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A Letter to My Legacy Core System: We Never Talk – What Secrets Are You Keeping from Me?

The City's Brain-Data center in the City

A letter to my legacy core system: we never talk – what secrets are you keeping from me? Guidewire Software’s Eugene Lee asks: what can insurance data tell us beyond what our systems are giving us?


Dear core system,

We’ve been together for a long time but it’s time to talk about what you’re not telling me.

Look, I think you’re a great listener. Over the years, you’ve dutifully recorded everything I’ve said and done: notes, processes, dates, times, amounts, contacts. You store it and help me retrieve it when I need. Thank you for your loyalty and attentiveness.


Times have changed and our relationship needs to change, too. Passive record keeping is not enough. I expect more from you. You know more than you’re letting on. You can do more - you’re just not trying hard enough. Here’s how you can do better.

Stop asking me questions for which you know the answers

There are so many things you can see for yourself if you look through your records in a smarter way. I’ve tried to be patient but I’ll be honest, I’m tired of typing in the same information twice. And not just for me but also for customers. Nobody should be entering data more than once.

And even if you don’t have the data in your records, I bet you could find it – from another system or online – faster than I could. I’d love your more if you would prefill that information for me. Data integration like this will speed up the more laborious entry processes significantly.

And insurance is full of so many forms and reports. Why don’t you fill those out for me next time?

Don’t ask me to do things that you can do for yourself

Every day you give me lots of tasks, hundreds every day or week. But you’ve been working with me for years, I think it’s time you started to do things for yourself. When a customer has a late bill, you don’t need to send me a task. Just email them yourself. Instead of asking me to approve every payment, I think you should take care of the low risk approvals yourself. Just show me the ones I really need to look at. My colleagues call it “straight through processing”. I think of it as show me you care.

Guide me, don’t just watch me

You’ve got so much data: decades of historical transactions, connections to other internal and external systems. I know you can see patterns that help our business run more efficiently and grow more rapidly. For example, I think you know when a customer is more likely to appoint a lawyer. Being able to predict this will give staff more time and resource to prepare, improving the predictability of claims and reducing the variability and volatility of business from a company perspective. It could also empower claims handlers to be more aggressive in their settlements, reducing the time and expense of drawn-out court cases.

Subrogation is another example. You hold countless examples of motor insurance claims on your system. I don’t think it’s asking too much for you to amalgamate and analyse those claims and inform claims handlers the likelihood of success in subrogation. They could then push forward with a full or partial subrogation claim improving our company’s loss ratio.

It’s not just claims that you can help insurers improve. You hold all the data that an insurance company needs to predict the likelihood of someone renewing their policy or needing additional insurance. Imagine if you could use this data to empower underwriters and sales teams to add features or upsell. Sales staff could use your recommendations to make targeted pitches to specific customers based on what you know about their needs.

None of this is far-fetched. All this is possible right now. All we need to do is to set you up with the right data analysis tools to get you working to your full potential.

You’ve been a superb system of record for many years. It’s time for you to become a system of influence.

It’s time I introduced you to Guidewire.

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