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Swedish insurer pens infrastructure deal with City Network

Insurance company Folksam is using infrastructure as a service as part of its IT modernisation programme

Swedish insurance company Folksam continues to invest heavily in IT, signing a new infrastructure as a service (IaaS) deal with City Network.

The agreement covers cloud services in the form of the City Cloud for Bank & Finance product. Dedicated to the financial services industry, the OpenStack-based platform meets the strict regulatory requirements of the insurance industry in Sweden and the EU.

One in two Swedes is insured by Folksam, yet its ageing IT infrastructure was causing it to fall behind the competition. The company’s CEO admitted as much last year when he announced a major three-year business transformation project to modernise, consolidate and streamline Folksam’s entire IT infrastructure at an expected cost of up to SEK 1bn (£82m) per year.

The company performs application development and management in-house with about 600 IT staff, plus external consultants.

“Our core IT strategy is to develop all systems that can help differentiate us from our competition in-house,” said CIO Gunnar Fröderberg.

“We are buying the IaaS platform, but we build and manage the front-end applications ourselves. We will only procure standard systems for infrastructure-related requirements.”

After it is implemented over the coming months, City Cloud for Bank & Finance will be the platform for all customer-facing services and will be able to expand its capacity at any time.

Launched by City Network in 2015, the platform is aimed at financial organisations that want the benefits of IaaS but require compliance with EU directives such as Solvency II and Basel II.

The system also complies with data-retention regulations specified by the Swedish Data Protection Authority, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, the Civil Contingencies Agency, the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority and the National Board of Health and Welfare.

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“City Network meets all our requirements for availability and security, which are key parameters as we are shaping Folksam for the future,” said Fröderberg.

“The combination of an attractive pricing model and the ability to make sure we can follow all the rules and regulations our industry is subject to were key reasons for choosing to partner with City Network.”

City Cloud for Bank & Finance is currently available only for Swedish clients because of the physical location of City Network’s datacentres in Stockholm and Karlskrona, but similar high-security clouds for other countries in northern Europe are planned soon.

Last year, Folksam announced a five-year, SEK 200m contract with Nordic telecoms provider Telia to provide services for contact centres and fixed, mobile and enterprise networks.

Telia’s cloud-based call-centre platform CallGuide will help employees manage multiple contact channels over a single platform, including phone, chat, email and web.

As part of the deal, Folksam will move its private branch exchange (PBX) into the cloud and continue with Telia’s cloud-based enterprise network, DataNet.

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