Profile of Christine Hintze
Blog Posts: 81
Articles by Christine Hintze
If you are seeking to improve your software development process, look beyond just the IDE or code-generation packages. Assess your software testing practices and automation techniques to make sure that you are not stuck with a 1980's automation model.
MasterCard estimates that consumers make 58 payment choices each month, whether paying bills or purchasing merchandise from retail locations or online. It is proven that consumers are accustomed to various payment platforms, and enjoy the flexibility in how they pay for things.
In our previous entry on telematics, we addressed the opportunities and challenges the industry has faced in adopting telematics, and the measures that will increase the likelihood of success. This article looks at some of the possible business models insurance companies can adopt around telematics.
Servicing the users is only going to get more complex as the anywhere, anytime, with almost any device user expectations and processing needs continue to proliferate. As a result, investigating and establishing a presentation architecture and presentation layer should be on every insurer's to-do list.
BTM solutions can provide an excellent way to dramatically simplify IT management while improving application performance and availability.
Developing unique products and finding new ways to offer value to customers are critical issues for insurance companies. At the same time, a bad experience with a new technology will upset customers and could drive them away. Controls must be in place to ensure that telematics offerings don't damage the brand.
The ultimate goal is to be in a position to mine content - enabled by smart archiving, which is the ability to analyze in real time thousands of forms, identify key content such as a section or a paragraph, and understand when it is used and how it is used.
Those who effectively utilize the full potential of high performance computing and the advanced analytics that it enables will be able to make the most informed and timely risk-based decisions. And, those that make the most informed and timely decisions. are those that lead their industries.
CIOs and CFOs together must make tactical (immediate) and strategic (long-term) progress to optimize reconciliation processes.
How can software recipients and developers test the fast paced, agile software iterations to assure proper functionality and confirm that their business criteria have been satisfied?
The analytical approaches discussed aid the detection of internal fraud. But the key to success of any model lies in understanding the business challenges and adopting the right analytical approach coupled with domain expertise.
Since Allianz Life's customer experience project began, including numerous employee engagement initiatives launched by the CIO, employee morale has improved from 65 percent to 85 percent, and customer satisfaction scores have improved 61 percent.
Not only can technology drive cost efficiencies and improve the all-important customer satisfaction and retention rates, but it enables smaller carriers to compete on a more level playing field.
In a low- or no-growth environment in which each customer gained is typically won from another insurer, a high-performing claims processing system providing predictable, efficient and high-quality service provides a key competitive advantage.
since policy administration systems are core to an insurer's operations and replacing them introduces more risk than perhaps any other IT project, it is prudent for insurers to go beyond the traditional selection process and undertake a "proof of capability."
For providers and payers of medical services, relying on PHR is about the difference between utilizing resources for unnecessary diagnosis and intervention, and the opportunity to pursue quality, efficient, and economically appropriate care - from first responders to fast track triage at emergency departments.
The need and value of implementing an application transaction management approach, combined with real-time detection for IT components comprising business transactions, is inevitable and has proven to be invaluable.
There is value in automating employment application tracking, balancing the books, or reducing the cycle time of the claim process, but it must be expressed in clear cost benefit analysis (CBA) to support software acquisition. Business benefits can augment a CBA for these departments, but they will not stand on their own.
The real issue is not in the amount or type of data, or even in how it is structured, but it is in the fact that organizations often lack the skills and tools to visually represent the data in a way that makes it immediately relevant and actionable.
Recent advances in text mining technologies have made it possible to harvest valuable information buried in unstructured data and leverage it for business results.
When predictive analytics is used as a "good offense" in gaining market share and in identifying the most profitable business, competitors will be left scurrying to adopt predictive analytics as a "good defense" just to remain competitive.
What if it takes, on average, five steps to process a customer interaction and on average there are 2,000 interactions per day? This means there are 10,000 opportunities for an error with customers! Errors contribute to customer disloyalty, which in turn leads to lost revenue. This is where technology interoperability comes into play, and where properly applying technology customized to the organizational needs can help.
Focusing on just adaptive learning models and tailored retention strategies could help organizations achieve significant benefits through a more accurate understanding of which value-generating customers are "at risk" of defecting, so that scarce resources can be refocused where it matters using tools that facilitate relevant customer-centric conversations.
