Policy Administration System Modernization is Occurring at a NASCAR Pace

A look back to 15 years ago reveals that most insurers back then built their own PAS solutions in-house. In an effort to address the long time lines and escalating costs associated with this strategy, the trend shifted to a packaged solution approach. Today you rarely find a carrier building their own solution as several options for improving or modernizing have become more popular.

A July 2013 study of 121 property/casualty insurers conducted by the advisory firm Strategy Meets Action shows that over 80% of insurers have replaced or are in the process of looking to replace their Policy Administration System (PAS). Specifically, the survey, reports that 30% of specialty lines insurers, 27% of workers compensation insurers and 24% of commercial lines insurers, are transitioning to the use of more modern automated policy administration systems. A significant number of the insurers are now considering cloud-based solutions indicating that they are becoming more convinced that security and control concerns are no longer insurmountable issues.

Looking forward, the biggest obstacle to system replacement cited by many insurers is their reliance on multiple administration systems. While 39% of respondents indicated their employer was using one PAS, 35% conceded that they were using 2 or 3 and 17% acknowledged using from 4 to 6 systems.

The four most significant changes that are driving many insurers to proceed with modernization full throttle are:

1. Core system software developers are writing better, more comprehensive solutions. While policy administration systems have always addressed policy definition, rating, policy maintenance and print functions adequately, many of the new modern solutions have added agent portals, consumer portals and other augmentations.

2. The acquisition and implementation options available have increased significantly. The expanded array of In-house licenses, ASP models and SaaS (Software as a Service) or cloud solutions allow an insurer to choose the solution that best fits their need.

3. The use of open technologies has greatly improved the ability to integrate software with other components in an overall system.

4. Many vendors offer a more agile style of transition implementation including early viewing and increased feedback opportunities as the installation proceeds. This change in approach increases the likelihood for smoother implementation and a better outcome.

The benefits of PAS modernization are just too attractive to disregard. Insurers spend up to 75% of their IT budgets on maintaining and running existing systems and only 25% on new product development and market innovation. Insurers are in the business of providing insurance protection, not IT. Launching new markets, responding swiftly to changing market conditions and regulatory changes, enabling the ideal user experience, branding market differentiators and expanding reach through new channels are only a sampling of the many opportunities that an insurer can realize by flipping the IT budget mix.

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