Are Our Systems Modern Yet? Sort Of

The idea early on was to consolidate carriers’ myriad legacy systems onto a single modern platform, but that hasn't quite happened.

As insurers continue to replace core systems in record numbers, at some point one has to ask whether modern systems are in fact the norm rather than the exception. In short, the answer is "sort of."

On the one hand, the percentage of total systems that carriers have in place that have been replaced by modern systems is quite low. Though the idea early on was to consolidate carriers' myriad legacy systems onto a single modern platform, in reality most carriers either replaced systems on a one-for-one basis or simply put in a new system for a new line of business but never migrated additional lines onto that system.

So while implementing a modern system has become a popular path for insurers to take, the overwhelming majority of business processed today is still on legacy solutions. In addition, some of the "modern" systems that were put in place as recently as seven or eight years ago are quickly becoming modern legacy systems themselves. Systems that were built using C++, early iterations of Java or other technologies that didn't scale well, didn't offer an N-tier architecture or didn't lend themselves to easy upgrades or customer/agent-focused user experience won't likely last the 30 years that their predecessors did. Some are already being considered for replacement, and so the cycle begins anew.

Are modern systems the new norm? For those shopping for a new system, absolutely. But if you step into most carriers' home offices, you'll more likely find a legacy system or a mix of old and new. And while the pace of replacement continues to climb, there's still a long way to go before we can say-without qualification-that modern systems are indeed the new norm!

Chad Hersh

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Chad Hersh

Chad Hersh is executive vice president and leads the life and annuity business at Majesco. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, including events by IASA, ACORD, PCI, LOMA and LIMRA, as well as the CIO Insurance Summit.


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