What’s In Your Toolbox?

Imagine you have some new friends coming over for dinner. You really want to make a good impression, but your house has a few things that need to be fixed. While not many friendships are lost over broken screen doors, shabby paint, or a picture that needs to be hung, it would better if things were in order. Your honey-do list has been escalated to a more urgent status. What you do next will depend upon your level of skill (are you handy?), the resources available (do you have the right tools?), and how much time you have before you guests arrive (how urgent is your need?). This scenario is similar to situations insurers find themselves in when it comes to maintaining and updating their core systems.

Almost all of the insurers we talk with want to do more themselves, with less reliance on their own busy IT departments and self-sufficient from third-party vendors. Imagine being an insurer, moving your office location, and having all your bills and other print output continue to go out with your old address for more than a month. Imagine that being the result of a third-party vendor that said it would manage all changes in the system, with no provision for you to make your own changes. If you think that can’t happen, maybe it’s because it hasn’t happened to you … yet.

Well, Yeah …

The situation above is exactly why modern core systems come with toolsets that empower users to make significant design, configuration, and product-maintenance changes on their own, if they want to (most do at some level). The skillsets required have evolved from programming to drag-and-drop WYSIWYG tools and proficiency with Microsoft Word and Excel. And why would you want to pay a third party to make mundane changes to verbiage in forms and addresses or minor tweaks to rating algorithms. In many cases, the time required to request a change from a third party exceeds the time it would take to do it yourself. The vendors will always be there to help pick up the slack if resources or timing are an issue.

Going back to our analogy, why wait for (and pay) a handyman to tighten some hinges or drive some nails — if you can even find a reliable handyman? If you prefer to have someone else do things or you’re too busy for home projects, that’s one thing. But doesn’t it at least make sense to have the ability and the tools if you have to do things yourself? What are the risks if you can’t?

Maybe most important: What will your new friends (and policyholders) think?

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