As the technical means to perform a host of core processes, carriers have long relied on their policy administration systems. A new report from Boston-based Celent, “North American Policy Administration Systems 2010: Life, Health, and Annuities ABCD Vendor View,” says given the realities of industry, this choice is an extremely important one.

“Despite the turmoil in financial services generally and among life/annuity insurers in particular, there is still keen interest in renewing and/or replacing policy administration systems,” the report, authored by Craig Weber, SVP of Celent’s Insurance Group, Senior Analyst Jeff Goldberg and Analyst Arin Ray, states. “We believe that these initiatives are necessary to help the industry address service and distribution imperatives.”

Weber says carriers have increasingly capable options from which to choose when selecting a policy administration system.

"Since Celent's 2007 report on the subject, all vendors have made considerable progress in modernizing their technology and in increasing product functionality over the past two years," he says. "For example, every vendor we looked at now supports Web services as an integration method, and virtually every user interface includes major elements which are Web-based."

This report was compiled using Celent’s ABCD Vendor View, which grades systems four elements: Advanced technology and technical flexibility, Breadth of functionality, Customer base, and Depth of client services and solutions.

“This report is intended to help carriers base vendor decisions and strategies on a wider range of factors, including soft but critical factors such as the cultural fit between the insurer and the vendor, and the availability of services that the insurer will require as part of its transformation,” adds Goldberg.

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