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Mutual & Federal upbeat about its data migration project

22 May 2013 Kevin Wright, the Executive for Operations at Mutual & Federal
Kevin Wright, the Executive for Operations at Mutual & Federal

Kevin Wright, the Executive for Operations at Mutual & Federal

Mutual & Federal, a member of the old Mutual Group, has announced that its data migration project, which involves the transfer of customer and broker data from an out-of-date mainframe to a highly automated Tia system (a single insurance application pack

“We call it the Mutual & Federal Mainframe Decommissioning project and I’m happy to report that it is progressing well”, says Kevin Wright, the Executive for Operations at Mutual & Federal. “This project started four years ago and has since led to the successful migration of all our personal lines data and 60 percent of the commercial lines policies data”, he continues.

According to Wright, the short-term insurance industry has been experiencing an industrial revolution for the past few years, which is influenced by a new consumer who operates differently. “This kind of revolution is forcing our industry to change with the times and
come up with creative ways to outpace that change. We are at an era where some young customers don’t even know what a bank teller is, simply because they’ve been using technology to do their banking from day one”, he says. “They prefer self service and are attracted to companies that offer such capability”.

Wright points out that traditional short-term insurance players like Mutual & Federal, which has been using the legacy mainframe system for over 30 years, are hampered by legacy issues. Data
migration is one such issue.

He recalls countless teething problems experienced at the time when Mutual & Federal set out on this journey. “We took a lot of pain in the beginning and our customers and brokers were,
understandably, unhappy. Policyholders were lost due to system errors that resulted in multiple debits and the issuing of incorrect policy schedules. We had to take the pile of lessons in and find ways to correct our mistakes. It certainly has been a hard and yet rewarding journey. Our commercial migration that started in September 2012 has gone very well, and we are very proud of what we’ve achieved to date.”

Asked about the benefits of the Mainframe Decommissioning project, Wright points out that the most prominent is the realisation that Mutual & Federal’s I.T strategy is well set for future years,
“because we now have the technology to support it”. Some success stories include brokers accessing data in real time and Mutual & Federal becoming more and more agile in its dealings with brokers.

Wright believes that companies need to understand that mainframe migration projects are not easy and that they are not an I.T problem but an organisation wide problem. He has brought the
data migration lessons learnt in the healthcare industry, where he worked for 18 years, to Mutual & Federal. “I learnt a lot during my tenure in the healthcare industry. Today, South Africa is known as one of the most automated private healthcare industries in the world because of the good work that has already been done,” he says.

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