A Top Ten Life, Annuity, and Investment Company

Technology - Quality Assurance Assessment

The leaders of this respected life insurer had a clear objective. A major technological undertaking to convert their life and annuity business operations from paper processing of files to a fully automated, electronic workflow-based system had been outsourced to an offshore development company. Working in partnership with the offshore developer, Nolan was hired to conduct an objective quality assurance review of the project’s design and analysis as part of the decision checkpoint for moving to the next stage in the project, the actual coding and implementation.

Current Environment

A large investment had been made in the initial analysis and mapping of the processes involved in the life and annuity servicing operations. This effort was part of a strategic initiative based on a New Business Vision that had been developed by the executive team. The Vision targeted the development of foundational platforms covering new business, policy owner services, agency contracting, and claims for life and annuity lines of business. Multi-functional teams from across the organization and the systems departments had been involved in an interview-based design process run by an offshore consulting firm. The offshore firm brought expertise in process mapping, workflow and image systems, and development methodologies to the project, but it had limited practical experience in life and annuity insurance processing. Recognizing the opportunity that subject matter expertise would bring to the quality of the design process, the consulting firm and client contracted Nolan to conduct an in-depth review of the interviews, process maps, and design conducted to date to ensure thoroughness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Project Scope

The scope of the engagement covered two separate quality assurance checkpoints held at different stages in the project. First, Nolan performed an extensive, detailed off-site review of all the project documents related to the design, flow, process maps, use cases, and solutions proposed. Supporting the initial review was a research phase that included an examination of industry best practices and the current state of document processing solutions, including the technological platforms involved. After the review and research were completed, Nolan collaborated with the business community, consulting teams, project team members, and the company’s information systems staff during two on-site visits.

  • Our quality assurance review checkpoints focused on project details, as well as broader considerations involving strategy and approach. There were five areas of consideration with these steps and questions:Review completeness and consistency of the process model;
  • Determine the solution’s fi t with the New Business Vision and related future projects;
  • Evaluate the competitive impact to the company—what advantages and benefits will likely result;
  • Review how well the scope is being managed, how well the solution leverages opportunities, and the organizational readiness; and
  • Is the project organized for success? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current structure and any recommendations for change?

Project Results

The quality assurance review gave our client and offshore consulting firm several new areas to consider. These areas would improve the project’s likelihood of success, reduce risk factors, and improve overall platform functionality. The report did the following:

  • Fifteen categories, each accompanied by specific details of areas that might improve project success, were described;
  • Four assumptions that were constraining the possible solution were identified, with options suggested;
  • Three changes to reduce project risk were profiled;
  • Three major pre- and four major post-implementation revisions were suggested; and
  • Technological options for improving the scanning and OCR solutions were provided.

The recommendations were incorporated into the final solution, and a full-featured design was put in place, positioning our client for success on an aggressive 18-month project window.