When Security Benefit Group's senior executives began looking for a new policy administration system in early 2000, the Topeka, Kan.-based carrier wanted to replace its twin mainframe systems with one platform and eliminate all or most its mainframe-based applications.In April 2000, the carrier selected NaviSys Home Office and had it fully operational eight months later in January 2001. (SBG fully retired its two mainframe systems in August 2002.) NaviSys, based in Edison, N.J., provides platform-neutral software solutions and strategic counsel.

SBG chose to implement NaviSys' solution using UNIX/Sun Solaris and Windows NT with an Oracle database. The NaviSys tool set is a PowerBuilder front end and a C++ engine.

When it switched over to NaviSys Home Office, Security Benefit eliminated at least a dozen dusty applications and reduced system complexity. "During system conversion, we were able to put 11 existing fixed annuity products up on the system in a weekend, and we finished testing in eight weeks," says David Keith, senior vice president and CIO of IT at Security Benefit Group.

NaviSys' product configuration tools use component-based technology and a graphical user interface. Business analysts use the graphical interface to set up all attributes of the product including pricing, riders, loading of actuarial information and commission rates.

"We haven't eliminated all need to perform application development, but we've significantly reduced it," Keith says. In the past, the IT department was on virtual 'standby alert' to make product changes at the whim of the business side without much regard to cost-benefit analysis.

Today, Security Benefit can quickly determine whether or not profit margins can support a product change that costs $200,000 to $300,000 to implement.

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