The Technical underwriting financial system (TUFS) was the first largest Information Technology (IT) project ever implemented by Northern Insurance. Like any other IT project, TUFS also requires value assessment. This assessment helps the business people to identify the risks and benefits related to the project. TUFS was mainly designed to increase the efficiency of underwriting processes and to provide strategic e-business capabilities. But the e-business feature was not used by the company from the past two years (Smith & McKeen, 2005).
The anticipated benefits represent expectations, which in this case do not appear to have been clearly defined by IT or their business counterparts. At this point it may be of more interest to ask how the project fits into the company strategy. One important reason for this, is that benefits mentioned by the project will be tactical. In our case, improved efficiency and e-business may be good business tactics, but without clear strategy, it is difficult to predict how these features would give advantage to the company.
Risks at Northern Insurance
Martin Drysdale, CIO of National Insurance and his team completed the project in on time and on budget . At that time everyone thought TUFS would bring efficiency to underwriting process and new opportunities for top-line growth. But, from the time it was installed on to the systems, the maximum IT budget and resources were used to fix the underwriting errors that kept appearing. Almost $4 million was spent on TUFS after implementation. This is because some of the functionalities were altered due to the tight deadlines and lack of communication between the technicians and underwriters (Smith & McKeen, 2005).
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...must be taken into consideration while designing it. If not the project may not give complete results as expected. In case of TUFS, some of these features were lagging. Those can be now modified by taking some measures as mentioned above, though it may not give complete results but it can now produce similar results as expected.
Colin Beveridge: Guidelines for IT management- Aligning IT with Business Strategy, Guideline number 273.
James D. McKeen and Heather Smith (2012): IT Strategy-Issues and Practices, second Edition.
Lionel Macedo (2009): The Role of Underwriters in Insurance, primer series on insurance, issue 8, September, 2009.
Mahdi Bahrami, Mazaher Ghorbani, S. Mohammad Arabzad (2012): Information Technology as an Improvement Tool for Customer Relationship Management, Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences 41(2012) 59-64.
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