Overcoming the Challenge of High-Volume Data Acquisition While On-Boarding New Customers
Hannover Life Reassurance Company of America is the North American life and health reinsurance subsidiary of the Hannover Re Group, one of the largest reinsurance groups in the world. Hannover Re transacts all lines of property, casualty, life, and health reinsurance, has a presence on every continent, and employs more than 3,300 people. Since its founding in 1966, the Hannover Re Group has evolved a network of more than 170 subsidiaries, branches, and representative offices around the world.
No two insurance companies are exactly alike, and perhaps that accounts for the challenge facing Hannover Reassurance Company of America (Hannover Re) when onboarding new customers. Hannover Re’s customers sought reinsurance products to cover their own risks in the areas of property, casualty, life, and health insurance. They provided Hannover Re with requisite information about their policies in force, claims, reserves, transactions, and more using a wide range of file types and formats—from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with multiple tabs to CSV and TXT files, even ACCDB database files.
Ingesting all this information and transferring the salient details into the Life Reinsurance module of Hannover Re’s SAP system was posing ever-greater challenges. Hannover Re’s existing custom-coded onboarding system was unable to keep pace with the variety and volume of information. That inability slowed data ingestion and transformation, which subsequently delayed downstream analysis by other teams at Hannover Re.
While Hannover Re officials understood that this was, technically, a data integration and data management challenge, they also understood that ultimately they needed to solve a business challenge: They needed not just a better way to bring information into Hannover Life Re, they needed a way to enable teams to access and use that information without intervention by the IT department.
Hannover Re found the solution to both challenges in Actian DataConnect. Actian DataConnect is an integration solution that enables an organization to quickly and easily design, deploy, and manage integrations on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments—with no limits on data types or volumes. With its emphasis on reuse and adaptability, DataConnect is engineered to help an organization cost-effectively integrate diverse data and applications from numerous endpoints.
Working with Actian, Hannover Re used Actian DataConnect to create an automated workflow that integrates all the steps required to ingest and transform new customer data files so that they can be loaded into Hannover Re’s SAP system, from which it can be accessed and used by different Hannover Re teams. Actian DataConnect facilitates everything from source file ingestion and routing to data and metadata analysis, field mapping, transformation, loading into SAP, and notification of the completed process. Any source file can be processed automatically upon being loaded into a designated repository. Source files can also be processed on demand by any user in the system—without having to engage the IT department.
The process improvements enabled by Actian DataConnect at Hannover Re could be seen immediately by personnel throughout the company. The time required to onboard a new client dramatically decreased, as did the amount of manual intervention that onboarding had previously required. Actian DataConnect relies on validation rules to ensure data quality and tracks task execution in a database that ensures process visibility. If any step in the onboarding process fails to pass data and validation checks, Actian DataConnect can automatically restart the step that failed.
“Because we deal with data from disparate insurance clients, the data types are diverse. Files range from small and manageable to complex and large,” says Vinod Kumar, Assistant Vice President of Software Development and Information Technology at Hannover Re. “With this set of diversified sources, we needed to pay special attention to the integration process because the more sources, the more complicated the process. Our data model needed to be comprehensive enough to hold all possible data values from these various sources and to provide a consistent data structure for any downstream process—now and in the future. The power of Actian DataConnect enabled us to manage all this very efficiently.”
For Hannover Re, the benefits of Actian DataConnect are clear and compelling. Onboarding and data gathering now occur quickly, accurately, and painlessly. New customer information is readily accessible within the SAP system, where all the teams at Hannover Re who need that data can find and work with it to make faster, better decisions and present customers with new offers and superior options.
“We saw a need to give all stakeholders in the organization more organized and trustworthy data,” says Kumar, “so they could make effective decisions quickly and efficiently. We set forth with a goal that our integration effort would provide a single, consistent source of data for any downstream processes, and Actian DataConnect made that happen.”