4 Sep 2013

Integration helps insurance firms face their business challenges

Integrella are gaining more and more enquiries from the Insurance sector, so we decided to have a look at the Industry trends and determine why. Mulesoft, one of our integration platform partners have written the following whitepaper: ‘The 3 Top Challenges for Insurance Firms …and how Application Integration can help solve them’. The points that they made within this paper say a lot for what is happening in the insurance sector and how integration can help insurance companies thrive.

For those of you that are just too busy to get stuck into an 8 page document, here is a summary of the key points that we found particularly interesting.

The three main determinants of growth for any insurance firm as reported by PricewaterhouseCoopers are to enhance distribution, customer-centricity and product and service innovation, customisation and simplification.
Mulesoft pointed out that the speed a firm can adapt to emerging opportunities can define its success. While insurance firms generally have a well-constructed IT infrastructure, this infrastructure is often rigidly tied to particular business processes and difficult to adapt to new opportunities.

Product distribution:

The dominant distribution model for many firms is shifting. Agent-based direct sales is being replaced by new models such as online direct sales and sales through independent agents. The integration of existing systems such as claims management, policy management and document management, with new software applications is a huge challenge faced when firms are seeking to build new distribution models.

The pitfalls that some firms may fall into include rejecting middleware approaches and opting for direct integration. This only furthers the calcification of the organisation’s IT infrastructure. Another pitfall highlighted by Mulesoft is adopting overly complex architecture. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) stacks promise a solution to any difficulties, but often fail to achieve their stated goal.

The solution to this is to use a lightweight, standalone Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). This delivers superior time to ROI and reduced overall cost compared to alternatives.

Customer Service:

In recent years, customers have become accustomed to real-time rich experiences. Customer retention is all about meeting these expectations and delivering quality interactions. Firms that use technology to provide an increased service on a 24/7 basis have outperformed those that have not.

Increasingly customers demand real-time information on mobile devices. So firms must support web applications as well as a native experience on a range of platforms. Customers will expect to file claims directly from accident scenes and doctor’s surgeries.

The solution is to create an integration layer between systems and these new applications. A flexible ESB is perfect for this challenge as it allows data to be easily exposed as services that can be consumed by both web and mobile applications. It is easily adaptable to new interaction mediums as they arise. This architecture supports a sustainable customer intimacy strategy.

Product and Service Innovation, Customisation and Simplification:

The wealth of available customer data allows firms to better meet customer needs while improving profitability. A way firms can gain a competitive advantage is through strategies such as bundling, mass customisation and new product development. These product innovations often require integration of previously siloed systems across or even outside the organisation.

A lightweight ESB proves equally powerful in solving the product innovation challenge. The main difference being firms must expose even more systems and build even more complex composite applications to enable product innovation. A flexible ESB is simply the only way to achieve such a task in a competitive timeframe.

To read Mulesoft’s whole report, click here.

The most successful firms in the insurance industry utilise integration middleware that enables rapid deployment, quick developer onboarding and faster integration. If you are facing any of these challenges and need some consulting or project delivery for Mulesoft integration projects, contact Integrella. We have a wealth of experience in using Mulesoft and have frameworks in place. We are confident we can deliver your project up to 60% faster.
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