Your Next ‘Cloud’ Provider May Not be a Tech Company at All

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Your Next ‘Cloud’ Provider May Not be a Tech Company at All

/ July 23, 2009

Last week, Insurance Networking News, published an article about “Cloud Computing”. Although many think that Cloud Computing is something for the future, some leading companies within industries you wouldn’t expect are deploying Cloud Computing initiatives using Mendix software.

Your Next ‘Cloud’ Provider May Not be a Tech Company at All

By Joe McKendrick

If you don’t use Amazon Web Services, modules or rent server capacity from IBM’s facilities, you’re obviously not doing “cloud” computing, right?

Not so fast. Actually, you may already be doing some form of cloud computing, but it’s just not being called that. Cloud computing is defined as the acquisition of services from online providers. As the promise of the cloud unfolds, it’s likely that a typical cloud provider will not be a technology company, but an industry partner that is capable of sharing applications and data.

Take the example of Arch Re Facultative, a supplier of facultative reinsurance in the United States and Canada and a subsidiary of New York-based Arch Capital Group. The company is by no means a “cloud provider”—it reinsures risk for insurance industry clients.

But through its intelligent portal technology, Arch Re has been able to position itself as an online resource for its customers, who have widely varying levels of technology expertise. I recently had the chance to chat with Philip Augur, chief operations officer at Arch Re’s latest portal implementation, which automates much of the “automatics,” and also helps expedite the exceptions as well.

Arch Re’s story appears in the latest edition of Insurance Networking News online.

“We sign an automatic with a company that is interested in submitting the risks in this fashion,” Augur told me. “The underwriters are given a login and password. And as they come across risks in their day-to-day business that fits the box, they come on to our Web site and they submit that risk. The portal verifies that it fits the definitions of the box and applies the pre-agreed pricing. If it doesn’t fit the parameters of the box, it tells the underwriter that, but then it says, ‘we’ll still handle that pure facultative, but they don’t have to re-enter anything—the information just comes through to our staff as a special exception to the automatic agreement.”

The portal has eased a major administrative burden for many underwriters who previously had to track down data from their own internal systems. Now, “some prefer to keep the all the information in our system, so we know what fits the ‘box,’ and it’s easy for us to define that,” Augur said. “So once a month, we’ll press a button, extract that information, and send them the information.”

Could Arch Re be considered a “private cloud” provider to its customers? No, again, it’s a facultative reinsurer, and that’s its business. But the definition fits and, ultimately, many non-technology companies will find themselves in the role of providing services via their own private clouds.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology. He can be reached at

The opinions of bloggers on do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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