Why Insurance Experts Should Lead Software Configuration

by Bob Cericola and Mark Nawrath

Adding products to legacy software or to new software system implementations has long been a challenge for insurance companies. While developing your insurance products and filing with the Departments of Insurance (DOIs) in the states where you write business, concurrently defining product requirements and setting up testing can be a considerable challenge if you are working with software vendors who have limited experience managing the complexities of insurance.

Partnering with actuarial and insurance technology experts helps you sidestep common pitfalls so you can bring your new products to market faster. When decades of experience providing actuarial consulting services meet proven insurance technology implementation support expertise, you end up with more accurate, useful insurance product requirement definitions that streamline the path to success.


Though insurance software products are all based on unique, carrier-specific requirements, many share baseline similarities that general software vendors overlook. For example, instead of building systems with the perspective that “this is a uniform product with deviations and company-specific information to match 51 jurisdictional filings,” many software vendors inefficiently capture requirements and re-build the same software 51 times. This lack of expertise slows implementation timelines and exposes your organization to compliance violations – all of which drain the project’s budget and impede speed to market.


Partnering with software vendors who offer “out of the box” software to meet insurance product requirements may seem like a good idea, but their lack of insurance expertise can easily cause misalignment of the system’s output with DOI filings, as well as a mismatch between the system’s back-end data and the real-world requirements of statistical reporting. When entering products into your company’s software, it makes more sense to work with experts who understand how product and workflow configuration impact compliance with statistical agents, rating bureaus and DOIs.

At Perr&Knight, we have established a proven process for defining requirements that is efficient, scalable and meets compliance standards for all 51 U.S. jurisdictions. Our subject matter experts possess the domain knowledge to expedite the configuration, testing and maintenance of carrier-specific insurance products for all rating, underwriting and policy administration systems.


The real economies and efficiencies in insurance product development occur when partnering with seasoned insurance experts from the outset. At Perr&Knight, our decades of actuarial consulting services experience inform our insurance product requirements definition, testing and maintenance solutions. Our StateFilings.com and BureauMonitor solutions are designed to integrate seamlessly with your existing software, empowering you with access to circulars, publications and carrier-defined workflows to initiate, monitor and archive DOI filings in a single repository.


Due to the complexity of insurance products, software requirements must emulate the insurance-specific product requirements from the start. Inaccuracies in product requirements and limitations in testing are common problems that plague companies partnering with vendors that lack insurance experience. Even more serious are the risks that quickly arise from an absence of comprehensive requirements that align with compliance mandates.

Insurance technology experts like those at Perr&Knight can bring spiraling software implementation projects back under control, even if your company has involved outside vendors for development or implementation. However, partnering with Perr&Knight from the start of product ideation and software implementation planning ensures you achieve the best possible economies of time and scale. Because our teams work with internal peers to efficiently develop requirements from the outset, and partner with our clients to define their product requirements to advance software implementations, our clients waste less time and resources moving their software implementation project forward and retroactively solving compliance and reporting issues.


Our insurance technology consulting department is the fastest-growing division of Perr&Knight. This is because carriers, program administrators and Insurtechs recognize the value of working with insurance experts for insurance product requirements definition and testing. Our technology team partners with our actuarial consulting services team to define insurance product requirements documents that truly match software requirements. The result is peace of mind that your implementation process will stay on track to launch your products quickly and begin writing business as soon as possible.

See how our experienced insurance technology consultants can streamline your new product integration. Contact Perr&Knight today.

Six Ways Experts Smooth the Transition to a New Policy Admin System

by Scott Whitaker and Bob Cericola

An aging policy administration system may prohibit your organization from reaching its full potential. Functionality limitations, the inability of your system to keep up with new products and terminated support for older systems all stifle productivity and may force your teams to rely on complicated workarounds that fail to hold up against regulatory scrutiny.

Switching to a new policyholder system creates opportunities to elevate efficiency, improve accuracy, and increase profitability. However, failure to adequately prepare may inversely lead to problems such as inaccurate ratings, incorrect forms or versions of forms, delays in implementation, rework and staff frustration.

