Having been in the insurance technology sector around 10 years, I've found that there are some important questions, which are asked more often than others. I’m very fortunate to have been involved in over 100 product builds, across all insurance lines, deployed in almost any country you could think of (i’m sure someone will catch me out if they try hard enough). I’ve seen the ups and downs; increases to IPT, capacity being lost, as well as this unprecedented pandemic, which has hit so many lines of insurance in a way that no amount of planning could have prepared them for. But throughout all of the industry challenges, IT system reservations and red tape, innovation has been continuing, with new ideas with USPs being enabled through technology.
In my first few meetings with prospects, these are a few questions which crop up more than any other, and I’ve decided to answer them all in this post for your feedback:
What’s stopping me from building my own in-house system?
This is a tricky question to answer, but the truthful answer is: “It really depends on many factors...” But in reality, it really does depend on many factors. The three options are a) stay with your existing system (choosing to ignore the reasons you were looking at other providers in the first place and live with what you have b) choose an insurtech partner like Cooper Rose Digital to develop, tailor and configure a system for your distribution and or policy management needs, and c) build a full core system in house, by hiring developers, architects, project manager, BAs, testers etc, which you will need to retain post build to for enhancements, upgrades, bug fixes, new features, new products and so forth.
All three options have pros and cons, but to really get the right answer, we need to understand the drivers, timelines, appetite and budget.
Can you guarantee the delivery dates?
My genuine reply would be something along the lines of “Are we certain that the scope we have designed together is final, and not going to change during the build?”. Not many people can answer that question unless they know every single detail of the product and system that is required, not just for go-live, but also over the coming months post go-live. The best advice I can give here is that you need to remain adaptable, agile and listen to feedback from customers or brokers, and accept that the system evolution is part of the journey. Deploy the system in iterations and phases, giving you the ability to adapt to market feedback. Unless we suddenly stop innovating, automating or streamlining; no system should ever be a one-and-done final product.
What information do you need to scope the project out?
Everything please! To fully scope out the product build, your best bet is to send the final question set, rating guidelines (in excel format with an example of how the rates are adjusted), all documentation, and email templates. This implies that you know your product inside out and are ready to build.
As a more detailed discovery phase, the following elements will also need to be further explored : report data and format (bordereaux), underwriting guidelines and rules for MTA, renewal, cancellations etc. I have seen how daunting this process can be for my clients/partners over the years, so Cooper Rose Digital actually coordinates workshops with our consulting partners Sandpiper Consulting to help you through this process and collaboratively explore all areas of the product workflow and build. This model is really driving value with our clients and they are seeing some amazing results.
What features do you have?
With a fully agile and tailored solution, this becomes an answer with another question “What would you like?” Cooper Rose Digital has all the core features you would ever need to run your insurance business as an all-in-one system, but that doesn't mean your unique needs can’t be configured into your tailored solution. The question, in my opinion, should be expanded to include: “and what are the limitations of the configuration to make the system tailored to my business and product needs”. The way Cooper Rose Digital chooses to answer this question is through business led discovery phase pre-contract, using our partners Sandpiper Consulting, who discover at pace, what the business truly requires in their solution, which actually ends up fully answering the original question.
Saying you are ‘agile’ and ‘customisable’ is one thing, but the proof is truly in the pudding. The real test for any solution is to not only deliver the core system features, but allow them to be customisable enough to cater to the often unique MGA, broker or insurer needs and their country specific workflows. Automation, streamlining are both important words, but the insurance process is where the real value can be found. This one of the main reasons why Cooper Rose is going to be useful to MGAs, who need that unique touch to their solution, allowing them to express themselves and operate as they want. Technology should always be used as an enabler, rather than a prohibitor. As Sun Tzu most aptly wrote “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory”.