Life Rater

Pilot by Axe’s innovation team

An example of how responsive Axe and Axelerator are.

By Martin Stewart : 1st of December 2018

The situation:

When you’re performing hundreds of thousands of life insurance premium rating requests each day from agents’ planning systems having many small steps in the process mean delays can quickly mount up.

And for one retail Life Insurance company, focused on providing a great user experience, it was imperative that their agents were able to get accurate quotes as fast as possible.

As their Head of Projects & Strategic Delivery explains, “as far as we were concerned what we were offering wasn’t optimal. The technology we were using at the time required a number of steps to send a request, receive and display the result, which meant the overall response was relatively slow.”

The challenge:

At the time they were using Axelerator’s web service on the main production system to do premium calculations. The challenge was to implement a more responsive, remote solution that met privacy and security guidelines, while still using the existing premium rating rules so the service would always get exactly the same premiums as the main production system.

The process:

“We’ve been working with The Axe Group since 2008, when we initially implemented the Axelerator system. Since then we’ve worked with them to update its features including the development of an underwriting workbench, an eClaims solution, and the first online application form in the market to allow financial advisers to apply for life insurance cover on behalf of their clients. They are great at developing new features and tools based on feedback from us, and from across the market.”

“We gave them our challenge, which was to provide a rapid response rating solution that was easy to deploy and update, and that would offer a low cost for each deployment, as several raters would be needed. Axe were fast in coming up with the solution but what was most reassuring was that they trialled options and proved the solution was viable before we had to commit to any cost.”

The solution:

In only 3 days Axe built a working ‘rater-in-a-box’ that used the existing web service API so there was no rework needed by the agents’ planning software vendors.

To provide a rapid response and avoid privacy and security issues, the solution was configured to be fully memory resident, with the results deleted as soon as the rating is completed.

To ensure the exact premium is calculated in every case the premium rating rules and associated tables were copied from the production system. And to provide further certainty, a validation service was included in the solution so that advisers could verify they had selected a valid combination of benefits and options.

Adding to the efficiency, once the quote is approved the adviser can submit all the quote information and immediately start the policy application.

To keep costs low an open source Java Application Server was used as well as a lightweight, open source database. The entire solution is deployed in a Docker container which can be easily deployed into any data centre or via the cloud. To keep the rater up to date Axelerator CloudSync automatically redeploys the Docker container whenever the system is updated.

The results:

The overall response rate dropped from over 3 seconds to less than a quarter of a second, with no reduction in accuracy. Further tuning is expected to reduce this time even further.

Because existing components were used there was little work involved in rolling out the solution, and by using an open source solution for the application server and database the cost of each rater is minimal.

“Every project has to meet internal rates of return, based on revenue or efficiency. It’s fair to say we’re happy with the results.”

Final thoughts

As a bonus the client is now not only intending to use this perform rating for external systems but is also looking at revising the architecture of their internal systems to use this solution as their common internal rating engine.

“As the business grows we need to find more efficient ways of working and implementing new technologies. Smaller incremental projects like this will help stimulate the internal appetite to take bigger jumps forward. Our continued drive is to transform our business to be more efficient and provide an overall better experience for our people and our customers.”

“The Axe Group have the scale and mindset to deliver robust solutions; but the best thing is that they bring us new ideas. It’s great to get those insights, which you don’t get from other vendors.”


Whether you’re looking for an innovative platform to support business growth, you’re over capacity and need to outsource a project, or you’re in a jam and need a rapid solution, Axe is ready to support you.