In just a few months, TCS Insurance has improved the efficiency of their policy rating system by 750%, and reduced their annual IT requirements by 20,000 hours. This amazing savings is coupled with improved data access and speedier turnaround on everything from rate evaluation to competitive pricing analysis.
These amazing improvements were accomplished by taking advantage of parallel programming on a Microsoft Windows Server. From 1999-2010, TCS maintained duplicate data on both a mainframe computer and a web based server. This system seemed the only way to meet the dual needs of processing huge amounts of mathematical data and having critical information available to agents in a timely manner. Such duplication required that the systems be maintained separately, requiring extensive IT staff time.
TCS is known as one of the top auto insurance companies in New York City, grossing $130 million in revenues in 2009. It receives high ratings both from within the industry and in customer recommendations. Since 1985 the company has offered a broad variety of insurance products in 3 states. Improving their ability to adapt rates according to internal rules for adjustments is critical for maintaining such excellent service.
Key to the requirements was performing analysis of varying scenarios to calculate the potential results of rate changes. This rating engine requires heavy mathematical calculations, with results available to agents as quickly as possible.
Microsoft parallel programming through the Windows Server operating system environment meets both of these needs. Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4 effectively uses modern multiprocessing.
With the aid of a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, it took only four weeks for an operable parallelized rating engine to be developed. The following three months were devoted to testing and documentation to ensure an accurate, quality product. The system went live in February 2010.
On the new processors, running parallel in F# code, policy rating jumped from an average of 10 policies per second to 89 per second. The Visual F# is suited to mathematical problems, and is an integral part of the Visual Studio 2010 package. The .NET Framework 4 does not require compilation, and is implemented through runtime library routines. IT specialists familiar with working in Visual C#, Visual Basic, or Visual F# could easily adapt to the new platform.
TCS evaluates policy rates in light of 80-100 rules, and with Visual Studio 2010 these could be evaluated independently, with only minor changes to the coding, using parallel For Each loops. Instead of building spreadsheet models and waiting for testing on the mainframe, pricing analysts can now test validity rates for a batch of 50,000 policies in about nine minutes. TCS’s Manager of Application Development noted that this has allowed the company to reduce a rate-change cycle from three months to just one month, giving them a significant market advantage.