The Cloud Redefines Core Insurance Administration

Today’s cloud-based systems are redefining core insurance administration, from underwriting to policy administration to claims. So, you don’t have to look far to find cloud advocates, especially at industry conferences. Such was the case at the IASA 2018 Annual Conference & Business Show in Nashville. Many of the sessions at least mentioned the cloud, and many centered around it. It was at the heart of a session in which Phil Iaccarino, Director, Product Marketing, Guidewire InsuranceNow, and Roger Walker, COO of Cornerstone National Insurance Company, an InsuranceNow customer, participated.

In the session, “The Cloud Redefines Core Insurance Administration,” Walker shared his best practices, challenges, lessons learned, and benefits realized from the insurer’s move to the cloud.

Other panelists explained some business drivers behind a move to the cloud, including faster implementations and upgrades, better business agility and improved data security, compliance, and risk management. The main driver behind Cornerstone National’s move to the cloud was improving speed and cycle times.

Moving to the cloud “just made sense” for Cornerstone National, Walker said. A smaller insurer — $30 million direct written premium — that writes personal auto only, Cornerstone National has just two IT employees, so not running a data center in-house was the logical choice.

Cornerstone National began as a hosted customer with its InsuranceNow implementation in 2012. Before that, the insurer hosted its prior system on-premises and wanted to focus its capital and resources on the InsuranceNow implementation, not additional hardware and software. In February 2017, with a dedicated Guidewire team, the insurer began planning a migration to Amazon Web Services. By July 2017, the migration was complete, after interfaces were tested extensively. Since then, daily cycle times improved dramatically, stat job timeframes were reduced significantly, and the data mart is now completely updated more quickly.

Walker shared a few lessons learned with the audience. He encouraged insurers beginning the process to plan far enough in advance with interface vendors, educate and prepare your team, and plan for or know custom queries.

A common theme throughout the session, even from audience members, was the challenge among mid-tier insurers to get buy-in from the top. A suggestion from Walker was to start small, maybe with mailroom operations, to prove the security and success of the cloud.

Guidewire’s Iaccarino ended the session with two questions for the audience: “Ask yourself, ‘What is my core competency — insurance or technology?’ and ‘How can you spend more time on that core competency?’”.