Brokers still crippled by software system failure

by Maryvonne Gray 02 Sep 2016

Brokers still crippled by software system failure

‘Frustrating’, ‘maddening’ and ‘pretty rubbish’ is how a bunch of NZ insurance brokers are describing the unprecedented situation of a UK power outage leaving them unable to work for what is now a full working week.

All brokers using SSP’s Pure Broking system in New Zealand have been left in various states of inaction depending on how many applications they had running through the software.

The breakdown was due to a power outage at the software provider’s data centre in Solihull in England last Saturday NZ time.

Murray Rosser, founder of Rosser Underwriting, said the timing had unfortunately coincided with the busy end-of-the-month renewal period, just when the business had been considerably ahead of itself.

“We had just employed a new processor because there had been something of a backlog over the past two or three months, and we were rubbing our hands with joy last Friday thinking we were really ahead of the game and now we’re behind the bloody game again!

“It’s pretty mad, it seems there’s been a lack of testing their system in terms of making sure these things don’t happen,” said Rosser.

“The good news in the medium term is that SSP is going to bring all its Australasian users onto a server based in Australia which will mean we won’t have this time differential we have now with everything being in the UK.

“My main concern is the integrity of our data once we get back up and running.”

He said nothing like this had ever happened in the eight years they’d had the S4B system, and he was relieved that all their non-core functions were now hosted locally and their key Association product was run on another platform.

“Nevertheless we are unable to access the bulk of our policy information, nor can we process any business other than the Association product.

“I am stymied for getting some up to date data I need out of the system so that I can make progress with a couple of important projects.

“But compared to brokers dealing direct with their clients’ needs day to day we are not as badly affected in the short term. Anybody who’s got that situation right now is in deep trouble.”

Rosser said if the time to return to normality stretched out into weeks, rather than days, it would become a real issue for them and they would be looking at a case for a business interruption claim themselves.

“We have decided to remain ‘calm’ until Monday morning. If we are not up and running by then we will initiate whatever form of recovery action we can through SSP and in discussion with our capacity providers.”

He added: “If it was more of a public situation rather than just a bunch of ratbag insurance brokers then there would be a bloody outcry in the street!”

Another affected business was Aim Associates in Auckland.

Insurance Business spoke to Kasturi Satyavarabu who said they had backed up some things into their own system which had helped matters, but they had been unable to transact anything since Monday.

“We were aware they were based in the UK but we never expected a power outage would affect us for five days,” she said.

“They are promising they will have a server based in Australia for the Australasian clients to reduce the risk of this sort of thing happening in the future.”

Satyavarabu said SSP had been in communication regularly.

“They are informing us and the communication is okay but every day we are seeing the same answer which is frustrating.”

Rosser said the subject of compensation had been broached with SSP with the reply that they would consider that once things were up and running first.

Insurance Business was still waiting for the latest update on the situation from SSP at the time of publication.

SSP confirmed on Wednesday it was only Pure Broking users in New Zealand that were affected and maintained no customer data had been lost or compromised as a result of the event.

 
Related stories:
UK power outage leaves NZ brokers unable to work
Kiwi insurers and brokers to benefit from telematics partnership
Good karma predicted for niche underwriter’s rebirth