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    Flood Re

     
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    Landmark saves home owners money on household insurance premiums with its High Performance, Automated Address and Data Verification Solution for Flood Re.

    Landmark was awarded a Managed Service contract along with Capita Insurance Services in January 2015 to design, build and operate an on-line B2B solution for the Flood Re start-up reinsurance business. The design and implementation team was resourced with specialists from Technology, Service Delivery and Insurance sectors to ensure a best of breed solution was delivered.

    Background

    Flood Re is one of the most significant innovations ever to be introduced into the home insurance market. It has been designed to make affordable insurance cover widely available to UK householders who live in homes at risk of flooding.

    The high quality delivery of a wide variety of functions has contributed to the successful launch of the scheme. These include running the Service Desk for industry participants, Design/ Build/Test of the Online Solution, managing numerous data suppliers, creating a state of the art IT infrastructure, providing 24/7 support and Operational Acceptance Testing. The team continue to work closely with the Flood Re team on  further enhancements.

    On 4th April 2016 the solution went live, on time and on budget. It has already allowed the Reinsurance of over 100,000 properties.

    The Challenge

    Across the IT industry, new software developments often struggle to get started as customers tend not to know exactly what they want until they see it. Flood Re was no exception with requirements initially being very high level, which made defining what was ‘Done’ very difficult.

    As well as being a new insurance market innovation, Flood Re was also a new start up business which created difficulties in getting agreement of what the full requirements were. Starting from scratch Landmark deployed a team of business analysts, Programme Managers and technical experts to engage with the industry to agree the work flow and comprehensive data schema.

    There were high expectations that the technology needed to deliver on, in terms data quality, number of hits and response times. As well as this Landmark had to ensure that the build took place at good velocity while maintaining the strongest levels of security and auditability. Flood Re had a hard go live date, which had been agreed in Parliament and with the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England asking questions about the IT delivery – the pressure to deliver was high!

     
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    What we did

    Understand

    The cornerstone of the process was for Insurers to be able to get an online quote for any property in the UK. This process would need to advise if the property was eligible and its council tax band. Landmark integrated specialist third party software to provide an address matching service based on the combined data from the four UK Valuation Offices and the Ordnance Survey AddressBase. The Landmark software wrapper provided authentication, auditing and a service that would provide a very high percentage match rate in a very quick time for the entire industry.

    The most complicated requirement was for a Bordereaux Management system that would automatically receive and verify the re-insured property information from Insurers using multiple underwriting systems. Seventy nine different data fields were needed per property which were then run through 100’s of business rules.

    Build

    Landmark use Agile Development methodologies which worked really well for an innovative service such as this. Regular Sprints allowed requirements to be firmed up as the build progressed. This came into its own with a continuous integration and deployment approach which allowed us to deliver over 10 deployments a day. Developers, Testers and Engineers working together with Open Source technologies to reap the full DevOps reward.

    Deploy

    The service was deployed into a containerised Docker solution on the Landmark Cloud hosting platform. It was deployed in an ‘Active/Active’ configuration across two different datacentres to provide 100% service availability and zero downtime releases.

    Perform

    With a hard requirement of 420 concurrent transactions responding in less than a second, performance testing was a must have. Landmark took advantage of the SOASTA product to artificially generate the transactions of 1000 users. Artificial load was generated from multiple sources to allow the team to iterate improvements throughout the technology stack until the required performance was consistently delivered.

     
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    The results

    • 8 million property address lookups per month with an average response time of less than 0.3 seconds per transaction
    • 100% system availability
    • More than 126,000 properties processed for Reinsurance via the automated Bordereau solution
    • Over £26,846,506 of business transacted through the system

    Key benefits

    • Early communication with end users saves lots of time as go live approaches and de-risks
    • Early release of BETA would gain early knowledge of potential improvement opportunities and take away some risk of the unknown
    • Being open with the customer about the internal workings (including timesheets etc.) gives confidence and can remove excessive meetings
     
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    Technology

    • VMWARE
    • Linux
    • MS Windows
    • Docker
    • Cisco
    • POSTGRES
    • JAVA People (qualifications)
    • Microsoft Certified System Engineer
    • JAVA

    Certifications

    • VMWARE Certified Professional
    • CCNP
    • British Computer Society Chartered IT Professional
    • ITIL V3 Certified
    • Certified SCRUM Master
    • ISTQB certified Test Analyst