In some ways, cloud computing is somewhat immature. It's a bit of a solution looking for a problem. In general, the property and casualty industry is underserved by software.
The benefits of cloud are about ease of use, quick rollout and ubiquity around the world. There's a physical advantage. And if I'm using someone else's hardware and software, there's a nice capital relief for me.
The risks, however, currently outweigh the benefits. The risks are things like managing personally identifiable information (PII). Who's managing my data? Who manages the liability -- especially given that every state has its own rules and regulations and ultimately, I'm now dependent on somebody else?
General availability is an issue as well. I know how I operate in my own data center and my own service levels, but now I have to worry about each of the cloud providers. Continuity can also be an issue. Given the immaturity of the space, particularly in the P&C area, what happens if the cloud providers go out of business? Where does my data go? How do I get it back? What does it do to my credibility, policyholder relationships, etc.?
Cloud is exciting, but to me, it's a bit of a buzzword right now. I would consider using it on the periphery of my business for functions such as billing and maybe for some human resources functions. We're currently researching some cloud-related solutions right now with companies such as ADP and our benefits provider, but that's more for our own employees than for our policyholders and agents.