Allianz Life Begins To Plan For The Future By Tapping The Accenture Life Insurance Platform As Its New Policy Administration System.
To enhance product development capabilities and improve customer service, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America will deploy the Accenture Life Insurance Platform (ALIP). Allianz Life, a subsidiary of Munich-based Allianz SE (US$129.9 billion in annual revenue), has engaged Accenture as its implementation partner as part of the multiyear, multimillion-dollar effort, which will provide a single platform for the life insurer’s variable and fixed annuities business.
“We selected Accenture to replace our policy administration platforms as part of a multiyear effort,” comments Cathy Mahone, SVP of enterprise operations, Allianz Life. “We want to lay a foundation to create and deliver retirement products faster to our customers, enhance customer service and support changing distribution.”
Currently Allianz Life offers variable annuity products through its broker-dealer distribution channel and fixed annuities via its field marketing distribution. “In the marketplace, the distribution is converging, but today we are on two separate platforms – it’s almost as if we are two different companies in our infrastructure,” explains Mahone. “If everything is on the same system, we will be able to align the rules and service across the different product lines.”
Racing to Market
Allianz Life’s current system for variable annuities requires an increasingly unacceptable length of time to develop products in what Mahone characterizes as a relatively inefficient and costly manner. She adds that, following a rigorous selection process, Allianz identified ALIP as an industry-leading option in terms of its ability to accelerate time to market.
“One of the things we’re most excited about is the system’s configurability,” Mahone says. “That will allow us to move faster to deliver innovative products and services more efficiently.”
Allianz plans to install ALIP into its systems environment during 2011, according to Mahone. “In 2012 we expect to launch our first variable annuity product on the system, and in 2013 we’ll add fixed annuities as well,” she reports.
With ALIP in place, Allianz will be able to address ongoing changes in demand for variable and fixed annuity products, Mahone asserts. “As the market moves, definition of products will change, but this will give us the ability to move with the market,” she says.
Built to Last
In addition to ALIP’s capabilities, Mahone cites a durable, successful relationship between Allianz and Accenture as a factor in the carrier’s selection of the solution. “Accenture is an industry leader in this space, and we have a long partnership and a real track record with the firm,” she notes.
Allianz’s confidence in the success of what Mahone sees as a three- to four-year initiative is reinforced by Accenture’s participation in the insurer’s governance process, she adds. “Confidence in the project comes with having the right partner, but also having the right governance,” Mahone elaborates. “Part of that is having Accenture represented on our steering committee so that there is the right accountability on both sides.”
ALIP became an Accenture asset with the firm’s acquisition of NaviSys in 2006; the company has continued to invest in improvements to the platform ever since, according to Mitchel Ludwig, a senior Accenture executive and the ALIP product lead. Ludwig says it was important to Allianz to identify a packaged software option as opposed to a customized option.
“They stressed not only having a partner, but one with a product that had a road map and long-term vision – a plan to grow independently of them,” he says. Having a formal multiyear product release strategy, Ludwig adds, “Allianz would be able to take advantage of a platform that was growing alongside them as well.”
Allianz’s Mahone says she cannot be more specific about the terms of the agreement. “We’re just planning it out now,” she comments. “Next year we’ll hook everything up; we’re trying to figure out now what it will take to do that.”