Socotra’s Four Principles of Product Development
March 9, 2020
Socotra’s approach to product development allows insurers to achieve new levels of agility.
As insurance needs evolve and new categories emerge, it’s becoming more important for insurance companies to quickly and thoughtfully develop innovative products that meet their customers’ wishes. To do this, insurers need a modern, enterprise-grade core system that enables them to rapidly design and deploy new products that are as complex or as simple as they need to stay competitive. As we continue to add new features to Socotra, we follow four principles of product development. These principles allow our customers to achieve new levels of agility, whether this means pursuing the launch of a new product in a rapid timeframe, or making daily rate changes for an existing book of business that runs on Socotra.
1. Coherence is key
To provide the best platform to our customers, we believe it is more important to develop a coherent product than a “complete” one. Insurance technology companies trying to develop “complete” products aim to offer an onslaught of features, but they often fail to thoughtfully evaluate how all of the pieces of their products fit together. As a result, their products are slow, clunky, hard to navigate, and frustrating to use.
By prioritizing coherency over completeness, we ensure that every piece of our product offering is intentionally integrated, allowing insurers who use Socotra to configure their entire product definition in one place — the platform will automatically carry that product configuration across the entire policy lifecycle, from quote to claim (including billing and reporting). This saves our customers valuable time and money and is one of the reasons why insurance companies using Socotra increase their speed to market and reduce upfront capital expenditures.
2. APIs matter
At Socotra, APIs matter. First, we start with well-designed, intuitive APIs. From the beginning, when planning a new feature, we start by carefully crafting the APIs. This is a valuable exercise because an intuitive API can easily be extended and integrated with multiple systems. At Socotra, we understand the value of being able to move quickly in an industry that is fraught with competition and constantly challenged by upstarts. That’s why we’ve worked hard to ensure that our clients have access to powerful APIs to develop best-in-class insurance products that cover new, emerging risks.
Second, we ensure that our APIs are openly available. By doing so, Socotra makes it significantly easier for insurers to learn about our platform and integrate it with their systems, in the same way that they can seamlessly integrate Stripe as their payment processor or use Twilio to engage with customers. And you don’t have to take my word for it — you can see the APIs for yourself at docs.socotra.com.
3. A true product saves our customers time and money
Any core insurance system that isn’t immediately ready to use because it requires customization and professional services to deploy is not a true product. It takes all other core systems a substantial amount of insurers’ time and money before they can even access an environment to start building a product. Why would any insurer intentionally start behind schedule and incur significant costs without first having a working proof of concept?
As a real product that customers can begin using on day one, Socotra delivers immediate business value. Socotra is the only insurance core system that offers a complimentary license and readily available documentation, enabling customers to try Socotra before they buy. We remove the pain of long lead times for customization on legacy core systems so that insurers can focus on better serving their customers.
4. Complexity kills
Socotra is a nimble system: it’s light and flexible. Compared to traditional core systems, it’s far simpler to understand and embed at the heart of any insurance business. This results in radical reductions in system implementation time and cost. Because of this, it’s natural to think that “light and flexible” means limited capabilities, but this isn’t necessarily so.
We’ve observed that complexity kills core system projects, and we’re dedicated to reducing complexity whenever it rears its ugly head. By using modern software development patterns — including prioritizing our APIs, microservice architecture, and building in the cloud — we keep complexity in check and expand our feature breadth and capabilities while maintaining the solution’s nimble foundation. This means that as our customers’ needs grow, Socotra will be ready to meet them with a system that adapts and scales, while keeping costs and timelines as small as possible. In this way, we’ll support the needs of all our customers, from small greenfield projects to the largest insurance businesses in the world.
At Socotra, we’re excited about our product vision and the ability to partner with insurers to deliver true business value. We believe our thoughtful approach to product development will help move the industry forward onto a modern, flexible core platform that helps meet the current and future demands of insurers everywhere.