The launch of Ecliptic, Advent’s dedicated technology business, marks a significant step, not least because setting up a tech company couldn’t have been further from our minds when Advent started out six years ago. Ecliptic was formed after Advent was awarded approved service supplier status by LIMOSS, subsequent to building the LMA’s expert management platform, GEMINI, a market-wide solution it administers on behalf of the Lloyd’s market.
Advent began life as a service provider, which it still is, but technology increasingly became an inevitable part of providing solutions to client challenges. The idea for Ecliptic really began to solidify following the strong market response to the Advantage platform, which was built as our USP. Ecliptic also follows the development of DA Portal (now LIBRA), which is proving highly effective in addressing the all-too common issues facing delegated authority businesses caused by duplication, antiquated processes and inaccurate data.
As with GEMINI and Advantage, DA Portal was conceived in a highly collaborative manner, with open, informal discussions around the requirements, with both sides pitching in ideas in about how to find a way through and resolve the issues. The success of that approach and the positive response these projects gained emboldened us to embrace the next step and launch a fully-fledged technology business, mindful that there’s no shortage of tech providers already vying for the market’s attention. Yet embrace it we did because, during the course of providing solutions we’ve gained a deep appreciation of the issues and challenges facing the market. We’ve also seen how technology has been employed to meet those challenges with vastly varying degrees of success.
Years ago, a claims head said to me: “IT companies approach me saying if you licence our software it will cure all your problems, but I know that’s not true because they’ll have to adapt their tech to our needs, problems and challenges. I also have service providers and outsource companies making similar cure-all promises if we buy their services. I know that’s not true either because technology is a key part of the solution. What we need are people who understand our issues, can help develop a solution and then build the technology to support it.”
This echoes similar sentiments expressed by many other market practitioners over the years, all of which have informed the ethos of Ecliptic. There are many technology solutions out there looking for a problem, but the simple truth is that it is better to start by first having a firm grasp of the problem. Only by fully understanding that can the solution be properly considered and designed accordingly. Once the solution has been agreed, at that point the technology can be built to deliver it. This is better, not only because it produces a solution designed to meet a specific need, but, in carefully selecting and applying the right technology, it is much quicker and far more cost effective.
Regarding the name, in astronomy the ecliptic is the reference plane from which the human race views all the elements of our solar system and is the basis of the ecliptic coordinate system. So this was chosen as the designation of our company, which aspires to be an important guide and reference point in navigating the insurance world.
As mentioned, Ecliptic was launched following the success of GEMINI as a central market service and much was learned during that process that now feeds into Ecliptic. It’s fair to say the market has extremely high security, procedural and compliance standards, so establishing GEMINI was an invaluable learning curve in understanding how to meet those standards and become an approved market vendor. GEMINI is very different to previous market systems as it is constantly evolving, with
phase two now live and phase three soon to launch. Historically, inflexible systems were employed that quickly went out of date and become a problem not the solution, which is why there are so many legacy issues.
It is for reasons such as this that many hold the view that change is time consuming, expensive and difficult because of the complexities. Yet in delivering all of the solutions above we found the opposite to be true. Ecliptic has set out to subvert that market perception by delivering robust solutions extremely quickly. Closer consideration of how that can be achieved, among other things, will be the subject of my next blog.