Of Special Interest


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31st January 2016

Newslink Interview-Xuber increasingly making its mark

In recent months, Xuber, Xchanging’s insurance software business, has been increasingly making its mark, both geographically and across applications.
Insurance Newslink recently dropped in to speak with Chris Baker, Xuber’s executive director, who joined from Oracle, where he was a senior vice president, in August 2014. In October 2012, Xchanging rebranded its low profile insurance software arm as Xuber with a considerable fanfare. Initially, there was a relatively quiet period, and then, just before Baker’s arrival, there were acquisition announcements of Total Objects and all the European operations, Agencyport Europe, from the US-headquartered insurance software business Agencyport Software. There was a delay whilst the Competition and Markets Authority(CMA) examined the proposed takeovers, but all was finally agreed last April. Baker, appointed to integrate and develop the expanded Xuber, said that all three businesses were “holding their own” which is evident from analysis of the 20 plus wins with new and existing clients announced over the last year. He sees the original Xuber offerings as targeting the bigger clients, Agencyport the smaller and more specialist such as health insurance(Cigna was a recent contract relating to international policies), and risk exposure, with Total Objects continuing its success with niche reinsurance and broking offerings, and Cloud delivery globally.
Baker travels extensively, with Bermuda and US key areas-the contracts with Everest Re and Ariel Re are proof of the breakthrough for Bermuda and linked London Market operations. Xuber has been partnering with Deloitte on the Ariel Re development and Baker sees an increase in partner involvement in the future. He said that the Everest Re development “proved we can do scale”. As regards the major opportunities in the US market, Baker believes that to make an impact, it is essential to “think American”-Xuber have attended the major IASA conference for the last three years. He also sees continued expansion opportunities in Asia Pacific-supporting Xchanging initiatives in Singapore, clients in Australia, and a recent win in Hong Kong.
Xuber, prior to the two acquisitions, had 30% of London Market brokers as clients Since then, a major 12 year development with Marsh has gone live with 1,100 users, and recently, Xuber signed up Aon for the development and support of its London Market wholesale broking operations platform.
Baker believes that insurance is about relationships, but is in need of a lot more data to back them up. He also noted that clients’ business people are playing a wider role in systems development and implementation-he estimates that between 60 to 70% of conversations are with management other than cio’s. He says Xuber’s client base want the company to have a point of view-hence the regular flow of thought-provoking white papers being published on a wide range of strategic subjects such as Risk and Regulation, Global Reinsurance Survey, Bermuda Business and IT Priorities, and Local v Global. Xuber also holds occasional informal roundtables.
As regards development, Baker says it is important for clients to achieve “speed to value”, with the market shifting to “end to end” solutions through “workable chunks”. He stressed that whilst driving for standardisation, it is vital to enable differentiation. On analytics, Baker says the key is to focus on “context rather than just content”, with an emphasis on “what if”, relevance, and trends.
Baker final message was “Breed Curiosity!” Xuber’s future progress and leadership is in capable and dynamic hands.