Lately, we’ve been getting a ton of positive customer feedback about our website quoting flow, and more generally, our streamlined processes. The number of people getting online quotes from us has been growing dramatically, and currently represents about 70% of our overall quoting activity. To top it off, we recently found out that we’re a finalist for the Insurance-Canada Technology Awards. I’ll be heading to Toronto next week to find out if we’ve won.
All of this seems to confirm our decision to invest significantly in software development by building our own systems from scratch, instead of buying a license to someone else’s. At the time, this wasn’t a decision we took lightly.We knew that either way our policy management system would be our single largest investment, and would have a huge impact on how we interact with our customers.
The “safe” route certainly would have been to just buy something off the shelf. It’s true that going that route would have still meant a significant cost.We’re talking 6 figures, plus big consulting bucks to get the vendor to customize/configure the system for our use, then ongoing maintenance/support fees after that. But at least with an off the shelf system, you have some certainty that at the end the system is going to work, and that any bugs aren’t going to be your problem to fix. We’ve all heard the horror stories of IT projects going horribly awry. Ultimately there were a few important reasons why we didn’t go that route:
So yes, we’ve built our own policy management system, from scratch. It’s been a huge undertaking, and I’m sure if I had hair, I’d have a few more grey ones now. We’ve had a few dicey moments when bugs were introduced into our production environment, from which we’ve had to scramble to recover. All-in-all, it’s been an amazing learning experience for all of us, and we feel we’re now ideally positioned. Because we’ve written the system in-house we’re extremely nimble. There have been many occasions where we’re doing some brain storming and come up with a new feature we’d like to try out, and we’ve got it in production a few days later. Let’s see any of the giant insurance companies based out east do that!
As the IT guy, I could bore you for hours with details about our system, but I’ll save that for a future blog post!
About this blog
This blog is prepared by Square One's leadership team and is intended to give you a behind the scenes look at starting-up a new company in a very mature - and sometimes stodgy - industry. This isn't a blog about insurance, which would be pretty boring even for us insurance geeks.