Industrywide ChallengeBy Jill Gambon | Posted 2006-11-06 Print
The Swiss insurer adopted service-oriented architecture to help integrate its acquisitions in five other countries.
The business challenges facing Helvetia are not unique. Many insurers have been around for decades, often supporting an overwhelming number of administrative processes such as claims management, billing and policy management. Products developed at different times are often isolated in legacy systems, which limits the amount of account and financial information available in real time and hinders a company's ability to collaborate with external partners, says Barry Rabkin, senior research analyst at Financial Insights, a consulting firm that advises the financial-services industry on technology.
"You can't be agile with six to 12 core administrative systems," he says. By using the SOA approach of open, standards-based systems and making use of reusable components to build applications, insurers can streamline operations and be better prepared to pounce on new business opportunities, Rabkin says. While some U.S. insurers such as The Hartford, Fireman's Fund Insurance and St. Paul Travelers have adopted SOA with some success, few European insurers have gone that route, he adds.
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