CSC has announced it will rollout Exceed J, a Java-based version of its Exceed software suite of components for top-tier P&C carriers, with general availability planned for mid-2010. The vendor also announced that Unitrin, Inc. (Chicago) is the first client to commit to deploy the system.
The Exceed platform fully automates policy, billing, claims, client, rating, underwriting and other functional components for personal and commercial lines, according to a CSC source. Exceed J affords platform and database flexibility to insurers seeking a scalable, function-rich solution of components that can be leveraged together or individually, the vendor claims. The announcement of Exceed J comes about five months after CSC launched the Java version of its POINT IN policy administration platform for tier-two and -three P&C companies.
Unitrin has licensed seven components of the Exceed suite, all of which it plans to implement in the Java-based version of the platform to support personal lines auto in the carrier's three P&C business units, Kemper, Unitrin Direct and Unitrin Specialty, according to the CSC source.
"After decades of successful decentralized operation, we determined it was time to adopt a shared-services approach to speed our time to market and lower operating costs," said Keith Sievers, senior vice president and CIO, Unitrin Services Group. "After reviewing competing alternatives, we chose CSC. We have confidence that the development strategy being pursued by CSC will yield Exceed J system components with the deep, product-line-specific functionality and service-oriented architecture strategy we need."
Bridge to Newer Technology
The release of the Java-based Exceed system provides a path to current customers seeking to move to newer technology sometime in the future, suggested Greg Clancy, CIO, Indiana Farm Bureau (IFB, Indianapolis), who spoke with Insurance & Technology. IFB first implemented Exceed in 2003 for its homeowners business and is currently proceeding with a new implementation of the COBOL-based version of the system for auto.
IFB's original selection was based on a preference for rich functionality on older technology versus thin functionality on newer technology, as well as concern about the financial viability and industry leadership of the vendor the carrier chose to partner with. Functionality and vendor stability strongly influenced IFB's selection of Exceed for its auto business, along with the fact that the carrier is already using the platform for homeowners. Clancy says that IFB desire to get on the platform as quickly as possible was incompatible with waiting for the release of all relevant components of Exceed on the new, Java-based version.
Clancy acknowledges that finding staff skilled in COBOL is increasingly difficult, but says that the current benefits of the Exceed platform outweigh those concerns for the present. "Today its more of an inconvenience," says Clancy. "However, it's a longer term issue that is going to bite us if we don't have some way to get to the newer technologies."
Clancy is less worried than he otherwise would be because the release of Exceed J provides such a way. He says that in due time it is very likely that IFB will move to the Java-based system. "It gives us a bridge to get to the newer technologies when we need to."
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