Upgrading Legacy Technology in the Insurance Industry

by  Roi Agababa  |  4 May 2017

We've covered before how many businesses in the insurance industry are using a collection of software (or a 'stack') that's unfit for the ultra-competitive business environment that is modern insurance.

Unequipped with the tools they need to do their jobs, insurance agents/brokers are effectively sleepwalking into fastest period of technological change in history.

Being hopelessly outdated and not cloud-based, legacy technology in the insurance industry is simply incapable of helping you meet the needs of the modern insurance customer.

Undoubtedly, to successfully emerge from the current crunch, you must upgrade your systems to remain competitive.

The main question is, however, how best can you initiate the process of upgrading your technology stack?

'Rip and replace', add an innovation ‘layer’, or build your own stack?

When it comes to overhauling major business IT systems, there have traditionally been three main methodologies to choose from:

1. 'Rip and replace'

As its name suggests, this involves completely replacing a legacy system with a tool that is more suited to a modern business's needs.

This method can be highly effective if you use the right technology, such as Novidea’s end-end solution, which was built from the ground up specifically for insurance distribution. Otherwise, such modernization efforts could turn out to be too complex, time-consuming, and rife with the potential for data loss and failure, should something go wrong.

2. Adding an innovation 'layer' over existing, underlying technology

This is a quick-fix that can be done in order to add newer functionalities, such as cloud connectivity, to archaic technology.  

This tactic is usually strongly supported by IT professionals, 92% of whom said that they believed that they could (and would rather) try to 'breathe new life' into the majority of existing, legacy, systems in their workplaces. But, just like a face-lift doesn’t actually make you younger, an innovation ‘layer’ doesn’t really improve your systems. There is no guarantee that it would effectively solve problems identified in specific areas of the technology stack that require easier, more efficient workflows.

3. Building your own stack

You can truly transform your agency/brokerage by building your own stack, entirely.

This digital 'pure play' strategy involves evaluating your business needs and assembling the technology to handle all the moving parts of your agency. However, this can be extremely costly, time-consuming and resource-intensive -- on an on-going basis.

While each of these methodologies have the potential to solve your technology upgrade challenges, they clearly have downfalls that make them less than ideal.

So, what should you do, instead?

A modular solution is the key

The new and improved method for upgrading systems is: Adopt modular technology.

Working with a modular and flexible technology provider, such as Novidea, can afford you the ability to adopt a dual speed approach for modernizing your technology stack. This is a more sensible strategy for those looking to maximize the technology at their disposal while hedging the risks inherent in the three traditional upgrade strategies, discussed above.

Such an approach may mean ripping and replacing those areas of your existing stack truly beyond salvaging while integrating with, and improving upon, those that still have inherent value.

Rebuilding your stack in this manner will allow your agency/brokerage to step forward into the digital age without potentially compromising your entire technical setup.

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