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?
”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 email@example.com