2020 R&D Case Study

Toby MacLachlan, 9 April 2021

What is R&D?

Research & Development is the time and effort we put in to bettering our product, future-proofing and securing it, and responding to the needs of our present and future customers.

Why do we do R&D?

We do R&D continuously because the market never stays still, and no software is ever complete.

New technologies (everything from file formats to security protocols) and regulations (from GDPR to the CMA) and ideas (brokers are an innovative lot) demand that our systems are adaptable and future-proof.

An R&D project from 2020 – New Rating Engine

Every year we review and update our product roadmap which includes a significant investment of time and resource into developing products and features that will benefit our client base. In 2020, one of those major projects was to re-write our existing rating engine.

Problem we’re solving

Historically, we would use developers to translate an insurer’s rating algorithm into code, but this was time-consuming and therefore costly.

Instead we wanted something that would remove the need for developers in this process, in order to reduce the time and cost of rate builds and updates.

How we did it

Our clients (insurers and brokers and MGAs) tend to deliver rating guides to us in Excel. So we thought – let’s use Excel. Sadly Excel alone isn’t powerful enough to compute the 100,000s of quotes we have to process every day so we researched and developed a tool that would convert an Excel spreadsheet into code.

Using Open XML we now have the best of both worlds: our clients can make rate updates in Excel without needing to learn new configuration tools, and at Ignite, we don’t need any developer intervention to upload them to the system.

Our CTO worked closely on this project with other developers in both our Manchester and Mysore offices and with our BAs and Testers over a period of a few months.

Result – metrics/screenshot

The results of this project have been excellent. Our build time for new schemes has been reduced by over 50%.

Rate updates now take place without a code deployment and can be done in minutes.

For our clients, this means their rate updates are done at zero cost and within minutes.

R&D plans for 2021

  • MI App
  • OCR
  • Next-best-step

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