Insurers need to rethink technology - how can SCIP help make the digital future possible?

The transformation of the insurance industry

The insurance industry is undergoing massive change and looking for solutions to keep pace technologically and meet the expectations of today’s customers. The IT departments of insurance companies are not only dealing with the fact that the software developers for their old core systems are gradually retiring; they are also observing growing competition in the form of new InsurTechs with advanced solutions.
A massive rethink is required to operate the existing business model profitably. These thinking processes primarily relate to digital business models and digital products, based on modern applications. Last but not least, sales and service offerings for policyholders via the Internet are what is needed today to remain successful in the future.

Summarizing these points produces a clear picture: insurers must view themselves as tech companies, and they need flexible, individual and customer-oriented systems. With “SCIP” (sum. cumo Insurance Platform), sum.cumo offers the basis for exactly these kinds of applications. Sum.cumo follows the original core idea of insurance: the collective. SCIP uses the software license Apache License, Version 2.0 and collaborates with its partners, following the principles of Open Source; it develops SCIP continuously with these partners.

First iteration: the view of the back end

But what is so different about SCIP compared to proprietary solutions that have dominated the standard software market so far? Above all, it is the platform’s flexibility and individuality. Every insurance company has individual products, offers and services that must be tailored to the target group. These need to be designed and implemented in a way that also meets digital requirements. At the same time, the basic processes and requirements in every insurance company are comparable and do not need to be redesigned every time. Consequently, a technical solution must offer the possibility to easily implement its individual components, and it must already include basic functions. The following illustration makes this clear:

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From the graphic, one can see that SCIP is a component of the back end application. By using the programming language Ruby, the framework Ruby on Rails and the available possibilities, it is easy to adapt and extend the basic processes of SCIP within the individual application or to create completely new processes. The same applies to base objects such as user, claim, ledger, product and many others. 

Second iteration: the view of the front end

In order to be able to offer digital sales processes and services, the goal must be to implement a flexible, individual and user-friendly front end. The following illustration shows that not only the back end of the platform follows the paradigm “individuality + standard,” but also the front end.

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Here, however, the technical details of the front ends will not be discussed further. It should only be mentioned that we generally implement our front ends with the highest level of quality as a progressive web app (PWA). As a basis for these web apps we use a boilerplate called VuEcoSystem. Just as in with back end, basic processes and requirements are already implemented here and connected to the flexible GraphQL APIs of SCIP. 

Third iteration: the view of the big picture

If we now join the two parts together to form a whole, the result is the image of a highly flexible and customizable application:

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This architecture offers the possibility to meet all requirements of a modern, web-based insurance platform. Communication between the front end and back end is carried out using the GraphQL interface technology, which has been available since 2015 and makes a significant contribution to the performance and usability of mobile devices. In addition to the objects and processes already mentioned, the back end offers various interfaces to the required partners and service providers. This usually includes damage management, damage amount determination, fraud detection, creditworthiness check, GDV connection for eVB, eVBü and VWB, general ledger and many more. The ecosystem at such solution providers is growing almost weekly and offers the partner many opportunities to launch digital products quickly and efficiently. 

Conclusion and outlook

In this first article of the SCIP series, we have presented the basic features and possibilities that sum.cumo offers with its SCIP process engine. The chosen architecture and its individual components offer the greatest possible flexibility in the creation of modern insurance platforms. sum.cumo already operates various SCIP-based platforms. The success with this solution shows that all affiliated partners in the environment of the upcoming InsurTechs can be more than just an alternative. These partners have shown that the chosen path leads to success and can play a pioneering role in the InsurTech market.

In the following articles, we will more closely look at the back office that is included, while also going into the individual components of SCIP in more detail.