Representatives from 23 Bermuda-based insurers recently gathered at the Hamilton Princess in Bermuda for an afternoon of engaging discussions on financial technology and the economy.
Like all insurers, those based in Bermuda have their share of challenges. This event provided an opportunity to discuss common concerns about keeping up with changing market conditions and looking for better ways to manage investment accounting and reporting.
Tom Lee, who leads the Clearwater client servicing team for Bermuda insurers, hosted a panel discussion with Sompo International about innovation and accounting efficiency through new technology. Participants also enjoyed an informative presentation by J.P. Morgan Asset Management on the current state of the economy and where it might be heading. In case you missed the afternoon of presentations and socializing, here are three things to know:
1. Best Practices for Enterprise Software Implementation
Implementing a new enterprise software solution can be daunting when you’ve relied on another process for so long. Even so, making the switch is beneficial when you find a product you think will better serve your company. We spoke with Sompo International’s chief accounting officer, Carrie Rosorea, and consultant Estienne Coetzee about their experience implementing a web-based investment accounting solution.
Below are a few pieces of advice for running a smooth software implementation:
- Visualize your ideal process. If you have a network of individuals dedicated to getting your data on the system and training your team to use that information to its fullest potential, make the most of it. You should have a working vision on what you want the implementation process to be like and where you want to go with it. Don’t let old processes hold you back from a better vision for your department.
- Find a provider willing to partner with you. It is not uncommon for a client to want to tweak the system to better meet their vision, even when a software provider has a set implementation process. Make sure you choose a new provider that listens to your input. Such a relationship ensures your company comes out of the implementation with a satisfying product.
- Have someone lead the charge. Implementing an enterprise software solution may involve changing some long-used systems and communicating with multiple departments. Make sure someone in your company is the point-person for communicating in-house and with your new provider throughout the implementation.
2. The 2017 Economy: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?
Nearing the end of the second quarter, the market continues to move slowly, healthily forward — some might say like a tortoise.
Dean Crabtree, head of investment accounting and regulatory reporting at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, offered his thoughts on the condition of the U.S. economy. Treasuries and investment-grade corporate yields did not react much to recent developments under the new administration, and equity markets continue their strong uptrend due to higher inflation and stronger economic growth. According to J.P. Morgan market research data, optimism grows as the soft data statistics like consumer confidence and business surveys outweigh the hard data index around the actual economic numbers. While the first quarter GDP growth did not reach analyst estimates of 1% seasonally-adjusted growth (only increasing 0.7%), this was because of a deceleration in consumption and slower-growing inventories, although some factors did better than expected — like housing and unemployment.
Low unemployment is a good sign interest rates will increase. Dean said people can expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to continue to raise interest rates this year, possibly two or three more times in 2017.
Dean observed that depending on factors such as the implementation of various political agenda items (tax reform, reduction in regulations, and health care overhaul), consumer confidence, global growth and inflation, and GDP, above-trend growth is likely to continue through 2017.
3. Your Input Matters
As the market continues to change and regulations are modified, it is important that new functionalities are added to insurers’ investment toolboxes.
That’s where Clearwater’s clients come in. Using input from our Bermuda-based users, Clearwater recently released new product enhancements that Bermuda insurers will find useful, including new performance reporting features, advancements in client-defined custom fields, and additional Basis II support for tracking separate accounting settings across multiple bases (US GAAP, US STAT, IFRS, UK GAAP, etc.). For more information about the latest product enhancements and how to better use them, Clearwater clients can contact their dedicated account manager for details.
Clearwater remains dedicated to Bermuda-based insurers as we continue to seek ways to improve their experience using the Clearwater system. In December, for example, we organized a client servicing team solely focused on Bermuda. That increased focus is a testament to the support we’ve received on-island. Thank you to all of our Bermuda clients for their partnership.
Keep in Touch!
Once again, we were happy to host many of you at the on-island event earlier this month! Just a note — if you couldn’t make it, or if you are interested in attending more of these types of events, we are hosting a peer-led roundtable for insurers this September in Bermuda. Keep an eye out for updates and how to register.
Special thanks to Carrie, Estienne, and Dean for presenting to the group at Clearwater On Island. And thanks to everyone else who attended! Your involvement in this close-knit, energetic community of Bermuda insurers is an excellent example of why we enjoy working with you so much.