40/10 – Insurance/Guidewire

~ by Berney Bradley

Insurance Technology – A Lagging Indicator

There was a time when my career path was considered pretty lame. In the 80’s and 90’s, as technology began to boom throughout the economy, most of my peers were jumping from industry to industry, following the latest technical fad and building a resume of technical expertise. I, on the other hand, plodded along in the Property and Casualty Insurance industry; focused on applying technology in an industry that was resistant to change.

Those were the good old days 🙂 but the times they are a-changin’ (Bob Dylan 1964)

The Insurance Technology Industry is About to Change Rapidly

Some would say this industry is still on the dull side, but I’ve never seen it that way. My interest has always been around the foundational aspects of the industry; how insurance has driven social progress by reducing financial risk and enabling investment in new ventures. Today, with the explosion of technology and new capabilities, insurance professionals need more information and better ways to transact business and analyze risk.

Things are about to change rapidly. Look at how COVID-19 has altered behavior around the world in such a short period of time. Consider how quickly the auto industry embraced driver assist features and even self-driving technologies. Exactly how do you assess the risk factors of a traffic violation for going 90 miles an hour … while sleeping!?

Insurance Companies Now Have to Address Rapid Changes in Information and the Behaviors it Affects

In the past, insurance companies only had to deal with changes in physical technology: Ledgers to Mainframes to Minicomputers to Personal Computers to the web and mobile devices. Now the industry has to deal with rapid changes in information and the behaviors it affects. Other industries are already tapping into the vast personal information that is available on mobile devices and social media. How will the insurance industry take advantage of these opportunities?

How Does a Risk Adverse Industry Address these New Information Challenges?

Will it throw caution to the wind and spare no expense? Probably not. Instead, insurance companies will assess the business value of these investments and tailor expenses to achieve the greatest value. That is where the industry expertise of a specialist insurance IT services vendor like CastleBay is most valuable.

Business Value Alignment Is Key to a Successful Implementation

For the past 10 years, I have been helping companies implement the Guidewire InsuranceSuite platform. It is a well-engineered set of software that can be adapted to efficiently address a broad spectrum of business processes and insurance products. I’ve seen several companies use it effectively to significantly improve their business both with regard to financial results and improved customer experience.

Customization of a Package Solution is Always a Double-Edged Sword

From a cost perspective, staying closer to “base” lowers the total cost of ownership but there are times when the business benefits far outweigh that expense. There are also times when your company will head down the “we’ve always done it this way” path without a good reason. Finding that balance and knowing when to customize versus when to adapt is critical to the success of every implementation.

This is an area where Guidewire has really upped their game over the past few years with their formal value alignment process. When combined with the expertise that CastleBay brings to a project, our customers are preparing for the future and the speed to market it will demand.

Why is this Applicable or Relevant to CastleBay and the Industry in General Terms?

It is relevant because CastleBay is an organization of top-tier technical talent with extremely rich insurance industry experience. We are uniquely qualified to compliment the value alignment strategies of the major vendors and guide our customers through successful implementations.

Berney is a 40-year veteran of the insurance IT industry. He has demonstrated expertise in most of the major functional areas and systems in the industry including most recently Guidewire v7 – v10.