Monday, July 2, 2007

How an insurance company should look for software

I've been working in insurance software for 13 years. I've seen plenty of carriers get what they needed, but more often I've seen them get little or nothing for their efforts. The successful ones have done the following:

  • They focused on the specific task (policy administration, illustrations, imaging) and didn't clutter up the search
  • They made the decision in a reasonable amount of time
  • The decision makers were directly involved
  • They dispensed with buzzwords and looked at what the system DOES
Now, as a software sales guy, there are also some things that you can do to help me help you. Here are some tips.

  • Make sure I understand what you want. I'll make sure you can see where my solution can help.
  • If you have already decided who you're going with, by all means, pick 'em and start your project! Don't involve me just to make it 'fair'. Save yourself some money. Don't initiate a formal search if your mind's already made up.
  • You go to all the same conferences I do. You meet all of the same people that I do. Most of them are quite willing to tell you who's good, and who will rip you off. LISTEN.
  • Use the smell test. If it doesn't pass, blow it off. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
  • Remember - there is no magic in insurance technology, only unscrupulous vendors willing to prey on ignorance.
  • Any vendor can say anything. It's all about the references. Find another carrier who has used the system for a long time and get the pros and cons. Find someone you trust - don't just use the vendor's reference list.
  • Be realistic about industry analysts. They have absolutely no financial incentive to recommend anything that is straightforward and easy to understand. On the other hand, if they can sell the industry on something that it DOESN'T understand, they can make a fortune. They're trying to turn a profit. It's not wrong; just be aware.