Pensions seem to be a hot potato in the EU.
Last Autumn during the European Retirement Week Insurance Europe published the results of a survey on how EU citizens are preparing for their livelihood during retirement. The comparison between the 16 countries participating in the survey, revealed that only 40 % of Finns are privately saving for retirement. The overall average was 62 %, leaving Finns far behind. On the other hand, the Finnish national occupational pension system has been ranked as one of the best in the world in many studies, but will the base pension be enough for future pensioneers? A good question anybody should occasionally ponder on.
The same question has been raised in EU in larger scale. Within EU there are several undertakings aiming at encouraging citizens to private pension saving. PEPP (Pan-European Personal Pension) aims at lowering the barrier for starting pension saving, in addition to which EIOPA (European Insurance and Occupational Pension Association) recently commented EC’s proposal on how to increase EU citizens knowledge of their future retirement income level.
The proposed Pension Tracking System (PTS) would combine all pension saving, both statutory and private. This would give a realistic and up-to date view of the overall retirement income. Seven EU countries already have this implemented, amongst others Sweden and Denmark. The Finnish Pension record is a good start but as it collects only the information of the statutory pension, it should be extended to also compile the information of private pension savings. And although the many law changes regulating pension saving have practically halted the sales of pension insurance, many Finns still have such agreements from earlier days. These savers would certainly benefit of being able to follow-up on the overall situation.
PTS emphasizes on clarity and compressing the information to the most essential parts. Nothing odd, just basic information that can be found in a pension insurance administration system and which is easily transmitted from a modern system. Evitec’s Evitec Life policy administration solution is already equipped with numerous digital interfaces to various external parties, so adding one more is no big task.
But who in Finland would take the lead in developing a PTS? The occupational pension carriers and the Finnish Centre for Pensions administers the current Pension record, but private pension insurances are sold by life insurers. In Sweden the public and private sector have combined their efforts to develop the local PTS, i.e. the Minpension portal. Could similar willingness be found in Finland to promote a common cause?
In this blog I will give my views on the Swedish occupational pension, what are the drivers for core system changes and what Evitec is offering to the Swedish life insurance companies.
Swedish occupational pension
Swedish occupational pension was introduced to the labor market as a safe complement to the national pension (folkpensionen) back in 1913. The occupational pension’s importance for the total pension have increased over time and will be even more important in the future. Occupational pension is also getting more relevant for the younger audience due to the last years news and discussions about the pressure on the pension system and the need to start saving for your own pension early on in your career.
Drivers for core system changes
Insurance companies are facing pressure to be fast and agile in order to deliver modern and digitalized customer services. When adding new customer services, which in itself can be quite small projects, it might lead to long and complex, and in many cases, very expensive IT projects that in the end is impossible to do. The reason for this is in many cases caused by the old and outdated IT systems. The IT systems were built for decades ago and are lacking API’s (application programming interface) and real-time transactions for modern online services. Another challenge is the constant demand from regulators and authorities that eats up a large portion of the IT budgets. Then, there’s internal demands on improved efficiency and lower cost of operations.
When it comes to new technologies the insurance companies need to look at an arsenal of technologies as; blockchain, AI, machine learning, Big Data analytics, robo-advisors and IoT. These technologies are drivers for extended user experiences and services. Customers are getting more tech savvy and they are demanding an increasing level of tailored services and fast answers to their questions.
The digitalization agenda with the increased demands for new services and fast go from market launch of new insurance products are already today heavy and will most likely increase further in the future. In order to satisfy the current demands and to be prepared for the future, the insurance companies need to clean up their IT stack and renew their core systems. If not, it will be a never-ending story with IT patchwork and a spaghetti IT architecture that just make it even more challenging to handle with increasing operational expenses as time goes on.
Evitec’s offering to the Swedish life insurance companies
Evitec Life is a life and pension insurance solution for the Swedish occupational pension market. Evitec Life includes support for key business processes including insurance product management, sales, digital services, claims and claims management. The solution includes services, tools and mandatory system integrations to effectively run an insurance business that meets the regulatory requirements.
Evitec’s advanced solutions are the result of faithful and sustainable work in the financial industry since 1992. We understand our customers’ needs and adapt our solutions to build world-class IT-systems. We continuously renew and develop our working methods and our product range.
Read more about our Swedish occupational pension offering.