For most businesses, data retention is a complex problem to solve. Organizations are forced to draw an arbitrary line in the sand – somewhere between five and ten years—which proves to be sufficient for GDPR and other local laws/policies. This enables these organizations to remain nimble with their organizational data and ensure their IT infrastructure isn’t overloaded with decades of information. Unfortunately, the insurance industry is not afforded the same luxury.
It’s common for insurance companies to hold onto decades of policy and claims data, spread across multiple data formats and configurations. Leaving insurance companies in a precarious spot as technologies change. Embarking on a core platform implementation means insurers are faced with an inevitable—and critical—data migration project that is a major concern and risk to the business – so what can these organizations do to get their data migration right?
- Start Early – Begin during the evaluation process with vendors. Understand their process. Map out the plan to secure the data and begin the migration process. Incumbent vendors will inherently drag their feet – and why wouldn’t they – so be sure to understand exactly what you will need to successfully migrate your data. It can be as simple as offering a sample of the dataset and a prescriptive map of what each of the fields mean. This should provide sufficient visibility to the core system vendor(s) that you are evaluating and enable them to allocate the necessary time in the Scope of Work (SOW) and Project Plan
- Understand Your Sources and Create a Map – Core platform data migrations are one of the most critical and, potentially, most time-consuming parts of a new implementation. Depending on the structure and characteristics of the dataset, the new core system vendor will be required to transform significant portions of the historical data to effectively merge it into the new solution. Especially when many of the legacy systems that insurance companies are transitioning from have archaic formatting and require cleansing. Another major consideration is finding a map to the legacy dataset. Having a detailed understanding of the legacy data architecture will expedite the migration process and ensure a smooth transition
- Leave Time for Testing – Every vendor wishes that it was as simple as mapping the old data into the new fields, but unfortunately, it never transitions this smoothly. And your new vendor understands this. They should allocate time for testing and validation of the data migration to ensure your business will sustain its visibility into the historical performance of the program. This should include report proofing and parallel testing of the dataset to validate the congruence of the migration.
Much like every other part of the implementation process, the key to success is having a plan and transparent communication, internally and with your vendor, throughout the project. With these three considerations top of mind, your insurance program can begin to de-risk and effectively plan for your next core system implementation.