Swiss Re

Swiss Re leverages Cloud Technology and Data Services for its Digital Risk Intelligence Solutions

Powerful Azure-based digital solutions provide better insights into risks and enable digital native risk transfer solutions in a highly automated fashion.

  • Solutions in this case
Executive summary

Swiss Re makes better use of data and technology to provide its clients with solutions addressing client current and future needs and opportunities, ranging from bespoke analytics solutions to scalable platforms for parametric insurance and reinsurance capacity. A Cloud native approach allows Swiss Re to efficiently deploy solutions in traditional as well as new digital markets.

  • Challenge
  • Approach
  • Results

Challenge

To expand its offering and address the ever evolving needs of society and businesses to better manage risks, Swiss Re is leveraging data and technology to develop new solutions, for example a scalable platform to provide parametric insurance products. The build of such a platform required a more agile, future-proof architecture to support the required scalability, interoperability and integration into digital markets. A cloud native approach allowed Swiss Re to make this happen in a highly efficient and effective way.

As these solutions require to be scalable and deployable worldwide with easy-to-access, easy-to-use products, a public cloud first strategy has been implemented. Microsoft Azure being one of the global partners provide the necessary platforms and services to enable such digital solutions.

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The right platform, the right partner

Through its cloud-first strategy and mission to make the best use of data, underlined by its digital initiatives and strategic alliance with Microsoft, Swiss Re is implementing innovative solutions for clients.

With an eye focused on emerging technologies and an ear tuned into ongoing dialogue with clients, Swiss Re’s Solutions team is continuously looking for ways to enhance, simplify and further streamline processes in the insurance value chain.

They see potential in both aspects – innovation and productivity. Innovative new solutions for example providing better insights into risks and providing tools to clients that help assess risks , exposure and impact in a more granular and timely fashion make use of data such as satellite imagery data and cloud data services in order to efficiently process massive amounts of data in near-realtime.

Productivity driven by automation of business processes allow knowledge workers to focus on decision-making while the machine can process clerical, repetitive tasks at scale, consistently.

Providing these services for better risk intelligence and more rapid turnaround required an agile platform that would allow Swiss Re to develop scalable, globally deployable products. Additionally, to further optimize the development process for more cost- and time-efficient releases, Swiss Re wanted a modern DevSecOps workflow that would guarantee maximum up-time.

Moving away from an on-premises platform and onto a cloud-based infrastructure was only the first step. Once in place, the company would also need continued support in developing the end-to-end solutions that would run on that architecture.

Looking at partners, Swiss Re appreciates partners on this journey sharing the same values and objectives of a cloud-native, modern and highly efficient approach to deliver digital platforms. Swiss Re chose Codit for its in-depth Azure expertise paired with experience in delivering digital platforms across multiple industries. In a continued partnership, Swiss Re entrusts Codit with new development projects.

Marco Peyer, Swiss Re Head Solutions, P&C IT / Director / P&C Reinsurance explains, “In particular, we value Codit’s expertise, when it comes to Azure cloud stack. That expertise not being pure theoretical knowledge but put at test in practice and in industries that do rely on robust, modern and efficient digital platforms as we do. Our colleagues at CodIt are integral part of our delivery teams and bring in perspectives and viewpoints from beyond our industry and beyond our partnership. That’s inspiring for us and stimulates additional thoughts that we can leverage in developing our own projects.”

I appreciate Codit’s speed, pragmatism, quality and tangible delivery – on a daily basis.

Marco Peyer Head Solutions, P&C IT / Director / P&C Reinsurance, Swiss Re

Approach

Codit and Swiss Re joined forces to build a robust Azure-based architecture to future-proof the business and position it for rapid solution development. Once the architecture was complete, the teams developed a multi-tenant application and followed its great success with additional solutions on that platform.

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Flexible, future-proof architecture and faster development

To deploy the architecture as quickly as possible, without compromising on quality, Codit used several powerful Azure services, such as Azure App Service for the web interface, Power BI for reporting, Azure API Management for API security and governance, and Azure Logic Apps for building a workflow for automating and monitoring the system. Additionally, the Codit team employed Azure SQL Database with Elastic Pools to simplify the management of partitioned databases and facilitate data processes within the microservices solutions.

In a matter of weeks, Swiss Re and Codit, developed a working prototype of the first microservices-based solution: an automated parametric insurance product app, connected to real-time flight data from a real-time flight data trusted third-party.

Moving forward, the teams worked together to further expand Swiss Re’s offering, realizing several end-to-end solutions including risk intelligence solutions for natural catastrophe risks, and a scalable parametric insurance platform.

