Agile Car Insurance

Dang, I really thought hard about having this article be funny, witty, and smart. But all I ended up with was some recent news:

First Insurance Company of Hawaii (FICOH), a property and casualty insurer, has implemented ISCS’s SurePower Innovation Policy Administration Suite for its new personal lines auto business. FICOH vice president, personal lines Tony Abad said ISCS’s agile methodology enabled them to draw on our critical staff for intensely-focused and manageable periods of time that minimized the long-term time commitment other technology development methods required. The team could see and react to the emerging solutions in a much tighter response cycle.

This is a sure #win for the small-time auto insurance company. Are the bigger insurance companies taking notice?

[More on insurance] – At most insurance companies, the software development process is highly inefficient and many have experienced major multi-million dollar software development failures. Improving software development processes is critical for achieving objectives.

Other financial services verticals, such as banks and hedge funds, were early adopters of agile processes, while insurance companies tended to lag behind or experiment on a relatively small scale. Most insurance company IT leadership has focused on lowering the costs of their software delivery model by outsourcing to offshore firms. This approach immediately delivers a lower cost per unit of labor; however, it comes at an extremely high and unanticipated cost: it dramatically increases the complexity of the software delivery model, making it much less nimble. Many find that efficient, timely delivery of high quality software remains extremely elusive.

Currently, almost all insurance companies have become familiar with these practices and are using some form of agile software development, especially for their leading edge and web development projects.

The barriers to successful agile software development process can be complex and span a wide range of challenges, including organizational and vendor management issues, an inability to gain the necessary cooperation from the business community, technical barriers, or resistance to agile practices within the IT organization.

[HT: Technology in Insurance]

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