Unfortunately, your system vendor’s implementation team may only get you so far. Yes, they possess deep technical expertise and know the software inside and out, but they often lack the depth of knowledge on insurance-related specifics and regulatory requirements that can cause trouble in the future.

Instead, consulting with experienced insurance technology and compliance experts helps your organization sidestep the common pitfalls that delay launch and cause budgets to be exceeded.

At Perr&Knight, we have developed robust operations and technology consulting and product design departments to help insurance companies manage digital transformation more smoothly. Here’s how we help our clients successfully transition to a new policy admin platform.

Clarify system requirements documents

A clear understanding and comprehensive documentation of your filings and implementation rules enables us to develop a plan for the appropriate configuration for your new system or to conduct an internal audit.

The complexity of defining requirements and upfront configurations varies greatly depending on whether you use a rating bureau program, an independent/proprietary program, or a mixture of both (which is common for some commercial programs). Clear and complete documentation defines the impact of forms, rates, and rules to your new product, ensuring the new system functions correctly for your organization.

A precise requirements document means everyone can operate from a shared roadmap. Our insurance technology consulting experts put together a comprehensive requirements document, surfacing and addressing any gaps in the process. The more information we have upfront, the better equipped we are to help you succeed.

Vendor selection consulting

Determining which platform best suits your needs is not always straightforward. Unfortunately, different solutions do not offer apples-to-apples comparisons, leaving you to parse through the details of various platforms to determine if they will be suitable to handle your requirements. What you don’t know that you don’t know may reveal itself after you have selected a vendor and implementation is well underway.

Consulting with insurance technology specialists before deciding on a vendor provides peace of mind. We dig into the details on your behalf, asking vendors pointed questions about your unique business requirements to ensure the proposed solution delivers the highest ROI.

Correct configuration of the new platform

This sounds like a given, but insurance companies often fall into this trap. Third-party vendors hired to manage the transition often lack deep experience in regulatory compliance. Because every state has subtle but important differences in reporting requirements, working with experienced insurance technology consultants ensures your new system is configured to meet compliance standards in every jurisdiction your organization does business.

Too many companies begin implementation and are confronted with a harsh wake-up call when the output is not what they expected from their new policy admin system. But front-end configuration drives the back-end data sets. Therefore, when configuring your new system, we consider the regulatory compliance demands required on the back end. At Perr&Knight, we have extensive forms, rate, rule, and regulatory compliance knowledge and the technical expertise to ensure your output is accurate.

Rating bureau data extracts that are mismatched with expectations are one of the signs of a problem with the new system. Unfortunately, we have seen these errors take insurance companies by surprise when suddenly facing a complaint, data call, or other regulatory inquiry. Of course, reactively remedying misalignment is always possible and often increases costs and delays implementation. Being proactive is preferable, more economical, and allows for a smoother and more timely implementation.

Make sure data is compliant before migrating to the new system

The data you input into your new platform has significant downstream implications. Data input into the policy system feeds forms, claims, statistical reporting, and so on. Inaccuracies in your input can quickly cause data drift that will negatively impact reporting, exposing your organization to increased regulatory attention, especially if the state(s) where you operate issue a data call or request for more information.

Too many companies shift their data over to a new platform without taking the time to determine whether their data is still “good quality.” Taking the time to make sure your input is compliant before migration saves the expensive time drain of trying to clean up data after the transition. Our insurance data specialists can conduct a full audit of your data to evaluate compliance before migrating to your new system.

Schedule a mock market conduct exam

With so many variables in play, a current assessment ensures your existing policy admin system and data are correct and ready for your new system. As part of our Compliance Operations Assessment & Training (COAT) services, Perr&Knight’s compliance experts evaluate rates, rules and forms produced from the current system.

Determining whether your existing policy admin system is accurate before switching to a new platform is a small upfront investment that pays off significantly down the line. This assessment protects you from unplanned and expensive updates to your new system, after all your data has been input and policies have been issued. In addition, it reduces the likelihood of consumer impact (e.g., confidence), unnecessary financial impact (e.g., interest due) and brand reputational harm.