To develop these high-scale services, the Codit team used Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), a fully managed Kubernetes PaaS that allows Swiss Re to develop on top of Kubernetes without having to host a cluster itself. With Kubernetes, Codit was able to easily build, deploy and scale services’ container workloads by using tools from the container ecosystem as well as use the native Azure Monitor integration to operate everything.

Within these browser-based and API solutions, Swiss Re combined location data, such as climate change and natural catastrophe impact with real-time background maps and satellite imagery for more accurate risk assessment at a glance.

Results

By partnering with Codit, Swiss Re had a robust Azure-based platform, and deployed its first cloud-based solution, all within a record-breaking 8 months. Swiss Re and their clients immediately saw benefits from its automated parametric insurance app and has since launched several more digital solutions.

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Data-driven solutions, fueled by technology with a people-driven strategy

Today, Swiss Re is equipped with a future-proof platform through which it can serve its clients better and faster than ever. The company’s collaboration with Codit allowed early on to gain experience on public cloud in providing a native digital solution in support of Swiss Re’s cloud-first strategy.

Thanks to Codit’s expertise and the flexibility in Azure services, Swiss Re was able to bring its vision of a cloud-based, data-driven solution from ideation to realization in only 8 months. Beyond the infrastructure’s initial development, the agile platform and further collaboration with Codit has enabled Swiss Re to quickly develop many other solutions to serve clients’ immediate needs.

“In a digital market, the pace is determined by the market, technology advancement and not by predefined project timelines,” says Marco Peyer, Swiss Re Head Solutions, P&C IT / Director / P&C Reinsurance, “It’s amazing to see how quickly we can turn an opportunity with a client into a first minimum viable product. If it took us some years ago easily 3 months to complete an initial analysis and feasibility study, now we’re able to deploy a value-adding solution to our clients in the same timeframe. Our focus has clearly shifted: from worrying about if and how we can technically provision a platform, we can now rely on a scalable Cloud setup with platforms as services allowing us to focus on business innovation, client and market needs and user experience. We no longer have to engineer many of the elements that we once had to – as lots of it got commoditized, we differentiate through our risk intelligence and risk transfer solutions, with a modular architecture on a scalable infrastructure so that we can anticipate rapidly changing client an market needs and opportunities. It’s key for success and giving our people lots of excitement to work in such a modern environment.”

Offering good value for the effort spent, Swiss Re’s plug-and-play automated parametric app for distributors such as airlines, travel agents, and insurers was one of the initial landmarks, laying the ground for many more solutions leveraging a similar approach in other areas of its business.

Data and Technology are essential – but none of it would work without people.

Marco Peyer, Swiss Re Head Solutions, P&C IT / Director / P&C Reinsurance, shares, “It is true that with rapid advancement in the technology space and thus ability to handle large volumes of data in an efficient way, digital transformation is associated with the two angles data and tech. But let’s be clear, any advancement in this space has been done by people. And use of it and turning it into opportunities and new solutions, is done by people. So it’s the people who make the difference. Despite lots of automation, infrastructure as code and other concepts of having technology making use of technology and data, it’s a human’s aspiration to make things easier to use, to make things faster and to build new things. Therefore, I put strong emphasis on people. Be it in talent development with continuously learning new things, be it in leadership empowering people to work in a high-paced environment with modern technologies, be it in working with partners like Codit as an integral part of a delivery. It’s us the people who make it happen.”

Peyer continues, “To make things happen successfully, we need a mindset of continuously learning, improving and fostering our expertise – that’s what we are looking for when working with partners –people with the right mind set to deliver innovative, winning solutions with the required skills to make things happen efficiently and effectively. People who think beyond the obvious, who can project ideas on a longer-term perspective and understand things holistically are the ones who help us to create flexible architectures. That’s exactly why we like to work with Codit – the team thinks and acts exactly along these lines.”

Codit Managed Services continues to support the Azure services and platform behind the scenes, and its development team works closely with Swiss Re as the company digs even deeper to transform data into more digital-based solutions.

A word from the client

“Thinking in an agile way means thinking about architecture, solution design principles and balancing immediate needs to long-term opportunities. A balance that our colleagues at CodIt maintain very well. The team does not only incorporate our objectives and needs by carefully listening, the team also continuously strives for operational excellence and new ways of getting things done in an even better way. This clearly puts us in a good spot to deliver on future opportunities. ”

Marco Peyer Head Solutions, P&C IT / Director / P&C Reinsurance, SwissRe

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