A focus on the end user is guiding policy administration system purchasing decisions by carriers, a new survey says. The report, “What Commercial Lines Carriers Expect From a Policy Administration System,” was published by New York-based research and advisory firm Novarica and queried carriers about their preferences in this most core of core systems.

Novarica Principal Chad Hersh, who co-authored the report with analyst Tse Wei Lim, says the research shows that carriers have come to realize the centrality of user experience in policy administration systems. “What jumped out at me more than anything was the extent to which user experience is absolutely critical,” Hersh tells Insurance Networking News.

Elsewhere, the survey revealed diverging expectations between small and large carriers over functionality. While best-of-breed solutions have long dominated the market, end-to-end solutions are beginning to pique the interest of small carriers. Indeed, while 42% of small carriers said they wanted their PAS to include a claims component and 50% said they wanted a bundled billing option, no large carriers surveyed felt a commercial lines PAS needed to have claims or billing.

Hersh credits this nascent interest in end-to-end solutions to the macroecomic climate and changing market dynamics. For years, the choice was roughly between modern, point solutions and older, more fully functional solutions. Now, systems that combine full functionality with modern technology are entering the market.

“There are starting to be some more modern, end-to-end offerings.” Hersh says, noting these integrated solutions may well appeal to smaller carriers with limited staff and/or dollars to apply toward integration.

What’s more, these solutions may afford carriers a quicker return on investment.  “A complete end-to-end solution may save years,” Hersh says. “It may take as few as 18 months, versus four to five years and multiple projects for best-of-breed approach.”

As for technology, respondents seemed to favor systems built on .NET than on java. “.NET makes more sense in light of current economic climate,” Hersh says. “It may be proprietary, but it is Web-focused, and has a nicer UI than Java.”

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