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Research shows insurers want client management software; faster response.

INDIANAPOLIS. Ind. -- One in tour insurance companies will turn to outside suppliers for new software in the next 12 months, according to a recent survey tot PALLM, Inc., a supplier of packaged software.

The trend toward the industry reliance on outside suppliers rather than systems produced in house also continued to gain, according to the survey. In 1986, 74 percent of the companies surveyed reported using packaged self ware compared to 69 percent in 1985.

The survey sample, said the company, included corporate officers and technical staff representing tire insurance companies and property and casualty insurers. Forty-six percent of those responding held positions as president, CEO, executive vice-president or corporate officer, 22 percent vice president of finance, and the balance were vice presidents of MIS, data processing or administration.

The reasons given most frequently for company plans to buy software were "outdated systems" and "slow response times." Other reasons for new systems included support for new products, expansion for future products, and the cost of development in-house.

"Insurance companies are clearly under in tense pressure to update their products, cut costs and find productivity gains at the same time." according to Tom Butters, PALM's Director of Communications "No company can afford to fall behind m its marketing because it lacks necessary system support."

According m Butters, 52 percent of the com panics planning software purchases expect to buy complete systems. The balance will put chase, smaller, individual "function specific" systems.

Of those planning to purchase systems "function specific," 73 percent listed Client Management as the system most important to current needs. Butters says. A Client Management system is described by PALLM as that which allows insurance companies to collect and manage data on an individual policyholder basis. Currently, many companies bare data on individual policyholders entered by policy/product.

Other important areas for companies planning purchases of packaged software in the "function specific" category included insurance and interface with other systems.

Major benefits expected from the investment in software included "more efficiency" (30 percent). "Increased productivity" (23 percent) and "quicker turnaround" (19 percent).

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said costs was the most significant factor concerning system choice, followed by "ability to meet needs/right capabilities" (46 percent). Also important ill vendor selection were support/problem solving (25 percent), reputation (22 percent), and quality/sophistication of product (19 percent).

"A vendor's reputation in the marketplace or its name recognition in the industry may go further than simply securing an RFP (Request For Proposal)." Butters said, "A software company's reputation for service, quality and integrity often makes the difference in licensing a system where maintenance and enhancement agreements are designed to be in effect for years. Clients must not only select a system that fills current and future needs, they must select a vendor that has a reputation for continuing to perform over the long haul."

Butters said the study was the 1986 followup to benchmark research conducted for PALLM by Chilton Research in 1985. Both studies included in-depth interviews with 400 executives in property and casualty and life companies of all sizes.
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Title Annotation:LOOKING BACK ... Insurance Advocate, 25 years ago
Publication:Insurance Advocate
Date:Nov 14, 2011
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