September 13, 2012 // By: Christiane Pütter
In 2009, Thomas Noth, CIO of Talanx, Germany’s third-largest insurance group, had some ambitious goals: Integrate two subsidiaries, catch up on neglected IT investment, and set up an IT services provider. As he believed the best way to achieve these goals would be to implement standard software, he needed a partner. Enter SAP. The companies worked together to develop standard software for insurance companies, with SAP providing the products and consulting, and Accenture taking care of system integration.
Here are just some of the project’s milestones: It was decided to migrate the personal liability insurance business first – that is over 500,000 existing policies. At the same time, Talanx implemented a new SAP collections and disbursements system. Third on the list was the enhancement of software for labor management, scanning, indexing, and claims management.
The mega project to replace legacy systems and implement new software will be completed by the end of 2012. Noth is satisfied with progress so far. He is a pioneer in an industry known for being conservative – when it comes to IT German insurers aren’t exactly early adopters. Noth wouldn’t mind either if the industry learns from his experience. It no doubt will: In a study of trends in IT strategy, Ali Sunyaev, assistant professor of business information technology at the University of Cologne, Germany, identified that German insurance companies are slowly but surely moving towards standard software.
Maybe Noth’s work will bring some momentum to the industry. “Insurance companies are becoming much more willing to deploy standard software. We see this when we present the results of the Talanx project to the CIOs of other insurance companies,” says Bernhard Graf, business development director for insurance, Germany, at SAP Germany, who was also involved in the project. Regarding the industry as whole, Graf believes that those who will drive the deployment of standard software are “as diverse as the insurance companies themselves.”