Disruption in insurance: not a matter of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when’

January 29, 2018

In an interview on the digital insurance agenda, AXA Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Digital Officer Amelie Oudea Castera talks about the challenges of delivering the Digital Insurance Agenda, the disruption of insurance, and the challenges & success factors of teaming up with Insurtechs.
As a former world champion, Castrera compares the insurance business with a tennis match: “On top of technical skills, insurance requires attention to every detail, a mix of action and anticipation, a capacity to work over the long-term and a lot of technical expertise!”

According to Castrera it is not a matter of ‘if’ there will be a disruption in the insurance industry but a matter of ‘when’. Teaming up with Insurtechs is essential in order to keep up. In her opinion, the greatest challenge for incumbent insurance companies in this cooperation is the cultural gap between the startups and large corporate worlds, including for example the difference in speed of decision-making or the discrepancies in terms of focus (growth vs. profitability).

What we, as legacy transformation experts, find is that legacy environments are often a huge bottleneck that negatively influences exactly those areas. When IT organizations focus on keeping business-critical legacy systems running, valuable resources and huge budgets are taken away from innovation, integration and cooperation.

The moment they decide to get off the mainframe and migrate their legacy applications there is a clear shift in focus which opens the door to innovation. A great example of this is VIVAT, this large insurer encompasses multiple insurance brands (e.g. Reaal Dier & Zorg, Zwitserleven, Reaal, Route-Mobiel and Zelf) and a sustainable asset manager (ACTIAM).

Over the past decades, VIVAT had developed its core insurance systems using the Unisys EAE/LINC programming language running on Unisys Libra 690 mainframes. They found that this environment burdened them with high costs and limited flexibility. After they migrated 15 different applications, of which 8 business-critical, they not only achieved an immediate reduction of 70% on infrastructure and operational cost but there are also new functionalities available that help them realize their growth and innovation ambitions.

Read more here:

Swiss Bank trusts Asysco: New Life for Banca Del Ceresio’s Unisys Legacy

October 16, 2017

NEW LIFE for BANCA DEL CERESIO’s UNISYS LEGACY

Banca del Ceresio has decided to move forward with a migration of their Unisys Libra mainframe system to Asysco’s AMT LION solution. They are a family business offering financial services, headquartered out of Lugano (the biggest city in the Italian-speaking Canton of Ticino, the southernmost canton of Switzerland).

Their only alternative appeared to be a package solution (together with an outsourcing approach). But after their deep analysis of the Asysco solution and gaining more and more trust whilst working with the Asysco professionals, they realized how much more value they would get from the legacy transformation approach. Now, they are looking forward to modernizing their system landscape and taking it to the next level.

As one of their board members put it: “The system needs a new life!”

The engagement started in 2016 with a Site Survey. After that, Asysco supported them on a long “due diligence journey”, which included: various reference calls with successfully migrated Asysco customers, a Proof of Concept for code review, participation at the Atlanta user conference, and multiple technical workshops (one of them at Asysco’s headquarters in the Netherlands).

About Banca del Ceresio

Incorporated in 1958, Banca del Ceresio SA is a Swiss bank that has been active in the financial services industry since 1919. Banca del Ceresio offers private banking, asset management services, financial advice, securities dealing and custody to private clients and institutions, with offices in Lugano, Milan and London.

The Group has developed a world-leading expertise in the management of Funds of Hedge Funds, selecting
the very best talents in the investment universe.
The Group manages several multi-manager hedge funds.

Project Overview

  • Banca del Ceresio is currently running a Unisys Libra mainframe with a DMS II database and approx. 1,000 programs written in the UNISYS proprietary LINC language. This environment is in use since 1996.
  • They have chosen Asysco’s AMT LION solution, enabling them to smoothly transition their development team and keep all the knowledge and skills on board (during and after the project). This flexible approach will allow for an effortless switch to Visual Studio / C# at any moment in the future.
  • The project is expected to be delivered and go live in 2018.

We are wishing the Banca del Ceresio and Asysco teams yet another successful migration project!

The best of both worlds

August 4, 2017

Cobol has been declared dead numerous times over the last decade but is still alive and kicking. Something that cannot be said about the Cobol workforce. Every day, about 10.000 baby boomers are retiring including quite some Cobol programmers. A recent survey conducted on behalf of IBM shows that retirement is the biggest worry in the mainframe world. It is estimated that nearly 20 percent of the programmers are expected to retire within 5 years from now.

Companies still depending on mainframe or legacy systems are concerned about their business continuity and are seeking for ways to outsource their mainframe maintenance. Technology outsourcing firms like Ensono have started to recruit graduate students and outsource them to their mainframe customers after a couple of months of Cobol training.

Question is, can these young programmers replace the wealth of knowledge that the ‘seasoned’ Cobol workforce has? Are they able to correctly interpret the often undocumented treasure of business logic that is built in these legacy systems?

Will they be ‘up and running’ fast enough to fill the hole that the retirement wave leaves? Outsourcing companies benefit of Cobol resource scarcity. Rates and salaries for mainframe programmers and administrators are some of the highest in the IT industry. Starting salaries for college graduates are ranging from $50.000 to $75.000 a year. In combination with the already high mainframe MIPS cost, this cranks up the TCO of legacy systems even more.

Honor the past and embrace the future

Instead of teaching the next generation to work with the old generation’s legacy, wouldn’t it be better to transform the good old stuff into the new world? By taking the valuable knowledge and business logic that resides in legacy systems and transforming that to a modern .NET based environment you will have the best of both worlds.

