Harlosh has a specialist approach to insurance administration using browser-driven functions that it claims has a significant cost benefit. Andrew Holt reports
One of the most talked about issues within insurance today, and one of the most promoted subjects to brokers, is that of technology. Many companies have their angle, 'spiel' and sales pitch on this issue, but for one company, it is its raison d'être.
This is Harlosh, which was formed in 1993 with the aim of developing a flexible claims and underwriting engine to meet the challenges of the future insurance administration market.
Richard Gordon, Harlsoh's managing director, was the brains behind this vision. His view was to design a piece of technology software that would not restrict an insurance company in the design, rate or marketing of its products.
Harlosh has since released its latest browser-based set of software modules, Insurance Faces, to provide access technologically, and a range of modules to provide a more innovative approach to insurance administration.
Martin Earley, commercial director at Harlosh, says: "All interested parties can be given access to manage or track their area of the process, so less time is spent on data transfer, and getting it right first time becomes more achievable."
He adds: "Bespoke documentation can be produced for the policyholder, or batch runs can handle quotations and policy documents. All documentation is stored as part of the policy, client and claim for access and management."
Earley also promotes two advantages of Harlosh and its business: claims and compliance. There is no doubt that the cost of claims processing, or insurance administration in general, are major challenges for the insurance industry.
“The industry is becoming increasingly competitive, so the need to improve efficiency and business control has become a priority
Martin Earley, commercial director at Harlosh
"The industry is becoming increasingly competitive, so the need to improve efficiency and business control has become a priority," says Earley.
He backs this up by saying that the cost of claims administration can represent over 60% of an insurer's claims process and, as such, even small improvements in efficiency can amount to a major saving.
"If the cost of administering claims can be reduced, the savings can immediately have a positive effect on premium levels and therefore customer satisfaction," Earley says.
Seeing an opportunity, Harlosh responded to insurers' needs by developing a range of solutions that can directly affect the efficiency of claims administration.
"Our claims and underwriting engines utilise the latest in browser technology to provide management of claims information and process, while allowing different users to handle and track claims through a personalised intranet, extranet or website."
Then there is compliance, and the many factors now contributing to compliance reporting requirements, having become a major issue for the insurance sector. For such requirements to be met, brokers must disclose to their customers an excessive amount of information on financial and business processes.
Early adds: "These requirements have become costly to implement and manage, which directly effects productivity. Our customers have an opportunity to not just fulfil their compliance issues but to approach regulation as a standard for following best practice."
“Brokers should be looking at how technology can work for them, when it comes to compliance issues. And it doesn't have to be costly, which many brokers think it will be. Whether you are an insurer or a broker it is vital that you adapt to the technology challenge. Because technology is merely a tool that can, and should be, exploited to provide greater business efficiencies
Martin Earley, commercial director at Harlosh
Harlosh has been working with independent management consultants to ensure that its software fulfils the requirements of a wide range of regulators.
"Brokers should be looking at how technology can work for them, when it comes to compliance issues. And it doesn't have to be costly, which many brokers think it will be," says Earley.
"Whether you are an insurer or a broker it is vital that you adapt to the technology challenge. Because technology is merely a tool that can, and should be, exploited to provide greater business efficiencies."
Although one of the big problems some companies face is adding new technology on top of old. "Attempting to supply a better level of service within the constraints of legacy systems and old technology increases the cost of the administration further," he says.
Harlosh was recently acquired by the Target Group. It operates in both the lender and broker marketplaces.
Earley says: "We didn't want to sell to one of the big boys. They have shown interest in the past, but by joining the Target Group, we will be able to continue and extend our development in the general insurance market."
And while technology is the big focus at Harlosh so are the quality of staff ."The people at Harlosh are key to our business and have been hand picked for their insurance industry experience," says Earley. IT