Get ahead of the issues by partnering with experts

Trusting insurance technology experts like Perr&Knight during the planning phase is the most cost-effective way to manage a successful transition. Not only can we surface and address your current platform’s shortcomings, but we can also outline a plan to correctly configure your new system and ensure your existing data is clean and compliant before migration. That said, if you find yourself facing unexpected difficulties at any time during an implementation, we can always apply our insurance-specific technology expertise to help you get back on track quickly and cost-effectively.

Switching to a new policy admin system will always be complicated but partnering with experts means it doesn’t have to be a headache.

Contact the insurance operations and technology specialists at Perr&Knight today to discuss how we can help you make change more manageable.

Think Before You Act: Why Expert Solution Architecture Should Always Precede Critical Data Initiatives

Deploying a data solution that addresses a real-world business problem is not just about drafting a quick set of specs and coding to meet those requirements. Instead, it’s about architecting a solution that will satisfy your true business need.
As experts in insurance data services, we have seen many companies dive headfirst into development without taking the time to outline a process that delivers not only their desired data set, but a viable strategy to keep moving forward.
Companies can sink deeper and deeper into development quicksand, increasing budgetary spend and extending the project timeline by piling more features onto both legacy and modern systems that don’t fully address the problem. To achieve lasting solutions that deliver maximum value, slow down and think before you act.

Focus on the problem, not the tools

Before you undertake any data initiative, it’s vital that you dedicate sufficient time and attention to define the full scope of your problem. We have seen companies get distracted by the latest, greatest software tools and fail to determine whether or not these tools will deliver the information they need.
Focusing primarily on tools is like shopping for ingredients without an idea of the meal you will be preparing. Instead, clearly articulate the problem first, then determine how you will utilize the tools at your disposal to solve this problem as efficiently as possible.
At Perr&Knight, most of our engagements are preceded by an in-depth workshop, during which we aim to identify the true need. Many companies think they need help with one aspect, but it turns out that addressing a different issue will solve their challenge. We apply our insurance data services expertise to determine short-term success as well as define a long-term solution that will help our clients avoid this situation in the future.

Outline specific future actions and activities

After assessing your problem, articulate the specific activities that you will take as a result of obtaining your data set. Knowing these actions informs the scope of what should be contained in your reports. Focus on obtaining useful information that will equip your teams to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Teams must understand how their roles support your business

IT teams might be deeply focused on technical aspects of the initiative but lack sufficient context for the project as a whole. As such, their expertise is stifled. Don’t limit your IT teams to only the execution of the plan – loop them in early to make sure that the ultimate solution takes into consideration your actual business needs. Spend time bringing your IT team up to speed on how their input fits into the bigger picture of your data initiative and what your overall goals and outcomes are. Equipped with this knowledge, your technical teams become more valuable project assets.

How to avoid “analysis paralysis”

Successful deployment efforts start with the known and build incrementally from there. Look for what you can define that will provide an immediate benefit. In the effort to plan for every possible event, software developers can end up overdesigning their solution architecture. Companies that want to create a massive system to address every possible future need often get stuck developing bloated, unwieldy software that takes forever to deploy.
Perr&Knight’s process is to plant a firm stake in the ground by targeting a specific data consumer with a specific need, then focus on building out just those portions. From there, we expand incrementally, generating deliverables that are definable, measurable, and achievable.

More expert tips to keep your data initiatives on track

  • DON’T cast too wide a net. Keep your eye on the specific problem you’re trying to solve.
  • DON’T chase trends. Make sure your solution delivers the information that addresses your core
  • DO make sure that you are being specific. There’s no point in coding to vague specs.
  • DO define what constitutes success before you undertake the project, including how you will measure progress along the way and metrics that ensure you accomplish various scope items throughout development.

The fact is, data reporting is not a sexy profit center – but it is a critical part of doing business. Everyone wants a quick plug-and-play fix, but solution architecture is more about business modeling than a strictly technical solution. There is no such thing as a silver bullet. Quality solution architecture starts at the business level, i.e. understanding your business problem and applying that knowledge as your guide to implement the best solution. Data initiatives are a marathon, not a sprint. Keep this in mind and you’re sure to go far.

For more information about Perr&Knight’s expert insurance data services, contact us today.