Many brokers, insurers and underwriting managers will be familiar with the software solutions Cardinal Insurance Management Systems has rolled out over the past few years. Most notable is the CIMS product, and more recently FlexiBroker after its acquisition from Fulcrum in late 2018.
Cardinal has evolved over the past 21 years from being a broker brand to one that can offer end-to-end solutions to the entire insurance market, and is now rolling out a new product that combines the best of the popular Flexi and CIMS3 products, which Cardinal MD Craig Grasko calls the next evolution in insurance software.
“We wanted to create an evolved product to meet the needs and requirements of this changing market,” he explains. “Cardinal360 is an end-to-end insurance administration platform that encompasses everything from campaigns to lead management, full policy and claims administration, debtors’ and creditors’ sub-ledgers, full reinsurance to document management and workflow.”
Grasko says that Flexi is a solid, stable solution with an effective client base, but the base is in need of a technology upgrade, while CIMS3 is a more modern tech offering, with a more diverse client base and resulting useful features.
“By taking the best of both and evolving CIMS3 into a new product, we are optimising the advantages that these products have brought to market,” he says. “Our three-year strategy is to migrate all Flexi and CIMS2 customers onto Cardinal360, whilst upgrading all CIMS3 customers to the same. This will enable us to better support and maintain our R12 billion GWP customer base on a single solution, whilst also standardising product structures, collections and data sharing for and with the insurers.”
Grasko says that existing CIMS3 clients will automatically be upgraded to Cardinal360 with the next software update, but Flexi clients will need to be patient as the company automates its data migration. “On the plus side, we already have the tech stacks that can bring these products together,” he explains. “We are launching the product in June 2019 but there will be four iterations rolled out over a number of months, each with more functionality. By September, the complete product will be available. We have opted for an Agile rather than a Waterfall approach.”
Grasko says that the platform will have a very modern look and feel. “We have used the latest tools to achieve this, as well as to make navigation simple,” he says. “We have built in data enrichment points for looking up personal or company information, for example, and have created multiple integration points into multiple data bureaus, which means we can pre-populate and verify information whilst increasing data accuracy.”
Cardinal360 takes the CIMS3 multi-quote functionality and enhances it significantly. “It’s like CIMS3 on steroids – we have redone the way it looks but also the way it functions, so it can quote comparisons in terms of both premiums and product features. This is great from both an advice and a compliance perspective, not to mention back-office efficiencies our customers are crying out for,” says Grasko.
Another feature he is keen to highlight is Cardinal360’s integration with DocuSign, which facilitates electronic signatures and more importantly a new electronic ‘Record of Advice’ module direct from the system. “Brokers’ revenue lines have been drastically reduced under the new regulations so a great deal of our R&D spend is on ways to enable cost saving for all our customers,” he explains. “We have also automated month-end runs, which the client can schedule, and the platform sends out notifications. The process was previously a manual one, but we have changed that. Automation operates up to submission of the collection file, which requires actual physical approval.”
Multiple integration points have been created via Application Programme Interfaces (APIs), making it possible to input and extract data from the system. “We have enabled end points into third-party systems, for example, if you record the scene of a car accident on a self-service app on your phone, this can integrate with Cardinal360, which will register the claim on your behalf,” says Grasko. “Our clients are able to offer policyholders their very own self-service portal or mobile app and update information accordingly. We have created APIs for web front-ends, CRM systems and mobile apps – in fact, it’s a fairly open system thanks to multiple API integrations.”
On the compliance side, Cardinal360 offers virtually every insurer-approved standard product available to market. The rapid development and deployment of products is one of the key features of Cardinal360, which also caters for any special arrangements brokers may have with insurers.
“We have created scheduled insurer data extracts that go out every day, according to regulations – we have created a standard layout with every field an insurer could possibly need and we can add others if required,” explains Grasko. “This works across commercial lines, personal lines, speciality covers as well as financial and claims information. The info can be sent to insurers daily, in line with new regulation that will require that insurers have their data within 24 hours. This feature is built into Cardinal360’s software.”
Grasko says the platform can be deployed within a hosted cloud environment, or within the client’s environment if required. “There are two options available – you can own an instance of the platform or you can work in a multi-tenanted environment, where multiple brokers share costs. This makes sense for smaller clients.”
What are the advantages for brokers?
According to Grasko, Cardinal360 offers full administrative capabilities that can be accessed from anywhere provided one works in the cloud. “It depends on the broker’s function and mandate, but it’s possible to have all the requisite information, across multiple carriers and products, in one place,” he says. “Most insurers are already on the platform, and compliance has been built in.”
Grasko says it makes sense to amalgamate Flexi and CIMS3 in this way. “We are currently in two swimming lanes in the same pool – but this will allow us to be in one swimming lane and wear fins as well,” he jokes. “The product will allow us to support and service our clients a lot more easily, align to regulation more speedily, develop better client relationships, enable any components of the insurance market, and integrate with all third parties. We are not building something brand new, but taking products that already work well and accelerating their evolution. Because everything is centralised, we can deploy quickly and easily.”
Grasko says the majority of the technology has been built on Microsoft tech stacks. “Clients don’t have to worry that their software will become outdated as they will get upgrades automatically every time Microsoft upgrades,” he points out.
Brokers don’t have to worry about whether or not they have backed up, or be concerned about cyber attacks should they opt to host with Cardinal. “We take care of everything in both a cloud and multi-tenanted environment, from backups, anti-virus protection and intrusion protection,” reveals Grasko. “We host in the BCX enterprise cloud environment, along with multiple JSE-listed companies, so clients can feel secure. In addition, BCX offer 24/7 services to make sure clients are getting what they need when they need it.”