Jean-Luc VILLETTE is IS Governance Manager at PACIFICA. He explains what are the issues of the banking and insurance sector, in connection with the information systems and looks back on his relationship with ALTEN.
In a field as competitive and highly regulated as insurance, our IT system has to be impeccable.
“ The Crédit Agricole group today operates in two complementary business areas, banking and insurance, which together form a strategic combination: “bancassurance”. Pacifica is the property & casualty insurance subsidiary of Crédit Agricole Assurances, Europe’s leading insurer.
Its products are sold by the Group’s retail banks, the Caisses Régionales and LCL. Pacifica covers all of its customers’ property & casualty insurance needs (e.g. car, home, medical, etc.). The reliability and effective operation of our IT system are part of the reason why retail networks are keen to promote our products and why we can offer an excellent claims handling service. In a field as competitive and highly regulated as insurance, our IT system has to be impeccable. We also have to make sure that this service excellence is extended to our customers and the thousands of users who log on each day.
The challenges are extremely varied:
- Availability: for the benefit of all our customers and users, it is essential that our IT system is always available. Thanks to the Group’s excellent data centre, we have almost 100% system availability.
- Innovation and responsiveness: while Pacifica has a robust distribution network, we have a duty to offer it increasingly innovative and attractive products and services in a fluid regulatory environment so as to maximise its competitiveness. Being highly responsive means regularly issuing live system updates while maintaining the highest standards of quality.
- Innovation and performance: to remain competitive, it is therefore essential that we upgrade our systems to keep pace with the latest market standards in terms of functionality and ease of use. As a result of these upgrades, our IT system has gone from being a monolithic model to a multi-tier model with a range of technologies. Special attention is therefore paid to the performance levels of this complex system.
- Security: opening our IT system to the outside world creates a significant security risk. The Crédit Agricole Group has made security a major priority.”
Working with ALTEN
“To meet these challenges, we perform functional and technical tests before the system goes live. For the past few years, my department has been in charge of non-regression testing, which until mid-2012 was handled by an external service provider as part of group technical support. Keen to refine and optimise this process, we organised a fixed-price tender procedure. This is how we outsourced our third-party application acceptance to ALTEN in 2013.
We swiftly defined a quality assurance plan and service levels based on a mutual commitment: Pacifica would allow access to its acceptance environments while ALTEN would guarantee the performance and quality of its acceptance system. After a year and a half of being partners, we have already dramatically increased the productivity of our third-party application acceptance: this has jumped by 30%, mainly due to the implementation of increasingly industrialised processes based on the automation of test cases, and by maximising our leverage of processes and resources.
This solution is based on ALTEN’s products and services, but has been tailored to our needs. We do not work with a client/supplier model, but operate as a genuine partnership. We guarantee each other transparency over our respective activities; together we manage risk and share the same goal. Ultimately we have the same values as ALTEN: professionalism, competence, transparency, listening and comprehension.”