Recently, a number of insurance providers have turned to workforce optimization (WFO) software to drive enterprise-wide performance improvements. Historically, WFO has been proven in the contact center. Today, the next-generation offering has evolved creating a robust system that supports not only the contact center, but also complex back-office operations.
Staying a step ahead of emerging technology doesn't happen by accident. Total gene profiling and molecular therapeutics are right around the corner. Considering the rapid growth in molecular and genetic diagnostic testing, it is critical for health plans to develop utilization management strategies today that employ a smart, targeted and recurring analytics approach.
Successful programs require a disciplined, holistic approach, including a strategic concept and a comprehensive plan, to avoid these common risks. Successfully completed, these closely related steps set the stage for the subsequent transition and monitor phases.
A case could be made that transition is ultimately the most important step in alternative sourcing. After all, even the strongest business case will fail if the transition breaks down. Successful transitions are enabled by a strong strategic concept and comprehensive plan, and extend through effective monitoring of ongoing operations
Insurance carriers spend billions each year to acquire customers and increase customer loyalty. Yet most initiatives fail to deliver the expected results for the simple reason that no direct, measurable connection can be made between each initiative and the resulting consumer behavior.
An insurance company could develop its customer value currency definition using easily predictable dimensions, such as average premium for a single product and retention rates. To enhance the effectiveness of the customer currency metric, other factors, such as loss and multi-product premiums, can be added later.
As we recover from the liquidity crisis and face waves of new regulation, the ability to scale rapidly is critical to insurance companies. Scale enables us to spread risk more effectively, segment smartly for higher premiums, and keep costs competitive.
In Part II of this three-part series Paul Camille Bentz, former CIO, AGF-Allianz, describes the current state of the insurance IT portfolio and why this makes it hard to achieve the requisite business goals of increasing revenue and margin through M&A and organic growth.
A reflexive response to uncertainty is to keep a tight rein over costs, placing a premium on margin growth, not simply revenue growth. In such an environment, companies that have the scale and are fortunate enough to be cash rich will continue to grow revenue and margin through M&A.
Current economic conditions have put insurance companies in a bind. The pressure to recapture pre-2008 revenue and profit margins is intense. But achieving these business goals requires rapidly developing IT applications and enhancing existing ones in ways that escalate IT complex
Maintaining the status quo with regard to reporting and analytics doesn't position carriers well for the future marketplace. This is the right time for the insurers to start embracing advanced analytics, such as predictive modeling solutions.
For insurers, winning in this market will be a major area of differentiation as they improve their risk management, heighten the safety of their drivers, reduce claim costs and draw in new customers.
Whether they aim to thrive, or merely survive, the current atmosphere of change puts a premium on CIOs as risk managers. With failures splashed across the news, the question is how to make IT-related risk management easier and more effective.
New IT operating model capabilities are enabling insurers to take on "sacred cow" topics that have plagued the industry. As insurers adopt these capabilities, IT professionals are enjoying greater influence and are making a greater business impact. IT does matter and these operating models are making a difference.
Capabilities within multiline companies are not owned by one organizational team, but may be spread across product lines. For example, the auto division may have its own payment capability, and the life division its own. To make matters worse, the "sales process" described above may also be different for the product lines. The result of process, capability and business silos, shows up as lousy customer experience.
The retail industry has developed very sophisticated and precise models to evaluate where storefronts should be placed. Winning carriers will need to develop similar virtual market coverage models, leveraging analytics to determine exactly where to place sales capacity.
Successful multi-channel marketing investments depend on a clear, consistent understanding among all stakeholders about sales and service. That's where information comes in. In many cases, the CIO is in the best position to collect information about customer behavior and to use the analytical tools necessary to analyze data across all channels.
The CIO who can help lead the company out of the multi-channel morass will be a hero. And the company that succeeds will be using information in ways that are more valuable than the sum of their parts in attracting and retaining customers. In the next issue, we'll outline how successful insurers are overcoming five key issues that threaten multi-channel marketing efforts.
By Neal Lohmann, Director of Business Transformation Solutions, Metastorm, Inc.
