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Is Dynamcis a fit for the Insurance industry?


I am rearchitecting the Travel Insurance IS Systems of a rather large corporation (not small or medium) which has grown fast enough to outpace its homegrown system which now shows groans under the weight. The envisioned IS has many buckets of supplemental functionality like CRM, BI, Content Management, e-Commerce etc, however the core business will be managed by an "insurance engine". This engine will deal with the main business entities like policy, client, claims, quote, premiums, reinsurance, underwriting, compensation, financial magnagement etc.

I am assessing various technologies (platforms, components, engines) to determine the best fit. One of the alternative is to use one of the Microsoft Dynamics suites as the BPM heart or "insurance engine". This thread provides a good comparison of the 4 Dynamics choices, but there is nothing informative about the insurance business anywhere about a fit on the whole world wide web.

The main points about the Insurance industry is there is no physical product (no inventory, no warehousing, no logistics) but policies may have a lot of resellers (brokers, white label sites, B2B partners). There are also heavy data integrity links (and reporting) between the entities (policy, client, claims, quote, premiums, reinsurance, underwriting, etc). A good Business Rules repository is important.

Right now NAV and AX look like the frontrunners in my mind, but I am not sure if either one or any of the Dynamics choices fit the bill for an Insurance solution. Could NAV and AX be customized to service a solution like the one I described or should I discount these options altogether as an unnatural fit or a forced marriage? If so, what platform would be best suited for this situation?

Thanks in advance for your insights.

  • First: Welcome to DUG. We are pleased to see you here and we will do our best to answer your questions.

    Now your answer: NAV and AX do not come with the insurance functionality out of the box and I'm not sure if there is a good "insurance engine" (add-on) for one of them.

    But what I can tell you from my more than eleven years of experience:

    NAV comes with a rapid dev environment (when you know what you need and how NAV works). It is a very easy and common task to integrate new functionalities into NAV. It has huge capabilities and is open enough to introduce new functionality on top of the NAV core engine.

    I would definitely go for NAV and look for a GOOD partner to develop the insurance angine together with you. Ask your local Microsoft subsidary for a partner list with good development skills (in this case bigger is not neccessarily better!!!) and ask for references with "special needs business".

  • In reply to Thomas Brodkorb:

    Thank you for an answer. I appreciate your quick response, but it seems a generic one. My questions are: is NAV geared towards a broad vertical like Manufacturing or can it be tailored for the Insurance industry which is completely unconcerned with logistics, warehousing, distribution, project management etc? I saw NAV Case Study for Government services which also has nothing to do with manufacturing.

    My dilemma is I do not want to handcraft the code base from scratch, yet do not want to select a solution and then shoehorn it into a scenario for which it is really not a fit. Can I use NAV to model entities like the following and then run CRUD operations on them? Is the NAV database open for dat access - we would need to have a very comprehensive data access layer that makes data accessible for functions like custom reports, etc and avoid proprietariness of data layer. 

    I need to understand if NAV can do the following (a broad list of Use Case scenarios) with the entities in bold italics:

    Sponsor   
        Search for a sponsor
        Retrieve a sponsor
        Modify a sponsor
        Add a new sponsor
       
    Agent   
        Search for an agent
        Retrieve an agent
        Modify an agent
        Add a new agent
        Retrieve the basic rates for an agent
        Modify the basic rates on an agent
        Add a new basic rate to an agent
        Retrieve the agent hierarchy for an agent
        Modify the agent hierarchy on an agent
        Add a new agent hierarchy to an agent
       
    Policy   
        Search for a policy
        Retrieve a policy (policy, insured, coverage, payment, memo)
        Modify the basic policy information (policy)
        Modify a coverage on the policy (coverage)
        Modify an insured contact on a policy (insured)
        Add a new policy (policy, insured, coverage, payment, memo)
        Add a new coverage to a policy (coverage, payment)
        Add a new insured to a policy  (insured)
        Add a new memo to a policy (memo)
        Remove an insured from a policy
        Change the servicing agent on a policy
        Search for a group policy record
        Retrieve a group policy record
        Modify a group policy record
        Add a new group policy record
       
    Plan   
        Retrieve the list of plan codes
        Retrieve the list of plans for a plan code (plan, plan rate)
        Modify the basic plan information (plan)
        Modify a rate on a plan (plan rate)
        Add a new plan (plan, plan rate)
        Add a new rate to a plan
       
    Administration   

        Retrieve the list of event codes
        Retrieve the list of events for an agent
        Retrieve the list of agents participating in a specific event
        Add an event to an agent
        Modify an agent event
        Retrieve the list of code tables
        Retrieve the list of code table entries for a code table
        Add a code table entry to a code table
        Modify a code table entry on a code table
       
    Report   
        Retrieve Pending Cheques
        Retrieve Sales By Agent and Date Range
        Retrieve Marketing
       
    Statement   
        Retrieve Broker By Date Range
        Retrieve Broker Agent By Agent and Date Range
        Retrieve Passenger By Agent and Date Range
        Retrieve Passenger By Date Range
        Retrieve Total Sales Activity By Agent and Date Range
        Retrieve Total Sales By Sponsor and Date Range

  • In reply to Pras Biswas:

    I think your question could have been "can I use NAV as the financial management core for a bespoke and custom-built vertical solution?" You have partially answered this yourself by mentioning the government services case study and I think Thomas has also answered this. To answer your more specific points: the database backend is SQL Server so you can gain full access to data and can report using reporting services or any other reporting tool. The IDE allows you to easily create your own entities and build logic for business rules. Here is a question for you: why use NAV for your custom build? You could just as easily use .NET. NAV 2009 would allow your financial integration through web services. Also, have you tried looking in the add-on catalog for an insurance vertical?
  • In reply to Gaspode:

    >> Here is a question for you: why use NAV for your custom build? You could just as easily use .NET

    From the book: "Dynamics is an extremely productive development and run-time environment for various ERP functionality. Much of this productivity is enabled by a software design methodology that is based on developing the model of an application, rather than programming the specifics of the application. The model-based methodology is part of the Dynamics architecture that helps application developers focus more on meeting domain requirements and less attention on negotiating the technologies to conform to those requirements. For example, Dynamics can help you spend your time meeting financial, production and logistics domain requirements rather than programming the user-interface, client-server and database access technologies utilities.

     

    Dynamics makes this possible by satisfying the technology requirements for the following core set of application developer tasks:

    • Connect database and calculated data to user forms and reports
    • Connect user-entered data and calculated data to database tables
    • Navigate users between forms and reports in response to menu item selection
    • Exchange database and calculated data with external applications"
  • In reply to Gaspode:

    [deleted]

  • In reply to Pras Biswas:

    Try this link http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/solutionfinder.mspx

    I did a search for Insurance and it came up with a few results. Check it out.

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