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'Configurable' the cutting edge


Insurance technology experts say “configurable” policy administration and billing systems are the latest trend in industry technology, helping speed programming updates for such systems.

Older systems are typically known as “customizable” systems, which require programmers to rewrite the system's core programming code in order to make simple policy changes and other system updates. Newer systems often are “configurable,” meaning that policy or billing changes can be made to the system without altering the system's central programming.

“If you think about ... Microsoft Office, you can heavily customize the way those programs look, feel and work, but you don't actually touch the code of the systems,” said Chad Hersh, a partner in the insurance practice at New York-based research and advisory services firm Novarica.

Configurable systems allow information technology professionals to make faster changes to insurance technology systems, and can sometimes allow non-IT personnel to make simple updates without help from IT professionals.

“It's just faster, easier, cheaper to go the configuration route rather than the customization route,” said Donald Light, San Francisco-based director of the Americas property/casualty practice for Celent L.L.C.

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