As the financial services industry begins its slow recovery, what role will "business transformation practices" play in helping companies streamline operational costs and improve balance sheets? Business transformation practices are comprised of management methodologies used to identify, design and deploy business change in order to improve or maintain market position. Over the past year, management teams ha
Consolidating onto a single rating engine enables the agility and efficiency that insurers require to effectively compete in the modern insurance market. With a streamlined rating approach, insurers can rapidly adapt to market changes and capitalize on new business opportunities, while reducing IT costs to optimize profits.
Remember that leading a successful systems integration is not a science; it is an art form. Develop a team of "artists" and ask them early and often for guidance. Team members are valuable resources and need to be treated as such.
By Chad Sands, manager, P&C systems, State Farm Insurance Cos.
Large initiatives often fail to live up to expectations not only due to their size and complexity, but also due to the number of interested parties and competing priorities they tend to attract. Leadership decisions prior to the launch of a large initiative do more to establish its ultimate trajectory than perhaps any other factor. The following are three practices which can help ensure your initiative launches with the best chanc
The recent announcements regarding some of the older policy production systems being discontinued has flooded the market with conflicting messages concerning next steps and which document solution is best. Whether your current policy production solution is outdated, inefficient or sun-setting, there are a number of factors to consider before replacing it.
By Jeremy Westerman, TIBCO Software Inc.
By July 17, 2010, all insurance companies must be MMSEA (Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007) complaint per government mandate.
Properly understood, legacy system replacement is both more challenging and more valuable than mere process automation; it should ask more penetrating questions about how to improve underwriting, claim, and customer/producer satisfaction outcomes.
What were considered acceptable controls in the past may well be deemed inadequate and non-compliant in the new world. The organizations that oversee financial reporting have said that if a company's controls were deemed to be deficient, the company could fail to meet SOX requirements even if no real problem existed.
Taking out costs associated with maintaining closed blocks and legacy systems is a key opportunity to find funding for new initiatives and products. This is where most companies struggle - reducing closed block costs is desired, but the achievement of any significant reductions is elusive, with limited options available.
Workforce optimization can work in tandem with a claims operations' BPM and workflow systems to address the effectiveness and productivity of the people handling the work within a claims operation.
By Stuart Rose, global insurance marketing manager, SAS
There are no easy ways to grow revenue, increase profit or improve market share in the insurance industry right now. Increasingly, insurers need to look internally to trim expenses and improve business processes. One way to do this is to use predictive claims analytics to optimize loss reserves, increase productivity and assist in preventing fraud.
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), the end-to-end outsourcing of a business line or process, can boost business performance by reducing costs, increasing the quality of processes, accelerating transformation throughout a business, creating a more flexible response to sudden external stresses, or through a combination of several benefits.
While 65,000 apps per company isn't the right goal, small and nimble is. Before embarking on a giant, lumbering technology initiative for your giant, lumbering insurance company, think carefully about isolating and attacking the key areas of opportunity with laser-focused mini-apps. While their footprint may be small, their impact on your business can be unmistakable.
Growth-focused agencies and insurers are limited by horizontal CRM systems. The most successful sales organizations are realizing the advantages of enterprise sales collaboration and search technology designed with their unique needs in mind.
Industry upheaval has created a real opportunity for insurers to re-evaluate their approach to automation, integration, and sourcing. By addressing their legacy systems through a blended IT approach, insurers can enhance their competitiveness and viability for both the short and long terms. This may well be the ideal time to rethink insurance IT.
By Greg Webber, President, Insurance Systems, SunGard
Recently, one of my children graduated from university, which led to one of those typical (father to son) financial responsibility discussions. In this case, we were talking about the need for him to purchase his own automobile insurance.
Insurers must devise a strategy to create a policy administration infrastructure that takes a more holistic view of product development and provides a flexible environment for product support - ensuring a more agile and cost-effective insurance product management process.
SaaS offers insurance companies the opportunity to make some real improvements to their distribution channels, with faster returns and lower up-front investments than ever before. It is, however, still more than a simple flip of a switch. A successful implementation still depends on getting the basics right and being aware of what new challenges need to be addressed.
