When an insurer plans a system renewal, the primary focus is usually on how the new system supports needs today and in the future. However, few insurance companies start from scratch. Especially within life insurance, policies may be older than 50 years. Therefore, the migration of run-off portfolios usually pops up at some point during the renewal project.

Older systems often have an “uncontrolled flexibility”, a feature that originally was regarded quite handy. Individual policy details could be modified in many ways, and not all information had a designated place or format. Thus, over time, users may have entered the same information in different places and, for example, dates in different formats. Older policies also do not always have all the information required by the new structure; in which case the policy information needs to be enriched. Not to mention file formats, which have changed over the years. There are certainly many more examples. And now, 15–20 years later, when this rather mixed data should be adapted to the structures of the new system, we are faced with a data cleaning task. The scope of a migration project can often be bit of a surprise, but luckily there are tools available to help.

The power of collaboration

In data migration the cooperation between the insurance company and the system supplier is key. The insurance company knows its old products and can foresee some of the challenges in the data structures. The system supplier on the other hand, knows inside out the logic and structure of the new system. When a mechanism for checking the quality and consistency of the data is created in between, even a difficult migration becomes easier.

The three phases of migration

Data migration can be divided into three phases. In the first phase, the migration is planned, and the portfolios are studied to the smallest details. First steps are taken with smaller test data and the creation of data mapping rules starts. At the same time, the insurance company often considers whether some product portfolios can be combined to simplify the management of portfolios in the future.

In the next phase, our conversion tool will take centre stage. It is used to check whether the data to be migrated is consistent and compatible with the new system. Rarely, if ever, is older data ready at once. The conversion tool provides feedback on differences and inconsistencies, such as data fields that cannot be matched in the new structure, missing data fields, or data in an inappropriate format.

This is where the actual data cleaning begins. The same data may be run through the conversion tool several times until it can be stamped as OK. Finally, a policy lifecycle testing will be done to ensure that everything matches in the future as well. For the work to progress promptly, the conversion tool is made available also for the insurance company. Hence, the actual experts of the portfolios and those working on data cleaning can independently test the changes and updates. All in all, a time-consuming phase, but the work is rewarded in the last phase.

The actual migration is often the fastest phase. When the old data has been processed and its compatibility has been verified, this is largely a technical routine, where the converted policies smoothly float into the new system. As a final check, the outcome is reconciled with the source data.

Extensive experience of migrations

In addition to the conversion tool, Evitec Life‘s accurate description of the data structure makes migration work significantly easier. The description gives the customer a clear view of which information is needed and in which format.

At Evitec we have carried out system migrations for several decades. We have converted nearly one hundred portfolios and hundreds of thousands of policies. So, it’s fair to say that our experience has built up over time and our migration process and tools have been put to the test in many demanding projects.

When discussing a system renewal, hot topics are amongst other digitalization, automation, conversions, and migration. And nothing wrong with these, all important factors ensuring the new system operates as whished and delivers the expected benefit. But will a system renewal bring to the users something in addition to a new interface?

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Annika Karppinen, Evitec Life Product Manager

”We’ve always done it like this”

I’m sure we have all sometime come across the saying “we’ve always done it like this”. Same attitude can appear also during a system renewal. When the automatization level increases, the amount of routine manual work decreases. And the logic of the new system might differ from the old one. These factors automatically lead to changes also in work processes. Therefore, a system renewal should be seen as a more holistic renewal, not just a shift in technology. For the users this means getting used to both a new interface as well as new work processes and routines.

Technical and mental transformation

The project team members get to know the new operating platform stepwise. Demos of part deliveries and particularly testing phase are great moments to discuss the functionalities of the new system and listen to the system vendors viewpoints of different solutions. These are also natural moments for reviewing current processes and routines and when needed, form new ones.

Also, the trust in the new system and the rationality for the new work routines build up during the project. Project team members have plenty of time to get used to the changes and go through a mental transformation from the old to the new era.

When the launch approaches and rest of the organisation is brought along, the newcomers will not have the same timeframe for getting acquainted with all new. For them, the pilot phase is often their first touch point with the new system and work processes but as the pilot is a much shorter phase than the project, the rest of the organization needs to absorb all new much faster. Now the project team members have a new important role as the ambassadors of the new ear. They can support and rationalize the new processes and help to smoothen the transition. As the rest of the organization will most likely have same kind of questions as the project team members, so who is better to answer them than those who already have been through this phase.

Adjustable standard system

If some part of the deliverable system does not seem to quite fit into the insurers operations, customer specific adjustments are a good solution. Evitec Life is a standard system developed for life insurers for administering pension, savings and risk insurance policies and claims. Evitec Life has a parametrized product structure allowing a flexible product configuration. Additionally various system functionalities can be modified according to customer needs. Therefore, each delivery is to some extent customer specific, although the base is the same. We are our customers partners and system renewals are planned, tested, and implemented in close co-operation. By this, we can deliver a solution that supports the customers individual products, needs and procedures.


Got interested? Contact sales@evitec.com

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Annika Karppinen, Evitec Life Product Manager

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 Finland Digital and population data services agency (DVV), which is the agency administering the registry of citizens, has already some time ago acknowledged the fact that the current method of forming the personal identification number (PIN) codes identifying individuals, isn’t sustainable in the long run. In addition, the structure of the PIN doesn’t comply with modern privacy protection.  

DVV regularly issues new PINs to individuals born for example in the 20th century. Usually it’s the case of a foreigner in need of a Finnish PIN. As some countries mark in passports all citizens birthdate as 1.1. or 31.12., the need for PINs especially for these dates is higher than average. This in turn means that the variations are running out for the 3 digit long individualising number. This needs to be resolved – very soon. 

In addition to this most acute challenge, there are also some personal privacy issues with the current method of forming a PIN. A PIN, which should solely be a data individualizing a person, reveals in its’ current form the persons birthdate and gender. These should be faded out to make the PIN unambiguously an individualizing data.  

Ministry of Finance initiated in 2017 a pre-study about the PIN renewal. The final report was published in Spring 2020. This has served as a base for the PIN renewal project, which the Ministry of Finance kicked-off in late 2020. But, already in Spring 2021 it was apparent that the time schedule outlined in the final report wasn’t realistic. 

The magnitude of the change is rather evident. PIN tentacles are far reached, and they have often touchpoints with society critical functions, implying that the change will require actions from numerous instances, both officials and the private sector. As many instances are also inter-connected, this will require a good amount of coordination. This, and on the other hand the DVV’s more pressing need to find a solution for the individual number series, is not a straightforward quick fix. Therefore, the full-scale transformation of the PIN will be implemented in phases and in the first phase only the sufficiency of PINs will be resolved.  

For organisations faced with the changes, introducing the changes in phases is slightly annoying. Although a change process is often more controlled when performed in phases, it unfortunately usually also comes with a price tag. Therefore, already while planning for the first phase, it would be beneficial to grasp the final goal and strive to anticipate the following changes right from the beginning. For the PIN change at least three changing factors are already known, middle mark (indicating the birth century), birthdate and gender. When these change, also the method for checking the PIN changes. How well you hit the bulls’ eye with these (assumptions), remains to be seen.  

At Evitec we’re waiting for decisions, as the flexibility of Evitec Life system can in this situation again be demonstrated. None of the currently identified changes are critical for Evitec Life, as PIN is already used as only one dataset identifying a person. Take for instance the birthdate, which often is meaningful in an insurance policy, in Evitec Life it is a separate data field. But, as Evitec Life has extensive integrations and REST services to surrounding instances, dependencies between these will need to be carefully monitored to ensure a smooth change transition.