Three questions to ask when buying an insurance core platform

August 27, 2020

Purchasing enterprise software in the insurance industry is often a frustrating, time-consuming process consisting of drawn-out sales demos and little hands-on time with the product. In the end, it might still be unclear to procurement specialists exactly what it is they’re buying, so a tried-and-true legacy platform may feel like the safest choice—“nobody ever got fired for buying IBM,” as the saying goes. However, legacy platforms (whether on-prem or retrofitted for the cloud) no longer meet the needs of modern insurers.

Today’s insurers require agility, flexibility, and speed to develop a wide variety of insurance products and customer experiences, but legacy platforms provide outdated, rigid functionality and can take years to deploy new products or update existing ones. Modern platforms like Socotra are a better solution, but we recognize that the promise of a better platform is not always enough to convince insurers to leave the comfort of their legacy providers.

To compare Socotra to other enterprise insurance software platforms and identify the best choice for an insurer, procurement teams should focus on three questions:

1. Is the platform cloud-native?

Core platforms are the backbone of insurers’ operations, so it’s crucial that they’re fast, reliable, and flexible.

Legacy platforms that have been retrofitted to incorporate cloud capabilities lack the agility and ease of cloud-native platforms. As a result, products built on legacy platforms can take years to develop, but Socotra enables the deployment of new products in months. RGAX, for example, used Socotra to conceive, develop, and launch an innovative new life insurance product in just four months.

Cloud-native core platforms like Socotra enable continuous automatic updates and seamless scaling, eliminating the need for expensive upgrades and on-site maintenance. Where legacy platforms often require time- and labor-intensive manual server updates, cloud-native platforms are self-correcting—they update automatically and involve zero downtime or service interruptions. New features are available and platform upgrades happen automatically through the cloud for all customers on the platform. And to prevent overloading, Socotra’s platform automatically grows and shrinks server space as needed, meaning it can scale to fit the needs of insurers of all sizes.

2. Is the implementation approach flexible? 

Implementing a traditional core insurance platform can be an arduous process. Insurers may have little choice but to enter into expensive consulting contracts with their legacy providers or hire one of several predetermined implementation partners. Onboarding often consists of weeks of training and painstaking customizations, contributing to even longer product development timelines.

Insurers should have a choice and a voice, and be able to handle implementation in a way that works best for their organization, whether internally or with professional services. Because Socotra’s APIs are publicly available and easy to integrate with existing systems, insurers like Mutual of Omaha have been able to implement the platform and create and deploy new products without outside help. Other insurers such as Nationwide have chosen to employ Socotra’s professional services for technical guidance and support.

3. Is a free trial available?

Traditional purchasing processes prioritize dense RFPs and pitch decks and only allow brief “guided walkthroughs” before signing the paperwork. Companies can easily be locked into expensive or unfavorable contracts with products that don’t work as promised.

We are confident in our platform’s capabilities, which is why Socotra offers a 30-day free trial, open APIs, and readily available documentation. Because Socotra is ready to use out-of-the-box and easily configurable, any organization with trial access can immediately begin building a product without the extensive training often required to navigate other insurance core systems.

Making the decision

Choosing an insurance core platform is a critical decision for any business, but it doesn’t have to be an unnecessarily difficult one. Insurers who want to modernize should look for cloud-native platforms that enable agility, flexibility and reliability, and transparent providers with “try before you buy” philosophies.

As the insurance industry continues to evolve to meet the needs of today’s customers and more of the world converts to the cloud, insurers must invest in technologies that offer competitive advantages to ensure success in the years to come.

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