Accenture’s Duck Creek Claims and Guidewire’s ClaimCenter have earned top marks in a just-published benchmarking of 31 claims administration solutions for property and casualty insurers.

The evaluations were conducted by Celent, an industry research and advisory firm, which compared the P&C claims systems based on four key criteria:
•  The level of sophistication and flexibility of the system’s technology
•  The breadth of the system’s functionality
•  The size of its customer base
•  And the depth of the client services provided by the vendor

The Accenture and Guidewire solutions were each ranked first in two of the four categories:  technology and customer service for Accenture, and functionality and customer base for Guidewire.

The Guidewire and Accenture solutions were standouts in what was overall a very strong field, according to Donald Light, a research director with Celent’s Insurance practice and a coauthor of the report. “As a group, vendors continue to make significant investments in their core claims systems,” Light noted. “The solutions are delivering more functionality, improving configuration tools and are more connected, with SOA and web services becoming the de facto standard.”

"There is no single best claims solution for all insurers. There are a number of good choices for an insurer with almost any set of requirements,” added Celent research director, Karlyn Carnahan, the report’s other coauthor. “Every insurer has its own unique mix of lines of business, geography, staff capabilities, business objectives, and financial resources. This unique combination, along with the organization’s risk appetite, will influence the list of vendors for consideration.”

The 31 solutions profiled by Celent included offerings from: Accenture, B2-USA, Brightwork, Cover-All, CSC, DAVID, eBaoTech, EIS Group, FINEOS, Guidewire, Innovation Group, Insuresoft, Insurity, ISCS, JDi Data, MajescoMastek, Max Processing, OneShield, Oracle (Seibel), PCIS, PCMS, Quindell, SAP, , STARS, StoneRiver (two solutions), Systema Software, Tata Consultancy Services, TIA, Vikaran Solutions, and Xchanging.

With more than half of North American property and casualty insurers engaging in some level of replacement or upgrade of their claims administration systems during 2014, the relative merits of different vendors’ solutions is of no small concern to the industry.

The reasons for such activity are plentiful. Many claims systems are aging, making them more expensive to maintain. Older systems are also much less flexible than their modern counterparts with their robust configuration environments. Since these systems routinely embed business rules in code, carriers are constrained from making rapid changes in response to competitive threats and new business opportunities.

Legacy claims systems typically work in isolation from other policy and customer systems, making it very difficult to share data across systems. Further, they were designed to manage the financial aspects of a claim, not the customer service aspect, a telling liability in today’s customer-centric insurance market. It is also increasingly difficult to find technical personal with the requisite skills to support aging technology.

By replacing their claims admin systems, the Celent report’s authors noted, carriers can help achieve multiple business goals, including greater top line growth, improved productivity and expense control, and a establishing a more competitive posture by pricing risks and adjusting claims more accurately.

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