Issues Facing The Life & Annuity Market: Keeping Up With Technology

Written by: Ron Scheese

The life insurance and annuity industry is rife with difficulties. From regulatory hurdles to economic realities, roadblocks to success are seemingly everywhere.

At Andesa, we’ve been serving the needs of leading carriers and their distributors for more than 30 years. Over that time, we’ve learned to identify the most prominent challenges facing the industry – and help our clients overcome them. This is Part 3 of a multipart series; check back soon for more.

It’s no secret that technology is evolving rapidly – and it’s imperative that insurance carriers (along with their affiliated distributors) keep up. The use of outdated, inefficient, inflexible and non-user-friendly systems can have dramatic negative effects, in both the short and long terms. Increasingly tech-savvy users expect best-in-breed tools, like self-service and mobile capabilities. Likewise, internal users require integrated systems that facilitate superior speed-to-market, create cost-saving efficiencies and support both extremely complex and simple products.

Unfortunately, insurance industry technology does not evolve in a purely linear fashion – “System A is newer than System B, offers more features and increased benefits, and therefore should replace it in all cases.” Tech changes – enterprise-wide, or division-specific – come with dozens of contingencies and challenges attached. What’s right for one insurer, one division, one set of distributors or one set of customers might not be right for another. What’s right for one product line might not be right for another, even within the same corporation.

It’s a vexing proposition. Are existing systems adequate to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow? Is accurate and advanced functionality worth the significant investment that comes with an upgrade or conversion? The technology landscape is constantly shifting – and there is no one-size-fits-all roadmap.

How can an insurer unravel this Gordian Knot? To do so, they need two things: A plan, and a partner.

How can Andesa help?

At Andesa, we’ve spent 30 years helping leading life insurance carriers and distributors work through their toughest technological issues. We take great pride in providing flexible, integrated and cost-effective systems and tools – as well as serving as a trusted, objective adviser.

When it comes to the deployment of new technology at a carrier, we’ve long held true to a single core principle: Any change or upgrade must work as part of a wider strategic plan. Caution and forethought are key. To be successful, an organization must match its technological initiatives to its overall strategic goals for growth and efficiencies.

In practice, that means a carrier should first enlist the help of a partner with the experience to vet how new technology fits into a total strategic vision. A system upgrade, data migration, etc., should only be embarked upon once it’s clear that it supports overall organizational growth and well-being.

Furthermore, any technology deployments should fit within – or at least play nicely with – the carrier’s existing technology blueprint. Andesa systems, for instance, utilize industry-standard software and tools, like Linux and IBM BladeCenter environments and Oracle data warehousing software, rather than custom-built, proprietary solutions. This allows for relatively simple and cost-effective integration with pre-existing technology.

In the 21st Century life insurance business, keeping up with modern technology is key. But it’s far more important to wisely govern and plan changes as far in advance as possible. That means choosing consulting partners and solution providers with the experience and expertise to make new technological imperatives work for the betterment of the organization as a whole.

[cta large]Contact us to learn more about how Andesa Services can help you.[/cta]

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