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Technology speeds rollout of insurance products, services: IASA panel

Technology speeds rollout of insurance products, services: IASA panel

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Insurers' increased use of software as a service and cloud computing opens many new possibilities, including bringing new products and services to market faster, experts said during the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association Inc.'s annual conference.

Speaking Monday during a panel discussion, Don Harrell, New York-based senior vice president of marine at Liberty International Underwriters, said that the fact that cloud-based software can help insurers cut the time to market for a new product is a major benefit of using cloud-based software compared with traditional on-premise software.

“A big issue for insurance companies is how to get a product out quickly,” Mr. Harrell said during the conference in National Harbor, Md. “Being in a long software development cycle does not meet our needs, especially in a changing environment of soft markets and hard markets.”

Donald Light, San Francisco-based director of the Americas property/casualty practice for insurance advisory firm Celent L.L.C., agreed that speed of deployment is a primary benefit of cloud-based software.

“Speed plays an important role,” Mr. Light said. “It means faster availability of new product, channel and market initiatives.”

Chad Hersh, a partner in the insurance practice at New York-based research and advisory services firm Novarica, said cloud-based software limits customization options. “Cloud offerings are faster to deploy than on-premise software because you really can't monkey with it.”

Mr. Harrell agreed that a good, configurable solution brought into service quicker often is preferable to a highly customized solution that took additional time to perfect.

“Configuration of cloud-based applications is better than reinventing the wheel,” Mr. Harrell said.