A fully automated like for like migration will do just that. You will even have the choice of whether to continue programming in Cobol or switch to C#/VB.NET. This way you continue to capitalize on your current Cobol knowledge while opening the door for new technology at the same time. Click here for more information.

Sources:
Grains Chicago Business article by John Pletz

Datacenter Dynamics Article by Max Smolaks

Legacy systems & the Internet of Things

June 9, 2017

Are you ready to jump on the IoT train?

Internet of Things (IoT) is the next megatrend. The 1990s’ fixed internet wave connected 1 billion users while the 2000s’ mobile wave connected another 2 billion. According to a Goldman and Sachs study, the IoT has the potential to connect 10X as many (28 billion) “things” to the Internet by 2020, ranging from bracelets to cars.
IoT will have far-reaching implications that touches every industry, from healthcare to retail to oil and gas exploitation and homebuilding.
Just as the first 2 waves of the internet era led to profound changes in the economy, the IoT will create new winners and losers based on a company’s ability to adapt to a world where things are connected.
Insurance Nexus recently conducted an Insurance IoT Industry Survey which shows that 90% of the 350 respondents agree that IoT will revolutionize the way insurers do business. It also shows that only 7% of the Insurance companies are fully embracing IoT today.

Don’t miss the train of IoT opportunities
The insurance world increasingly embraces IoT initiatives that help reduce risk, improve loss ratios, claim to handle and drive premium growth like:

• Telematics: gathering car data like the history of speed, distance, turning and braking patterns, time of day, etc. to price and maintain “usage-based” insurance (“UBI”).
• Environmental Sensors to detect temperature, smoke, toxic fumes, mold, earthquake motion, etc. With two-way communication, these IoT devices can also provide predictive alerts on potentially dangerous conditions.
• Connected Biometrics. Gathering lifestyle information on daily activities like calorie burn, heart rate and sleep pattern history.
• Diagnostics: Highly intelligent sensors are embedded in many products including appliances, toys, consumer electronics, industrial machines, vehicles, etc.
As manufacturers of these devices embed and enable IoT, predictive and preventative service prior to product breakdown or component failure can be provided.

Mainframe blocking the road to innovation
The new world requires a new approach to new technology. Transforming Legacy Applications is mandatory in order to:

– embrace new technologies, protocols and standards. The ‘old’ mainframe technology makes it difficult to connect to new technologies
– handle data and analytics. Legacy systems are not able to keep up
– deal with security challenges. Cures for new threats are developed for new technologies first
– smoothly connect/integrate all different environments – open systems are much easier connected than mainframe
– avoid exorbitant operational costs. The drastic increase in workload and MIPS will drastically increase the cost
– keep up with the competition. Time to the solution is a major driver in gaining and keeping a competitive advantage. Legacy can be a major road blocker in the race for market share

Conclusion
Innovation is key if you do not want to miss the train of IoT opportunities.
It is clear that the mainframe does not offer the flexibility and agility required to adopt new technologies. Although the transformation of your mainframe environment requires an investment the immediate cost savings, due to drastically reduced operational cost, make the ROI rapid and the investment worthwhile.

Don’t move the legacy issue elsewhere but solve it by truly transforming it….
Check out the success stories

Sources

Goldman Sachs report

Forbes article, 5 ways IoT will change the insurance industry

Asysco raises awareness for the legacy challenge at DIA Barcelona

July 13, 2016

Legacy systems like mainframes, still power the core administrations of many insurance companies. These systems are expensive, inflexible and difficult to integrate with. They negatively impact your ability to innovate and to gain competitive advantage.

Competitive advantage is tightly linked to an organizations’ ability to respond quickly to market changes and customer demands. Innovation is key. Every euro spent on these legacy systems is a euro lost on innovation. The only alternative seems to be to replace the legacy system with a commercial insurance package but that’s not a simple undertaking: implementation takes a lot of time, it usually requires you to adapt your business process and is costly.

Innovation for the finance and insurance industry

Asysco has helped many insurance companies, such as Aegon, Aviva, American Public Life, Cosvi and others to move their core systems to modern technologies in as much as 9 months to 1 year. Once in the new environment, these companies have been able to selectively replace and integrate (parts of) the system in a matter of months allowing much faster innovation with new trends such as mobile, cloud, self-service, business intelligence, data mining and so on.
Legacy is no longer an inhibitor but an asset waiting to be leveraged for business success. Innovation happens much faster than through any other approach and with manageable risk and clear ROI. Imagine all the things you are currently unable to do with the old technologies: real time insight and knowledge, fast and flexible changes, easy and straight through integration with all the solutions presented at DIA Barcelona.

Why was Asysco selected for DIA Barcelona?

Asysco has a long and proven track record in mainframe migration and legacy transformation. Over the years they have completed over 70 migration projects with a 100% success rate. They have never failed a single project. Their Asysco Migration Technology (AMT) and methodology is unique in the market. The key to success is Asysco’s proven automated migration of the entire legacy ecosystem: code, data, batch, scheduling, operations management, security, etc.  are all automatically converted to open systems equivalents delivering a target environment that delivers same or better quality of service (availability, scalability, resilience, manageability, security, …). This combined with their extensive experience and large number of references in the insurance industry makes Asysco a valuable speaker at DIA.

Interview on main stage

Asysco speakers Bernd Sakulski and Suzanne Glorie were interviewed by DIA Asociate and co-founder Conny Dorrestijn who has a long track record in marketing and business development roles in the international financial technology industry.

Click here to see the video