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Thursday, February 29, 2024

In the case of legacy tech, it’s replace or bust

Because the insurance coverage business develops and makes use of recent applied sciences, many corporations discover themselves weighing up the dangers and rewards of upgrading from legacy programs and tech. Andrew Harrington writes

Whereas ditching outdated expertise in favour of newer options could appear expensive upfront, persisting with antiquated programs typically proves extra financially and operationally expensive over time. The advantages of modernising additionally closely outweigh the short-term prices, giving organisations who spend money on their expertise a aggressive benefit.

Crucially, protecting expertise updated and streamlined improves client expertise. Whereas this has at all times been key, the FCA’s Shopper Responsibility implementation has introduced client safety into even sharper focus during the last 12 months. Simple to make use of expertise can and can make the distinction in terms of delivering actually consumer-centric services. Those that fall behind threat their clients, and finally their enterprise.

The expensive burden of legacy tech

Though new expertise and upgrades could appear inordinately costly, outdated programs will probably find yourself costing extra over time. The bills related to upkeeping legacy programs, together with upkeep, regulatory adjustments and safety updates and patches, are extremely financially draining for companies. In response to PWC, on common about 70% of an insurer’s annual IT price range is spent on sustaining its legacy programs and tech. And these programs more and more will not be match for objective.

Constantly deferring the improve of older expertise creates a mounting burden referred to as ‘technical debt’. When firms delay essential updates, this debt accrues, resulting in extra advanced and dear migrations sooner or later. As rivals embrace fashionable programs, these shackled by technical debt threat shedding the aggressive benefit and falling additional behind. The longer an organization waits to improve, the tougher and costlier the transition turns into.

Defending information

One of the pressing dangers related to legacy expertise is the heightened risk of safety breaches. In an period the place information safety is paramount, older programs typically lack the sturdy safety measures required to fend off refined cyber threats. Insurance coverage firms are prime targets for hackers as a result of they’re entrusted with huge quantities of delicate buyer information. Counting on outdated safety protocols can go away these firms and their policyholders susceptible, susceptible to expensive information breaches and tarnished reputations.

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Legacy programs additionally undergo from restricted compatibility with fashionable expertise and automatic programs. For insurance coverage corporations, seamless integration of knowledge and programs is essential for offering environment friendly companies and useful analytics. Legacy programs threat creating silos of knowledge, hindering collaboration between departments and obstructing alternatives for innovation. Mixed, this will hamper a agency’s means to reply quickly to market adjustments and evolving buyer calls for.

Shadow IT turns into a distinguished downside with legacy platforms, the place operational departments wrestle to fulfil their day-to-day duties with older expertise. Companies are compelled to revert to creating off-platform and uncontrolled options, which is a high-risk technique if enterprise crucial choices are being created from fundamental spreadsheets. The worldwide financial impression of knowledge loss linked to shadow IT is estimated to be within the area of $1.7trn per 12 months, in accordance with findings from an EMC research.


The insurance coverage sector should adapt to ever-evolving regulatory and compliance necessities. Counting on older programs to reply to such adjustments is extra prone to go away firms non-compliant with the newest information safety and monetary laws. As such, insurance coverage companies threat exposing themselves to extreme penalties, and probably authorized motion, in the event that they fail to stick to new compliance requirements. Legacy expertise typically lacks the pliability and technical functionality to adapt shortly, making it difficult to remain on prime of regulatory developments.

One of the important dangers of clinging to legacy expertise is lacking out on alternatives for innovation and development. Firms that depend on outdated programs wrestle to offer the extent of service and personalisation that policyholders now count on. They could miss out on options like real-time reporting, API integrations, pricing algorithms, AI-assisted functions, and superior buyer insights, built-in companies, machine studying and even cloud computing in some instances. This stagnation dulls any aggressive edge and results in diminished buyer satisfaction.

Getting into the digital age

The dangers of counting on outdated expertise are substantial for insurance coverage firms striving to remain aggressive, defend shoppers and policyholders, and meet compliance requirements in at present’s digital panorama. Whereas abandoning legacy programs requires upfront funding, the long-term benefits for safety, effectivity, innovation and development make this a sensible monetary determination. Given the rising prices and dangers related to technical debt, outdated safety protocols, integration challenges and stagnated innovation, migrating to fashionable options is crucial for insurance coverage firms to thrive into the longer term.

With cautious planning and execution, the transition course of might be managed easily to totally realise the advantages of digitalisation. With out taking the leap, the business might be left carrying the burden of technical debt and outdated programs for a few years to return.

Andrew Harrington is chief info officer at insurtech Ripe

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