For some years, technology executives at life insurance carriers have complained about a perceived death of alternatives for upgrading their policy administration systems. But that perception is due to change, according to a recent Gartner (Stamford, Conn.) study. The reason, says Gartner senior analyst Todd Eyler, who coauthored the study, is that "The vendor solutions are becoming more mature and providing [customers'] basic requirements around things such as configuration capabilities for adding new products and making other innovations, scalability and the ability to do data conversions."
According to Eyler, the study reviewed seven policy administration systems, rating them on flexibility in general and, in particular, their ability to facilitate new-product speed to market. NaviSys' (Edison, N.J.) Home Office and AdminServer's (Chester, Pa.) policy administration solutions received the top scores.
Eyler points to an increase in research and development among existing vendors in the life insurance space as well as the entry of new players, such as FINEOS (Dublin, Ireland) and Sapiens (Research Triangle, N.C.), as healthy developments. Still, he emphasizes that there is room for improvement. "There's nothing perfect yet, because [no vendor solution] would provide deep support across all the key product segments of individual life, individual annuities and group products," he says.
There is reason for optimism on the vendor side as wellGartner has found that one in five life insurance companies are aggressively seeking to replace and consolidate policy administration systems rather than just add to what they have in place, according to Eyler. --Anthony O'Donnell
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio