User:Mnayar/SICS :CSC's application suite for reinsurance
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“SICS” is the world’s foremost suite of applications for the reinsurance and international insurance markets developed and supported by CSC. It provides the administration solution used by more companies, in more locations, and by more reinsurance professionals than any other software today SICS is the world’s leading software for managing complex reinsurance businesses of all types, assumed and ceded. In 2009, more than 90 companies worldwide use the product. SICS supports all types of organisation – large corporate companies, small start-ups and niche players. It delivers cost effective administration by running one integrated solution on a single unified database, with reduced processing costs. Customers include some of the world's largest reinsurance and insurance companies, such as Swiss Re, Partner Re and Allianz. Large companies usually buy SICS to replace internal systems and consolidate data and processes into one, centralised system. Gains come through reduced IT costs, improved and standardised processes, improved data quality, better reporting, and access to new features, and ability to monitor the business internationally.
SICS was originally developed in the late 1970s as an internal system for Storebrand International. SICS was an abbreviation for "Storebrand International Contract System." In early 1980s, Storebrand sold the intellectual property to a group of employees who saw market potential for a standard offering. In the years that followed, ownership changed through a series of company aquisitions. Owners have been ISS, Swiss Re, Paxus, the Continuum Company (1994), and finally CSC (1996). The operational structure of SICS has remained relatively unchanged through these changes: The development department has remained in Oslo (Oslo + India since 2004) and there have been regional offices with business - and technology experts in Switzerland, Italy, UK, Sweden, Germany and US. In 1994 plans were formed to build a new version of SICS. The market was looking for a more modern system, utilising object-oriented technology, graphical user interface and relational database. Functional analysis and modelling was completed through 1994 and 1995. Programming work started in 1996, soon after the owning company at that time (Continuum) was acquired by CSC. More than 100 employees and consultants from 27 different nationalities participated in the development project. The new version of the system was named SICS/nt (SICS New Technology). The market was quick to adopt the product. Particularly in the years following 2000, customers experienced the system as functionally complete and stable. The product was, and remains, the world's leading computer system for reinsurance administration. In 2003 the system was extended with an XML-based Web Services interface. Thus it became possible to integrate SICS/nt with other systems through the so-called service-oriented architecture - SOA.
In 2007 CSC launched SICS Custom. This concept covers development of components and new user interface tailored to individual customers' needs. SICS Custom solutions typically integrate with SICS via the open Web Services interface. During 2005-2008 the product's source code was translated from Smalltalk to Java. The purpose was to move the application to a long-term, strategic development platform, while keeping functionality and user interface experience unchanged. With the launch of the Java version in June 2008, CSC reinstated SICS as the product name. In 2009, the product suite was extended with SICS EI - an Enterprise Integration framework that allows customers to easily configure data extraction, transformation and loading/processing in SICS, via the Web Services interface.
SICS (and SICS/nt) has throughout its lifetime been managed as a standard product suite. All customers receive the same version of the system. CSC does not build special variations for some customers (most recently, however, SICS Custom opened for tailored development of add-on components). CSC develops new features based on requirements from individual customers, and customers pay for these improvements. The product therefore grows to deliver increased business value for all customers, while development cost is spread across contributing customers.
Annual User Conference
SICS has a large and active customer base. Many are competitors in the reinsurance market, but have common interests in evolving the system and share experiences for increased benefits, improved operations and reduced costs. Each year, CSC hosts the "SICS User Group Conference", usually in a European city. It typically attracts 100 customer representatives from 25-30 companies. The program includes lectures and seminars on functionality, technology, experiences, implementation projects, trends in the reinsurance market, etc. The conference has been held every year since 1984.
SICS is an integrated system that covers all areas of reinsurance: Underwriting, Claims, Accounting, Business Partners, Insurable Objects, Retrocession, multi-Currencies, multi-Company, etc. The following products are available:
- SICS P&C (Property & Casualty)
- SICS Life
- SICS Cede
SICS Cede is the newest member of the product suite. It handles outbound reinsurance for direct insurance companies.
SICS has its own reporting solution that is based on the reporting tool Business Objects. Most of the 4000 data items in SICS are available for pre-defined reports and "ad hoc" reporting.
The original version of SICS was programmed in COBOL. Data was stored in indexed VSAM files. The customers ran the system on Mainframe computers or on UNIX. This original version (informally known as 'SICS Classic') is still in use at some companies. SICS/nt, which was re-developed during 1996-1999, was developed in the object-oriented programming language Smalltalk (IBM VisualAge for Smalltalk). Data was stored in a relational database (either Oracle, SQL Server or DB2). The latest version of the product, SICS version 4, is developed in Java. Database support is unchanged. The internal application architecture makes extensive use of object-oriented frameworks and design patterns. In 2009, the system consists of approximately 15,000 classes and 800 screens (windows). The business logic and user interface is packaged in a so-called "Rich Client" application. Remote users typically access the SICS Workstation through Citrix technology. SICS requires Windows operating system. The product supports relational databases Oracle, SQL Server and DB2 UDB for Z/OS. The system features an XML-based Web Services API, which follows the standards defined by the [[W3C] and WS-I. The optional SICS Server component implements the Web Service for receiving and processing incoming XML (SOAP) requests. The translation from Smalltalk to Java was done using automated translation tools developed by CSC. Through "SICS Custom", CSC offers development of custom components developed in Java, typically using web browser based architecture. System documentation is produced with Adobe FrameMaker. CSC uses Quick Test Professional (QTP) for automated regression testing of SICS.
SICS R&D (Research & Development) department consists of a team in Oslo, Norway and in Noida, India. The department is responsible for development, maintenance and support for all SICS products.
International Competence Centres
CSC provides local support to customers via Reinsurance Competence Centres in Sweden, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and the US. In addition, a team of dedicated consultants from CSC Bulgaria provide consultancy services to European customers. These regional offices, together with R&D, constitute "CSC Reinsurance".