Jamaica’s National Commercial Bank Insurance Company Limited (NCBIC) wanted to expand its business and add new products. Core system replacement became a necessary part of the project when the insurer found that its legacy system would not support such growth.
“The real value proposition for us is to grow our market share,” said Vernon James, general manager of insurance at National Commercial Bank of Jamaica, in a presentation at Oracle Industry Connect held last week in Boston.
NCBIC provides individual and group insurance, pensions and annuities. It wants to add more insurance coverage to current products, increase the variety of its offerings and expand its reach outside Jamaica.
However, the company’s older, fragmented policy administration systems would not allow it to cost-effectively develop products and implement enhancements. Using older systems was expensive, James explained, and impeded speed to market. NCBIC sought a modern, flexible and configuration-based application that would decrease costs, boost its online presence, support expansion and provide a singular interface through which agents could sell and service products.
NCBIC chose the Oracle Insurance Policy Administration (OIPA) system based on its proposal and demo, in addition to the successful relationship it already had with the company. Oracle’s brand recognition also played a role, as NCBIC believed that it would inspire confidence in its customers.
James explained that OIPA will lower the costs associated with maintenance and new product introduction. It will help NCBIC better adhere to regulatory requirements, more efficiently analyze data, monitor insurance across product lines, and improve user satisfaction through improvement in transaction processing.
The OIPA system is integrated by Equisoft, which provides business solutions to meet the needs of its clients in the financial sector. Over the course of the implementation, ownership of the system will gradually transition from Equisoft to NCBIC. Equisoft will also provide training to NCBIC specialists, who will then instruct the sales, customer service, marketing and operational staff on how to use the system.
NCBIC chose to use a phased implementation for the project, with the more complicated products being entered in the final phase. This way, James said, the employees at NCBIC will have time to familiarize with the system and become comfortable with configuration by the time the system integration gets more complicated.
After each phase of the implementation, there will be a six-month review. The project currently is in the final stages of phase one, which started around July 2013 and is expected to go live in June of this year. The insurer is developing thirty interfaces, sixteen of which are completed. All interfaces will be finished by March 14, James said.
“We had to take a big, bold approach to our implementation because there was no other approach we could take,” said James, who also noted that there wasn’t much about the implementation that he would have changed. “So far, our project has been challenging and we have learned quite a bit from the process. But from where we sit … we should get there for June.”