Orbit UK's Managed Gateway for Insurance helps Sabre reduce costs, increase message visibility and improve robustness of delivery
Orbit UK’s Managed Gateway for Insurance helps Sabre reduce costs, increase message visibility and improve robustness of delivery
Many organisations operating in the insurance market utilise EDI to handle the exchange of messages. Where there are legacy systems (that may have been used without problem for many years) issues can arise when there is a requirement to integrate this system with newer technologies. In particular, Web services and cloud technology will struggle to talk to EDI and often need help to bridge the gap. Additionally, many of the latest underwriting and rating platforms have no EDI interface. This makes it necessary to perform translation between the standard EDI message and its XML equivalent.
Sabre Insurance underwrites only motor insurance, principally through intermediaries, but also directly. Based in Surrey, the company has been in operation since 1982.
Sabre has been using a managed service to deal with its EDI messaging for a number of years. But by 2011, they were becoming increasingly unhappy with the service as David Hall, Head of Business Systems at Sabre explained. “There were a number of issues with regard to the account management and helpdesk service we were receiving, but the most important problem related to message visibility.
“We could not easily track the messages going in and out of our system and we had to wait days to get a response back from our supplier. In addition, we were concerned that if anything happened to our supplier, due to the nature of the agreement, we would be left with no message handling at all. Consequently, we decided to look at other options.”
After reviewing the market Sabre eventually decided upon the Managed Gateway for Insurance (MGI) solution, offered by Orbit UK. Orbit UK has over 20 years of experience providing EDI solutions specifically for the insurance industry. Their MGI solution supports multiple channels to market and adds value to the business process by translating between different message standards and validating transactions as they are delivered. The service resides on the international GXS network, which means that the client will always have access to their messages - a key concern for Sabre.
Smooth migration process
“We chose Orbit for a number of reasons,” said David. Firstly, they were easy to deal with and this came across in how they described the migration process and how little it would inconvenience us. Secondly, they provided us with a number of tools that would enable us track messages ourselves, without any need to involve them. Finally, the price was very keen and would enable us to save money over our existing agreement.”
The contract was signed in October 2011 and Orbit UK’s consultants began work immediately on the planning. “I was really impressed with the way they went about the migration", said David. “They dealt with virtually everything themselves, only contacting us if there was an issue they could not resolve. As we were working on a number of other projects at the same time, this approach was very welcome.
The Sabre MGI went live in February 2012 and since then the company has started to enjoy the benefits. “As well as the reduced costs there were a number of other things that were apparent almost immediately", said David. “The delivery of all our messages to and from our trading partners is now significantly more robust than before. We also have total visibility of all our messages, as the tools provided by Orbit enable us to track them ourselves.
“Working with Orbit’s staff has been great", he continued. “They were always very helpful during the design, implementation and migration of the system and since then, whenever there has been a problem they have been quick to respond.”
Platform for future development
The MGI resides on the GXS network. This means that it integrates seamlessly with the existing VANs used by the UK insurance market. It has been designed to accommodate all B2B technology requirements including: Tradacoms, EDIFACT, XML, Web forms and X.400; a feature that is particularly attractive to Sabre.
“We are very keen to look at data exchange with other third parties", concluded David. “Windscreen companies, FNOL providers and industry databases like CUE are important to Sabre. The capability of MGI to integrate all of our EDI data feeds onto a single platform means that we have in place a cost-effective and robust infrastructure that can support the company for many years to come.”
Commenting on the implementation, John Goodsell of Orbit UK concluded, “MGI does not just solve an immediate problem but can handle the whole insurance supply chain issue. This is getting more complex as our recent white paper on the subject identified. MGI has been designed from the outset to cope with new products and services as they are introduced. This means that it supports the Polaris EDI standards and offers direct connectivity options for FTP, SFTP and HTTPS.
“The MGI is a B2B hub that handles all third party connections and data formatting issues. Having such a platform makes it cost-effective to implement e-trading processes with those partners, who, while they are a very valuable source of revenue, only need to exchange relatively small volumes of data for an organisation to conduct business with them. As a result all third party links become standardised, auditable and managed.”
To find out more download the Orbit UK white paper on managing the insurance supply chain.