Although core systems modernization has been a top-priority issue for insurers for some time now, commercial lines has not been a primary area of focus. That may be starting to change, however. The news this week that Xuber, the insurance software business of London-based Xchanging plc, is entering the U.S. market with a new commercial insurance software, indicates the time may be right to address the automation and processing challenges of this complex and traditionally manual-process-based area of the business. Xuber's news follows the announcement earlier in April that commercial lines software vendor SeaPass Solutions is rebranding itself as BOLT Solutions, following the success of its BOLT Platform for commercial lines.
Through Xchanging, a provider of business process outsourcing, procurement and technology services, the business now known as Xuber has served the commercial lines segment for more than 30 years. However, Chicago-based Xuber represents "a new investment in a new software platform. There have been more than $31 million in investments [in the solution] over the past three years. It's a new technology and will be a separately run organization with its own charter," according to Mike Kulp, senior vice president global sales and president Xuber USA. "We have had a rich set of product functions that exists on older platforms, with some overlap." The goal is to rationalize that functionality, "take the best of all those and build products for all four [segments]."
The new solution is built on a single common data model. "We developed core modules, representing the common processes -- policy, claims, billing, ceding -- and added configuration to make them more specific to the [business] segments," Kulp says. Built on the Microsoft .NET platform, Xuber core process solutions include Xuber for Insurers, Xuber for Reinsurers, Xuber for Brokers and Xuber for MGAs (the four segments that the legacy Xchanging solution served with separate products).
Commenting on the renewed focus on commercial lines systems modernization and why Xuber is targeting the market now, Kulp notes, "We see big hole in the commercial systems marketplace. There is a real opportunity for us [to help insurers] handle more complex risks." He contends that many carriers have postponed decisions about modernizing their commercial lines systems because they have been dissatisfied with the capabilities of current available offerings.
Acknowledging that Xuber is not first to market with an updated commercial lines offering, Michael Jones, vice president of sales, remarks, "We came to the market a bit behind our competitors, but that gave us an advantage," since the company could assess aspects of these offerings that were effective and those that weren't. Jones emphasizes the benefits of offering carriers a single solution that supports multiple business segments.
"If you think about the supply chain of the insurance transaction you can perform the entire transaction on one data model -- an end-to-end solution on one data model," Jones says. Another differentiator, he adds, are Xuber's configuration capabilities. Typically, when companies want to launch a new product or make a change, IT needs to be brought in to handle the coding. "That process customers go through to get product to market is tremendously cumbersome," he says. "We are taking IT and technology out of the mix. The journey can happen at the business analyst level."
Xuber is offering three deployment offerings: on premise/licensed, "where we work with our partners and the insurer to do the configuration work," Kulp reports; a SaaS model; and what the company calls Business Processing as a Service.