Reinsurance operations and IT go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or at least they should to ensure smooth operations. An integral part of ‘smooth operations’ in the world of reinsurance is data management. Since IT and reinsurance operations are both stewards of data, they need to work together to find flexible solutions for data management. These solutions can take the form of systems, technologies, and processes (or ideally a combination of all three). The goal is to ensure consistent, reliable, and consumable data is available to work with. From an IT perspective, what should you consider when determining the best solutions for your reinsurance operations?
1. The end user
The solutions put in place will directly impact data management so the first thing to consider is the end user. Your first instinct might be to think about your internal reinsurance operations team. While this is an important group to consider, they are not the only end users and therefore not the only needs to consider.
Data is constantly flowing throughout the reinsurance eco-system. Therefore, it is important to think about consistent, reliable, and consumable data for all parties involved (ceding companies, reinsurers, clients, other internal departments and more).
2. Long term vs. quick fix
The process of data extraction is very common in reinsurance. What would happen if you sent data extracts sporadically, in inconsistent formats, and often with errors? The end user, whomever it may be, likely wouldn’t be too happy – not to mention the negative effect on productivity and business efficiency.
When it comes to implementing processes, the consumption, format, and timing should be the same approach on Day 1 as it is on Day 1000. It should not be a quick fix or temporary solution. It should address current needs AND be robust and flexible to address future needs. Which leads to the next consideration.
3. Data strategy
To build consistency, there is great value in having a sound data strategy. It will also be a contributing factor to your competitive advantage. In our industry, it’s a data race and to gain an advantage, you need to invest in data solutions. Given these solutions will likely be a large investment, it is not a decision to be made lightly. Having a strategy in place ensures that decisions are made with goals and objectives in mind.
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When considering solutions, think about migrating away from manual, user driven processes and towards automated, seamless solutions. When systems can function with minimal user input and preparation, you can benefit from time and cost savings.
What works for a system managing a volume of 100,000 records, should easily manage a volume of 10,000,000 records. A flexible system is an adaptable system that doesn’t require a rewrite or large scale re-engineering to alleviate infrastructure strain. This can also reduce the need for workarounds or quick fixes which can result in data inaccuracy down the line.
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6. Easy integration
Whether you are bringing on a new client or introducing a new environment, smooth, quick and efficient integration is key. To achieve this, solutions chosen should be repeatable to some extent. While every clients’ needs are different, a good system will be able to adapt to each individual client’s requirements. Look for systems, technology, and processes that are standardized so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.
These considerations can guide your decision making when determining the best solutions for your reinsurance operations. Determining solutions that ensure consistent, reliable and consumable data, contributes to building a strong technical environment. When IT can achieve a strong technical environment, reinsurance operations can be focused, productive, and provide excellent service to their clients. At the end of the day, it is a win-win for all.