Insurance comparison websites create IT headaches

The increasing use of comparison websites is causing IT performance issues for insurance companies, according to software company Macro 4.

The increasing use of comparison websites is causing IT performance issues for insurance companies, according to software company Macro 4.

Phil Mann, principal consultant at the firm, said insurance companies can't always cope with the flood of automated requests for quotes from comparison sites. "We've come across a number of insurers who have experienced IT performance problems and soaring computer processing costs," he said.

"Companies already have quotation engines that generate insurance quotes [internally], but these are often part of older systems, very often on mainframe computers and embedded in processes used by sales and customer service staff," said Mann.

But generating quotes for comparison sites, especially in sectors such as car insurance, can be a time-consuming process, as many variables are involved in the calculation.

"The huge increase in the number of requests coming in from comparison sites - as well as the need for an 'immediate' turnaround - massively bloats the workload for the mainframe computer processor," he added.

"The insurance companies can't afford to miss out on potential sales from the comparison sites so they've tended to go for the quick fix of buy more processing power, which can be very costly and doesn't always work if the problem is really an application performance problem."

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