14 Sep 2017

Better Insurance Software Decisions 202 – How to Avoid the DIY Trap

By: John Baker

Better Insurance Software Decisions 202 – How to Avoid the DIY Trap

In our last post, we talked about how to avoid the IBM trap – choosing a provider based simply on brand equity and getting stuck with a lesser product as a result. As we've seen, big brands aren't the only ones that can win best in show, and when making a buying decision, it's important to really evaluate features and benefits, rather than just taking the bigger fish's word for it.

Today, we're going to look at another common mistake that can sabotage an insurance software decision: the DIY trap.

It's no mystery why some buyers prefer a do-it-yourself approach to insurance software. If you DIY, you can configure business rules and software actions on the fly without involving your software vendor. Sounds good, right? Who doesn't want more agility when it comes to making business decisions?

But not all is as it seems. There's a reason that Silvervine doesn't offer a DIY option, even though many of our competitors do. It's not that we couldn't. It's that we can see, from our vantage point as insurance software experts, that the DIY approach doesn't serve our customers' best interest – for two big reasons.

1. Most insurers don't have a bunch of extra time on their hands.

Last winter, Insurance Journal said that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 400 thousand employees "are expected to retire from the insurance industry workforce within the next few years." The result? An "impending talent crunch." With talent in demand, time will be tight – and time is what it takes to get over a technical learning curve.

To make configurations on the fly, you need to be very comfortable with the software you're using. And to build a thorough knowledge requires consistent practice over time. When a task only comes up once every six months, the opportunity to practice isn't there, and as a result, your team isn't likely to get to the point where they can own the configuration process with expertise.

More commonly, staff members end up having to research the task all over again every time it comes up. As a result, your insurance software becomes a recurring hassle, when it really should be adding efficiency and making your life easier.

2. Even small system changes can start a domino effect.

As we've pointed out in an earlier post, "When you have instant verification capabilities, and adaptable underwriting rules that you can control and adjust as needed, you can react quickly to changing market conditions, capitalize on opportunities and avoid adverse selection, without programming delays."

Yet every action has a reaction, and before going live with any change, it's best practice to do thorough testing. That requires a thorough technical knowledge: how may the dominoes fall, and what else might they knock over in so doing?

In reality, consistent testing – and the knowledge it takes to do it in depth – rarely happens in an end-client environment. Insurance pros are experts in insurance, after all, not in the minutiae of their software. And configurations that look good on a whiteboard rarely go as planned once they're live.

Long story short? It takes a healthy collaboration between insurer and vendor to master the intersection between the business of insurance and the software that powers it. And that's okay. Before making DIY functionality a major buying consideration, be sure to crunch the numbers on your in-house capacity to cultivate the technical knowledge it takes to make DIY pay off.

Chances are, you'd be better-served by a fast, responsive partner who can deliver the agility you seek, combined with the technical expertise to guide you toward strategic decisions that pull their weight.

Silvervine Software is the low-risk/high-reward choice. Request a demo to learn more.

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