Improving information management in the Canterbury earthquake rebuild

Improving information management in the Canterbury earthquake rebuild

As 2017 draws to a close, it is an optimal time for reflection of the past.

History demonstrates that it is often during catastrophic events like war or natural disasters that technology innovation thrives. New Zealand insurance companies with clients affected by the Canterbury, Wellington and Kaikoura earthquakes can certainly vouch for that.

Although it’s exciting seeing the new buildings popping up around Christchurch, we should also remember and appreciate the ‘invisible’ developments that have happened to help the city and its’ businesses run better and work more efficiently.

When the earthquakes hit, there was an urgent need for insurance companies to exchange claims information with other stakeholders like suppliers, buyers, logistics companies and other external business partners. To achieve this, information systems needed updating.

There were three main strategic options for insurers to respond to this major information management challenge:

  1. Buy an entirely new system: an opportunity to introduce best practice, but also demanding considerable investment, time delay and process re-engineering in the business.
  2. Build a new own system internally: develop a system customised to an insurance company’s specific needs, but with the cost and risk inherent in custom development projects.
  3. Enhance existing systems. Integrate, automate and extend existing systems to provide the quickest and most cost-effective route to agile decision-making.

The urgent need was an approach that connected existing legacy systems without major disruption to business-as-usual, scaled with growth requirements and brought industry best practices to the entire ecosystem.

Application complexity weighing profits down Insurance giant IAG’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery program was a test case in complexity arising from masses of information, spread across many systems.

It needed a system that could consolidate all of their complex data and provide greater visibility for multiple stakeholders involved throughout the claims process phases.

“Information was emerging and changing literally on a daily basis so we needed to have a platform that was easy to change, easy to configure, relatively low risk around change and wasn’t going to be time-consuming, costly and risky,” said one project manager.

To learn about the option that IAG Canterbury Earthquake Recovery used, click here to download the white paper ‘Agility amongst chaos: Improving information management in the Canterbury earthquake rebuild’.