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SFG Seeks Speed

Securian Financial Group reports successful first steps on the road to greater speed to market with its new AdminServer system.

Having implemented its first block of business on its new AdminServer (Chester, Pa.) policy admin system, Securian Financial Group (SFG; St. Paul, Minn.) reports successful first steps toward greater speed to market. Securian spent much of 2006 putting in place the necessary infrastructure in order to implement AdminServer and launched its first new product -- SFG's Eclipse Indexed Life offering -- on the system in November. The carrier licensed both the AdminServer Policy Administration System and the vendor's IllustrationServer.

According to Bob Ehren, VP of life product manufacturing at SFG, AdminServer will facilitate product innovation. "The rules-based model of the system enables us to develop even the most comprehensive product in a relatively short period of time, while the common calculation engine ensures consistency and accuracy in our calculations through all phases of a policy's life cycle," he says.

SFG's relationship with AdminServer grew out of a strategic decision to develop the capability to create universal life and term life products on a platform that would enable greater efficiency and speed to market, relates Bob Reynolds, the carrier's director of life product management. "We have been operating on a homegrown system that is oriented toward our niche product in the adjustable life series," he says. "It didn't lend itself to where we wanted to go next with our product development."

Among the reasons SFG chose AdminServer was that it required less reliance on the vendor to operate, Reynolds says. "We believe that where this system is bringing us will contrast very favorably to the world we came from," he relates. "But that won't come without us being willing to change."

Knocking Down Walls

Among the potential changes are shifting roles permitted by the system's usability. "It used to be that the walls [between business and technology professionals] were very high, and you'd have the coordinator writing business requirements and specifications, the programmer doing all the configuration, and a testing person doing all the testing," Reynolds says. "We're looking to bring those three pieces together with a lot more collaboration."

The system also opens up possibilities for reuse of completed product development work, Reynolds explains. "Actuaries ... can reuse transactions you already have, and, testing-wise, you can reuse scripts."

SFG declines to comment on its investment in the new platform. But, Reynolds says, ROI will be measured in several ways. "You can look at additional premium we're going to be able to bring in because of the increase in speed to market," he says, as well as operational efficiency. "We consider ourselves to be in a three-year sprint toward growth," he adds. "The system will be a catalyst toward getting us there."

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

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