While NASA may have popularized “Faster, Better, Cheaper,” the philosophy behind this mantra has driven the reengineering efforts of many industries since at least the beginning of the Industrial Age.

The insurance sector is no exception, with its never-ending quest for ways to get business done more efficiently and at lower cost, while still maintaining high quality. Technology has responded: business process management (BPM) has developed into a systematic approach to plan, design, model, execute, and manage processes across the enterprise. Core insurance systems have evolved from basic record-keeping platforms to full-function platforms that incorporate embedded workflow functionality.

“Some of the larger functional systems, like claims, underwriting, or policy administration, now have very impressive process management capabilities built in,” says Rod Travers, executive vice president, Robert E. Nolan Company. “These systems have the ability to be configured, rather than modified with custom programming, which is also the whole notion behind BPM. You design the process, and the technology is so flexible you can very much enable that without a lot of coding.”

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