#digitalization #opensource #insurance

Disruption Requires New Core Systems

Our managing director Ingolf (Putzbach) contributed an article to Clutch, a magazine on technology and society, in which he describes how technologies based on artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques are being used. SCIP, sum.cumo's modern IT platform built from the ground up on internet technology and design principles, allows such a high degree of automation. The core feature set of SCIP can be used free of charge by any new customer. You can imagine SCIP as being a constantly growing library representing the objects and processes of the insurance industry. Using SCIP as a foundation, business models can be custom-tailored to suit the requirements of an industry segment, sales channel, or country. All internal data on customers, contracts, claims, and sales partners is accessible in real time and can be made available to external parties as necessary. External data sources can be integrated into the system as needed. 

Ingolf Putzbach, managing director of sum.cumo, one of the leading technology providers for the insurance sector, on the use of AI in insurance operations.

The third and current wave of insurtech is by far the most exciting, promising quantum leaps in technology that will provide a new level of quality in customer orientation and a substantial increase in productivity. These technologies are based on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Companies are being founded worldwide – in Germany and Europe too, fortunately – to develop innovative solutions for the entire insurance value creation chain.
In order to use AI in insurance operations, the new technologies must be integrated into the existing system landscape. That's the biggest problem for the established insurers, whose IT systems still incorporate applications hailing from the 80s and 90s.  

That's precisely the problem with the industry that sum.cumo has set its sights on. Since 2010, the company's three offices in Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Zurich have been developing modern IT platforms in order to enable a high degree of automation. The result is the sum.cumo insurance platform – SCIP – built from the ground up on internet technology and design principles. The core feature set of SCIP is an open-source solution that can be used free of charge by any new customer. You can imagine SCIP as being a constantly growing library representing the objects and processes of the insurance industry. Using SCIP as a foundation, business models can be custom-tailored to suit the requirements of an industry segment, sales channel, or country. All internal data on customers, contracts, claims, and sales partners is instantly accessible in real time and can be made available to external parties as necessary. External data sources can be integrated into the system as needed. 

The SCIP development partners include leading digital insurers, such as nexible in Germany and Dextra in Switzerland. They've decided in favor of long-term cooperation with sum.cumo. It's no surprise that SCIP is in great demand in the highly complex auto insurance sector, whose high margin pressure and intense competition makes it especially important to automate as many business processes as possible. As a result, sum.cumo now operates platforms for auto insurance in all three German-speaking countries and continues to work with customers to develop them further. 

Crucial to the success of SCIP is the fact that its open, secure interface (API) can be used to develop all manner of different applications. As a result, specialized insurtech companies can seamlessly link to the SCIP platform in order to automate and optimize their critical business processes. 

All internal data on customers, contracts, claims, and sales partners is instantly accessible in real time and can be made available to external parties as necessary. 

Unlike established IT systems, one based on SCIP can flexibly adapt to business requirements as they change over time. Dextra and nexible are good examples: While initially the priorities were product individualization, dynamic pricing and sales partner integration, later on applications for mass processes such as customer service and claims management became more important. 

Thus SCIP functions as a construction kit which customers may use either as a library of pre-existing solutions or as a framework to be extended with new features. The SCIP product team is constantly evaluating the market and piloting new application areas. SCIP customers are informed regularly of new features and can decide for themselves whether they wish to integrate them into their own platforms. 

Using SCIP as a foundation, sum.cumo is able to establish new digital insurers very quickly. In the last twelve months alone, the time to market has been cut in half. By now, a basic installation can be performed within two weeks. With the constant development of the SCIP ecosystem, even new platforms can very quickly be equipped with finely differentiated capabilities. 

One good example is the integration of Earnix, software for ML-supported dynamic pricing that currently leads the market. It is being put to use by more and more automotive insurers. With SCIP, deep integration can be completed within just a few days, delivering all of the features that Earnix provides for customized pricing. 

Another important application area is claims management in the auto insurance industry, where extensive automation normally requires cooperation between multiple partners for issues such as AI-supported ascertainment of claims costs, repairs of glass and parking damage, and workshop scheduling. This results in interruptions in the claims management process that can only be bridged manually. Using SCIP, on the other hand, it's comparatively easy to integrate multiple partners without such interruptions. The new possibilities for automation in customer service are far from exhausted, and in fact they're still growing steadily as new AI methods are developed. Since mature, established market standards are not available yet in this area, it's important to be able to pilot multiple solutions in parallel. Obviously this can only be accomplished if smooth integration keeps the project costs low. In this, too, SCIP shows its strengths, supporting iterative, incremental development toward business goals. 

sum.cumo has the 150 digital experts that work for it to thank for the company's success. Its integrated ecosystem approach only works because it has visual designers, UX specialists, front end developers, and performance marketing experts on board in addition to the back end developers of the SCIP core system. It's this combination of expertise in back end, front end, and interface technology that allows the development and operation of modern insurance platforms. 

sum.cumo envisions a future in which it can provide new insurance platforms in just a few minutes. Those insurance platforms will not only be fully automated but also create customized, positive customer experiences. With SCIP and its integrated ecosystem approach, sum.cumo hopes to aid innovative insurtech companies in disrupting the insurance business.


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Ingolf Putzbach
Ingolf
Putzbach
#management Ingolf has been one of the two CEOs of sum.cumo since July 2016. His job is to keep developing the company as an attractive employer of digital virtuosos while also advancing its position as a digital trailblazer for insurance companies and lotteries. Prior to sum.cumo, Ingolf was a founder and partner at Arkwright Consulting and the Germany CEO of Halogen AG. Ingolf cherishes the great enterprising spirit here and says “that every minute at sum.cumo is a pleasure for him.” Innovation, sustainability and individual freedom are important to Ingolf both at work and at home, shaping his actions in every way. Ingolf’s words have appeared in many media outlets, including [Versicherungsjournal](https://www.versicherungsjournal.de/vertrieb-und-marketing/wie-kann-man-als-makler-heute-digital-verkaufen-135254.php), [Intelligent Insurer](https://www.intelligentinsurer.com/contributed-article/purely-digital-insurers-and-their-service-providers-increase-the-attractiveness-of-germany-s-insurance-market) and [Finanzportal Joonko](https://www.sumcumo.com/ist-das-neue-vergleichsportal-joonko-check24jaeger-oder-maklerschreck) and [Zeitschrift für Versicherungswesen](https://www.sumcumo.com/unternehmen/interview-zeitschrift-fuer-versicherungswesen). Furthermore, Ingolf’s commentary on “Guidewire mania” appeared in the magazine [Versicherungswesen 22 (2018)](https://www.sumcumo.com/blog/content/de/zfv-putzbach-guidewire-mania.pdf). All articles by Ingolf