Case Financials

Loyalis and PNA: SLIM

Large insurers such as Loyalis often use multiple software systems that are all structured differently. Consequently, sharing information between these systems is more difficult, which in turn leads to errors in mandatory reports that insurers send to, for example, The Dutch Central Bank (DNB). Together with PNA, Loyalis developed SLIM (Semantisch Loyalis Informatie Model) that describes data meticulously. As a result the exchange of data is a lot easier and the reports based on these data are error free.

Loyalis is an insurance company for employee- and employer insurances. At Loyalis multiple software systems are used. As each system has its own method to, for example, define customer data, exchange of these data between the systems can go awry. An old address not replaced with the new one, or a registered phone number has a new owner. This results in more work and frustration for Loyalis employees who need to figure out what data are correct. ‘We therefore decided, as a company, to focus more on data quality’, Olivier Vijgen, business information analyst at Loyalis, explained as the reason for the insurer to look for a partner to improve data quality. His colleague, Lars Ritzen, adds: ‘The second reason that Loyalis chose to focus on data quality was new legislation. In the context of Solvency II Loyalis has to report to The Dutch Central Bank. In order to be compliant with this new legislation the data has to be correct.’ Solvency II is a supervisory framework for insurance companies that came into force on January 1st 2016.

Lars Ritzen, Information Analyst Loyalis

More expertise

In order to solve their problems Loyalis first approached their parent company, APG. In the approach of APG, however, IT systems had the highest priority, not the needs of Loyalis’ domain experts on insurance. Ritzen: ‘In this business we use our own language: policies, premiums, claims. As a company you want to think and make decisions about data from that perspective. You do not want to adapt to how an IT system defines ‘payments’ for example.’ Vijgen: ‘We also contacted another consultancy firm but when they heard we were also talking with PNA they immediately backed out. They said PNA has much more expertise in this area.’

Clear data

Loyalis opted for a stepwise approach. The company has two focus areas: indemnity insurances and life insurances. Mid 2017 the insurer started with data quality for indemnity insurances. ‘A logical choice, as the focus of Loyalis will shift towards indemnity insurances in the future’ says Vijgen. ‘Within the indemnity insurances we started with the occupational disability insurance. Our first question was: what data do we need to sell the product?’ Ritzen: ‘The next step was applying the CogNIAM method of PNA.’ CogNIAM is an analysis method, designed by PNA, with which you can describe data and processes unambiguously and in a generic fashion, which allows them to be used as the foundation for any software system. ‘With the help of CogNIAM we designed the Semantic Loyalis Information Model (SLIM) to ensure that everything uses our own language, the business language. In the SLIM-model you can capture the concepts you deem important, like ‘customer’ or ‘payment’. Subsequently you determine the relations between these concepts and the definitions of these concepts, which ensures that everyone always uses concepts in the same way. For example: what is the definition of the first sick day?’ Vijgen: ‘After this we added business rules to the model to ensure the concepts are correct and complete. The manner in which the concepts are used in your business processes is also part of the SLIM-model: For example, do you always have to know the date of the first sick day of a customer as defined by the UWV (Dutch Employee Insurance Agency)? Or can you also use the date the customer gives you? In practice it turned out these data are not always identical, because customers sometimes inform the insurer late. It is of course important that it is clear which date is correct, as the right to receive payment and the time of payment rely on this information.’

Priority

‘Working flawlessly is of the utmost importance since the Solvency II legislation came into effect. The SLIM-model not only increased the data quality, but it also showed the Dutch Central Bank that data quality is a priority for us.’ The importance of data management for Loyalis becomes clear if you look at the way the data governance structure is arranged.
Data ownership is invested with the heads of both focus areas (indemnity and life insurances) and the Data governance board, in which the general board and management participate. The Data governance board decides on overarching data issues. Vijgen: ‘The leadership being part of the Data governance board shows data quality is an absolute priority for Loyalis.’
At this moment the SLIM-model for indemnity insurances is completed. The data structure of the data warehouse is also based on SLIM. Vijgen expects the development of the organization-broad data warehouse for Loyalis to be finished around 2020.

Knowledge management runs through their veins

The collaboration with PNA taught Vijgen a lot. ‘Their method of questioning pushed me to think on a much more fundamental level about the data I was involved with. For example the question: What is the difference between a gross year salary and an income? Beforehand I had never thought about that.’ He is also very enthusiastic about the commitment of PNA. ‘You do not notice a difference between the people of PNA, who in the end are external consultants, and our own people.’ He experienced the collaboration with PNA as very positive. ‘In regards to modeling and knowledge analysis PNA is among the best. Moreover they are very self-critical.’ Vijgen especially lauds PNA’s project lead. ‘She is extremely dedicated and ambitious and has even cut short a holiday to give a presentation for us.’ ‘Knowledge management runs through her veins’ agrees Ritzen. ‘She has also been essential in gathering sufficient support. She can explain complex matters in a simple fashion and if the process threatens to slow down, she makes sure that management keeps their eyes on the primary goals.’

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