the best solutions possible.  The reverse holds true as well – customers get a true understanding of the application.  And with regular demonstrations of new software, we receive immediate feedback and can ensure the functionality supports the business needs.

In addition to the benefits related to the project and customer relationship, this structure helps avoid many of the inefficiencies of traveling.  This translates in to soft dollar savings stemming from increased work time and productivity and the improvements in morale associated with less travel along with the obvious hard dollar travel and expense savings.

The FAST model incorporates our offshore development team to accelerate the project timeline.  With Skype and the Warp Zone, a rotating schedule of morning and evening calls with the team keeps everyone on the same page and extends the workday as development continues after the sun sets.  In addition to eliminating many of the quality issues often associated with an offshore team, the Warp Zone’s face to face interaction enhances the daily scrum and software demonstrations while Skype is an integral part of the collaborative development approach fostered by an Agile software development philosophy.

Real Results

Ultimately, leveraging technology to create collaborative work environments enabled us to extend the workday, streamline communication and work in partnership with a customer to convert an entire Policy Admin system in only 5 months.  The efficiencies gained through this approach allowed to us complete the project within budget and in record time.