November 02, 2010

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (a subsidiary of Allianz SE, Munich; $129.9 billion in annual revenue) has licensed the Accenture Life Insurance Platform (ALIP) and has engaged the Accenture as its implementation partner as part of a multi-year, mult-imillion dollar agreement. Allianz Life will use the platform to enhance product development capabilities and improve customer service by providing a single platform for its variable and fixed annuities business.

“We selected Accenture to replace our policy administration platforms as part of a multi-year effort,” comments Cathy Mahone, senior VP of enterprise operations, Allianz Life. “We want to lay a foundation to create and deliver retirement products faster to our customers, enhance customer service and support changing distribution.”

Currently Allianz Life offers variable annuity products through its broker/dealer distribution channel and fixed annuities to its field marketing distribution. “In the marketplace the distribution is converging, but today we are on two separate platforms — it’s almost as if we are two different companies in our infrastructure,” explains Mahone. “If everything is on the same system, we will be able to align the rules and service across the different product lines.”

Allianz Life’s current system for variable annuities requires an increasingly unacceptable length of time to develop products in what Mahone characterizes a relatively inefficient and costly manner. She adds that, following a rigorous selection process, Allianz identified ALIP as an industry-leading option in terms of its ability to deliver speed-to-market.

“One of the things we’re most excited about is the system’s configurability,” Mahone says. “That will allow us to move faster to deliver innovative products and services more efficiently to the marketplace.”

In addition to ALIP’s capabilities, Mahone cites a durable, successful relationship between Allianz and Accenture. “Accenture is an industry leader in this space, and we have a long partnership and a real track record with the firm,” she notes. Allianz’s confidence in the success of what Mahone sees as a three- to four-year initiative is reinforced by Accenture’s participation in the insurer’s governance process. “Confidence in the project comes with having the right partner, but also having the right governance,” she elaborates. “Part of that is having Accenture represented on our steering committee so that there is the right accountability on both sides.”

Allianz plans to install ALIP into its systems environment during 2011, according to Mahone. “In 2012 we expect to launch our first variable annuity product on the system, and in 2013 we’ll add fixed annuities as well,” she says.

With ALIP in place, Allianz will be able to address ongoing changes in demand for variable and fixed annuity products, Mahone asserts. “As the market moves, definition of products will change, but this will give us the ability to move with the market,” she says.

ALIP became an Accenture asset with the acquisition of Navisys in 2006, since which time the company has continued to invest in improvements to the platform, according to Mitchel Ludwig, a senior Accenture executive and the ALIP product lead. Ludwig says that it was important to Allianz to identify a packaged software option as opposed to a customized option. “They stressed not only having a partner, but one with a product that had a road map and long term vision — a plan to grow independently of them,” he says. Having a formal multi-year product release strategy, Ludwig adds, “Allianz would be able to take advantage of a platform that was growing alongside them as well.”

Mahone said she could not be more specific about the terms of the mult-year, multi-million dollar agreement. “We’re just planning it out now,” she comments. “Next year we’ll hook everything up; we’re trying to figure out now what it will take to do that.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek ...