Quote comparison and Other New Features in 3.0EA3

OpenUnderwriter 3.0EA3 is ready for download

I'm always very pleased to announce the availability of a new release, but this time it's one that has a couple of features that the team are very proud of. One is large the other is comparatively small, but both make a big difference to OpenUnderwriter's capabilities.

The two features are: Quote comparison, and support for expressions in assessment sheets. I'll describe both in a bit more detail in a moment, but first the normal links and early access release preamble:

Be warned that this is an Early Access release. If you are unsure what that means then please refer to the release notes Wiki page. The release will appear on our download page shortly. If you can't wait, you can grab it directly from sourceforge right now. 

Quote Comparison

We've talked about adding this feature many times in the past, even the very very distant past, but its only recently that it bubbled to the top in terms of priority after three unconnected groups of users started asking us about it. The principal is simple enough: during a quotation the proposer is presented with one set of questions. Once answered, OpenUnderwriter prepares competing quotations from a number of organisations and presents a list of results which the user can select from.

As a concept it fitted well into our existing model. To the extent that my original estimate to implement it in the core system was just a couple of days... in retrospect I was obviously in a very good mood at the time, but the actual effort was only just over a week. And, most of the extra time was taken up with ensuring that normal product development (by which I mean non-aggregator products) wasn't made any more complicated by the additional features.

So, we now have sets of AssessmentSheets at policy and section levels; whereas in the past we had just one at each level. The complexity is hidden from the product developer who only has to consider each product in turn as though it were more or less a standalone product. The premium calculations services, including tax, commission, management change, compliance etc., have all been upgraded to handle the additional complexity. Once premium calculation is complete a new PageFlow widget takes care of presenting the results to the user and letting them select an option.

The AssessmentSheet widget has also been upgraded so that policy administrators and product developers can browse all of the assessment sheets easily.

The new release includes a demonstration aggregator quotation for a term life product. It quotes for three fictitious insurers.

Assessment Expressions

The existing set of assessment lines types have proved themselves hugely flexible and capable over the years, and we've yet to find a product that can't be rated using them, but there are times when a more expressive approach would simplify things. Assessment expressions fill this gap and offer an new level in flexibility.

To recap, we already had assessment lines to represents financial amounts, loadings and discounts represented as rates or fixed values, totalizer lines which sum the values of other lines, referrals and declines, and control lines to constrain the values of other lines (e.g. min/max premium). The new kid on the block is the ExpressionLine. 

An ExpressionLine takes an expresson and evaluates it. The expression is written in terms of the values of other lines. So, for example, you might use an expression like “[sub premium a] + [sub premium b] + [tax]” to sum the values of the three named lines.

The evaluation is performed using JavaScript on the server side, so you can also make use of JavaScript Math functions like min(), max(), avg(), etc.. For example: “Math.max([premium a], [premium b], [premium c])” would evaluate to the value of the largest of the three premium lines.

The release contains quite a number of other enhancements and fixes too. The complete list can be found on the 3.0EA3 release page. We anticipate one more Early Access release before 3.0 goes into Release Candidate phase. We hope you enjoy the new features and would be interested to hear your thoughts and comments.

About the Author

OpenUnderwriter Founding Director

Richard Anderson

Richard is a founder of OpenUnderwriter and has over 20 years’ experience as a software architect and lead engineer, specialising in Insurance solutions. Prior to that he was working on real-time defence and civil aviation systems. He has delivered innovative insurance solutions for companies such as Catlin and Web-X. Richard has been the driving force behind the architecture of the OpenUnderwriter suite of products. Richard is a passionate advocate of open source software and is an active member of the open source community.



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