2016 Closed Block Vendor Spectrum: Options for Outsourcing and Technology Transformation

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30 March 2016


Factors such as low investment returns, management distraction from a growth agenda, and increasingly higher costs to administer shrinking blocks are leading insurers to question what they should do about the management of products that they no longer consider strategic.

Closed blocks (or books) are defined as policies that are no longer sold actively, but are accounted on the financial statements of a life carrier as premium-paying policies.

An update to Celent’s 2013 reports on closed block solutions, this spectrum report aims to provide a sample of the solutions available to insurers seeking to reduce their closed block operational exposure while retaining ownership of the customer. Closed block divestiture or exposure containment via a reinsurance arrangement are not addressed in this report.

In total, this report profiles 16 vendors in the areas of business process outsourcing and technology transformation. The vendors profiled report that nearly 40 BPO deals and more than 50 technology transformation deals were completed in the last 36 months, mainly across North America and EMEA.

“For insurers keen to retain customer ownership, BPO and technology transformation remain popular options for containing costs and reducing the risk of technology obsolescence over the lifetime of a block,” says Karen Monks, an analyst with Celent’s North American Insurance practice and coauthor of the report. “Based on vendor data, insurers are making strategic decisions in regards to managing these blocks.”

“Managing a shrinking book of business from a high fixed cost base is a significant concern for many insurers,” says Jamie Macgregor, senior vice president of Celent’s Insurance practice and coauthor of the report. “Many of the solutions covered in this report aim to provide the potential to both develop a strategy and then manage the transition to a variable cost base. However, no two solutions are the same, and the risk involved in the transition is often considered high. Careful planning and due diligence are recommended prior to making a decision to proceed.”

Much of the information presented in this report is taken directly from each participating vendor. No formal evaluation or comparative analysis of the propositions has been undertaken. The aim of this report is simply to provide an overview of the propositions being marketed currently.

This 84-page report contains 67 tables and 22 figures.