Enterprise Insurance System Implementation: The CURE Approach

Every year, insurers adopt initiatives to replace either their entire policy administration suite or only certain components of it. Most of them go through the detailed steps of vendor selection, analyst research, cost/benefit analysis, total cost of ownership analysis, and other procedures that are important to executives. However, even after ensuring that all safety-nets are in place, only a few of those projects become successful. Many more are challenged by cost and time overruns.

Such challenges create an unhappy relationship between insurer and vendor, and insurers begin to search for best practices to ensure project success. Although many strategic decisions might contribute to a particular challenge, individual project players (engineers, analysts, project managers) can make a strong impact by following certain guidelines while working on the actual implementation.

We outline the following CURE principles to help deliver positive results:

  1. Challenge those who want to re-create the old system with the new software.

The most important reason that an insurer undertakes an initiative to replace its current core system is that the current system fails to address all of the company’s business needs. It’s detrimental to try to rebuild the old system using new software. The project team needs to be the vanguard for overcoming this type of “old” thinking.

  1. Understand the difference between “reuse” and “rebuild.”

Every enterprise software package provides a touchpoint to integrate with external systems. System integrators often totally rewrite those areas and create their own methods of integration. But the purpose of an integration is to ensure that external systems communicate at a specific integration point. Integrators should try to reuse those touchpoints instead of building their own workflow.

  1. Raise your hand and seek help when in doubt.

An engineer's task during implementation is to get the work done on time and on budget. Any deviation in either of these two levers is an indication to raise your hand and seek help. To elaborate with a real-life example, implementation teams might be compared to airline crews. Their job is to fly the airplane efficiently rather than to build it. While the team might be best equipped to note an efficiency issue, it’s worth raising the concern rather than fixing it.

  1. Effective delivery every time.

The Pareto Principle states that 80% of implementation time is spent building 20% of the functionality. The main rationale for replacing a core system is not the beautiful screens or user interfaces. It’s the functionality behind those screens that needs to be delivered on time. The most important parameter needs to be the “roll-out time” and not the nice-looking error messages or help text in the user interface.

The management team will provide the tools, but developers and analysts are the ones who use them. Not using the methodology appropriately can result in an unfavorable outcome. The implementation team forms the most critical component in determining the overall success of the project and realizing product value. Following these four simple CURE principles can surely take the implementation project to the next level of success.