Implementation of globally accepted accounting standards will require significant changes in business processes and systems in order to amend accounting treatment and satisfy reporting requirements.
Customers expect their personal data to be protected. So how can companies that handle the confidential customer information outsource certain functions and still ensure that their data is safe? The gold standard for privacy and security practices is the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) Statement on Auditing Standards, No. 70 (SAS 70).
Not all MDM technologies can address the various compliance requirements facing today's businesses. Only an integrated, model-driven, and flexible MDM platform that is easily configurable can provide the functionality needed to meet compliance requirements and lower risk.
The root of the problem is that many insurers rely on a decentralized IT infrastructure, with different systems for different lines of business, or a patchwork of systems built up over time as a result of mergers and acquisitions.
New technologies are enabling new underwriting processes, and offering improved ways of tracking underwriting processes and quality. Today, the vision of what underwriting metrics insurance companies can provide can now easily expand.
The current economic shakeout presents an opportunity for insurance carriers that are looking to position themselves for long-term success. With limited options for making money on their investments, insurers should seize the opportunity to create sustainable profitability from their insurance operations by delivering greater value to customers.
Concepting is about internal due diligence, and asking "Why should we outsource?" and "How will alternative sourcing help us achieve our strategic goals?" Certainly it helps answer the most popular outsourcing question "How much can we save?" But, most importantly a strategically developed concept helps you realize those savings.
The question on the minds of senior executives now is whether there are now or will soon be any solutions on the market that will enable them to completely eliminate the involvement in IT in changes they need to implement in order to quickly meet the requirements of the marketplace.
Convergence of quality risk and finance data will drive performance management, operational improvements and cost efficiencies.
The biggest danger for most carriers is not failing to survive the downturn, but rather failing to be competitive as it ends. Long sales and implementation lifecycles mean that carriers trying to get ready for the upswing are already late in starting the process if they haven't already, and few project alternatives offer similarly strong business cases while also being competitive necessities. As a result, we're not likely to see the trend of core systems replacement end anytime soon.
Implementing a new policy administration platform provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate your entire business model. Compare it to souping-up your car: you would not drop in a new, more powerful engine without also considering your tires, brakes and other critical components required to maximize performance.
Implementing a standalone billing application allows carriers to achieve the benefits of centralized billing without the effort, expense, or risk of a full-scale policy system replacement project.
Too often, the decision to invest in regulatory technology is made through a return on investment calculation that pits the cost of fines against the cost of technology.
The old but often downplayed adage that "it's better to know what you don't know" should bring the importance of information to the forefront and increase the sense of urgency for insurance organizations to be more data driven.
It is time to look at simplifying our daily work lives and eliminate unproductive tasks, processes and work. E-mail, a very useful and powerful tool, has become a major productivity drag on firms due to misuse and abuse.
Technology can provide the means for actuaries to deliver better, more timely risk assessments, improved awareness, greater understanding, and actionable risk information to the organization. With the recent financial turbulence, delivering these types of improvements is of critical importance.
The CIO needs to understand the finance team's requirements around budgeting, planning, forecasting, scenario planning, measuring KPI's and analytics. The important thing here is determining what's critical for executives and business group leaders to run the business, manage P&L's and cost centers, and make informed decisions.
It is time that all institutions redefine the way risk is managed to not only ensure that the root causes are truly mitigated, but also that the environment is monitored to understand when changes occur that may alter the way a risk is managed.
Given withering investment income, insurers may tighten their underwriting discipline and begin to raise rates. Such a strategy could reverse the current soft market plaguing the non-life market in general and commercial lines in particular and usher in a period of greater underwriting profitability.
While the potential benefits are compelling, it is crucial for insurers to understand the risks of alternative sourcing so they can successfully reap the rewards. Companies must ensure their sourcing strategy utilizes a comprehensive lifecycle approach that allows insurers to align and support their strategic goals.
With all that has been going on in the financial and insurance world lately, asking and answering hard questions predicated on fact, data and analytics has never been more important.
Understanding the technical accounting involved with adjusting financial statements for the three year period prior to conversion, as required by the IFRS Roadmap, is clearly only the starting point. Execution and success will depend on understanding and implementing the appropriate financial and reporting technology architecture.