IT Development

Localisation that doesn’t compromise insurance programme conformity

IT Development | Georgina | 18 May 2021

Insurers embarking on transformation journeys naturally have a lot to consider. Time, resource and risk are elements that play a huge part in the planning of these projects. Due to the complex nature of insurance transformation, insurers naturally do not want a software solution that they need to heavily customise or configure. However, when it comes to localisation, there does need to be some level of ‘custom’ configuration performed. Needless to say – this does not mean insurers need to compromise their desire to conform to ‘out-of-the-box’ (OOTB) functionality when considering localisation requirements.

Localising insurance systems

Localisation is important for insurers to consider as part of their insurance transformation programme. Firstly, it’s all about usability for the end-user/customer. It can provide a confusing and somewhat alienating experience for customers in the UK if they keep seeing ‘State’ and ‘Zip Code’ when inputting information.

Secondly, localisation is hugely important when taking regulations and legal requirements into account. For example, using the MID (Motor Insurers Database) for UK motor insurers.

Thirdly, your services will need to be compatible with compulsory third-party, UK-specific services. These could include the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency) or the MOJ (Ministry of Justice). Without proper localisation, accessing these services could be problematic and cause lengthy IT delays.

If you’re looking to bring many new products to market, having solid localisation in your systems can arguably make this process significantly easier and quicker.

Localisation: a necessary evil to conformity?

Localisation must be achieved at the start of every insurance transformation programme. In the UK, where many US vendors are used, the following must be configured within this software:

  • language
  • currency and payment types
  • date and time
  • addresses

And therein lies a problem. For famously complex insurance transformations, insurers (understandably) want to align with OOTB configuration. Heavy customisations cost time, resource and can be high-risk. The fewer customisations there are, the lower the risk of difficult upgrades, errors, and more.

What should insurers be doing?

To stand out from the competition, you want your customers to know that;

  • the service or product you’re offering is for those in that country
  • you understand the rules and regulations pertaining to that country (e.g. GDPR, Brexit regulations etc)
  • you’re an expert in understanding what customers in that country require
  • you’re capable of providing personalised, ‘start-up’ style communications. Giant corporations with poor localisation can be a big turn off for new business.

If you are an insurer or solutions vendor with little experience in localising the country you’re selling in, it’s important to partner with an existing expert for solutions in that country. Partnering with a business that knows the regulations and laws inside out will ensure your software provides the right service for the end-user while making sure you’re kept compliant. For such a necessary configuration as this, it’s imperative your solutions provider is tried and tested in such things.

Localisation isn’t just about adding a time and date

Localisation isn’t just about time and date. It must be configurable with the governance and regulations of that country. For example, the reforms coming into effect this year for whiplash claims is changing; and the systems will need to reflect that.

As mentioned previously, localisation configuration is something that cannot be avoided; it’s part of every transformation programme. However, we would advise that insurers be wary of companies offering hundreds of accelerators that over-configure the system. Insurers should ensure that shortcuts/accelerators/fast-track tools are all bonafide and do not compromise the OOTB functionality.

With so many insurtechs offering productising insurance, it’s important now more than ever to ensure your localisation is up to speed. It may seem like an insignificant detail within a larger insurance transformation plan, but well-configured localisation is terribly important. It’s a necessary hurdle that’s surprisingly simple to overcome if you partner with the right SI. Partnering with an SI who knows how to configure whilst conforming to OOTB functionality as much as is possible will give you the best of both worlds.