Saturday, June 30, 2007

Insurance book conversion and acceptance testing

This article from Insurance Networking looks at converting a book of business to a new system.

This can be viewed by some as the riskiest part of a new system implementation. However, with proper time and resources, migrations need not be feared. They are all part of the system migration, which is to enable the company to improve its ROI and competitiveness. Each company needs to assess the cost, time and benefits, and if sufficient resources and time are allocated, success is manageable.

In single-phase conversions, all data is converted at one time with two options. Sufficient history levels (number of years) are converted that enables the discontinuance of the existing system. And the latest versions of data are converted to allow the new system to be used for all future transactions. The existing system is retained for a period of time for inquiry purposes into past transactions.

The advantages of a single-phase conversion are that the required resources are used for the lowest amount of time and therefore costs. Longer conversions run the risk of losing some resources, which need to be replaced, leading to a lengthier task.

In a multi-phase conversion, data is segmented by line of business or territory. The initial phase will encompass the installation of the whole system but will include only a portion of the portfolio. This will include underwriting, billing, claims, reinsurance, document issuance, management reporting, financial reporting and bureau filing. Each module will be tested using a portion of the portfolio. The initial phase is comparable to a single-phase implementation as the whole system is tested.

Subsequent phases involve adding other parts of the portfolio. This mostly affects the underwriting system to ensure proper rating, document issuance etc. These are much smaller phases and can be achieved with fewer resources. The portfolio being added needs to be tested through all modules (billing, claims, reporting, etc.). However as these modules have already been tested the additional work relates to tracing the new transactions through the system to ensure that they are being processed correctly.

The multi-phase approach can be implemented where each phase is implemented, user acceptance testing completed and then goes live as they are completed. Alternatively, each phase is completed up to the user acceptance testing, and only after all parts of the portfolio have been completed is the system put into live production.

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