Taking the leap to replace a Policy Administration System (PAS) can be an intimidating prospect. On the one hand, you need a modern system to remain relevant to your customers. On the other, this is a major project with complexities, dependencies and risks that need to be considered.

The good news is that, with the right planning and expert help, a PAS replacement project can avoid or mitigate most of the known risks and pitfalls.

Over the past four years, Root has helped a number of organisations face down this challenge. We’ve become familiar with the exercise and want to help you navigate the terrain.

Knowing when the time is right

The window of opportunity is closing quickly. Forward thinking organisations have either completed the move or are seriously looking at modern solutions to future-proof their businesses. Today’s consumer is rapidly losing patience with insurers that cannot offer the sorts of dynamic products and customer experiences that are now table-stakes in all the other aspects of their lives.

Below are a few of the known indicators which, in our view, are strong signals that you should start seriously looking for a modern PAS. The change is inevitable, but timing is in your hands.

  • Slow turnaround times for any product changes, no matter how small.
  • Dependence on expensive vendor professional services to iterate and evolve your products.
  • Internal software developers spend most of their time “keeping the lights on” instead of building differentiated value for customers.
  • Limited, poorly documented APIs are blockers to integrating with distribution channels and/or third-party services.
  • Your system can’t support expansion into new product lines.
  • Meaningful innovation is blocked by “systems constraints”.
  • Your data is not readily accessible to your team or your carrier.

Principles to follow for a successful PAS replacement

Every PAS replacement and data migration is different. This makes it impossible to put forward a simple step-by-step guide which touches on each possible variation to the process. Instead, we’ve opted to help navigate the change by distilling three key principles to follow as you set your organisation up for the future.

  1. Keep it real
  2. Avoid biting off more than you can chew. Keep your eyes on the most important business challenges and objectives to solve first, and build from there.
  3. Think holistically
  4. Today’s operating reality is that we rely on platforms and various partner systems to function in an integrated ecosystem. So we’d suggest thinking carefully about how the PAS fits into the context of your wider internal and external ecosystems.
  5. Lean in
  6. There’s a natural tendency to replicate familiar ways of working, even in a new environment. To get full value for the investment, lean into the opportunity, fully commit to new ways of working and manage the change carefully.

Getting started

There is no option to stall on replacing an outdated PAS. Frustrated software developers in your team need to be empowered to deliver differentiating customer experiences. The world of insurance is changing fast and to stay relevant, replacing your system with one that fully embraces modern software and agile product development practices is a matter of “when”, not “if”.

You have various options in how you introduce a new PAS into your ecosystem, each with its own pros and cons. We have seen many variations to the theme, from managing a legacy book down on the outdated system, while selling all new policies on the modern replacement system; to making a straight switch from one system to another, book move and all. We suggest running through each of the options with your new system provider to understand the impact.

The right approach to your PAS replacement will depend on the specifics of your business, timeline, need, risk appetite and budget.

The next steps

If your PAS is no longer up to the task and you are exploring alternatives, reach out to schedule a chat. We’d love to help.