IAG acknowledges project delays

IAG is dismissing scepticism by an insurance industry IT insider of its massive systems rewrite.

There are delays to IAG’s Project Endeavour, some of which trace back to slowness of development in the key UK-sourced software Sirius, but the lag is nothing like the year alleged by one industry source.

IAG is “comfortable that the issues are manageable and not out of step with what you'd encounter in a systems project of this magnitude", says spokesman Sean Hickey, on behalf of CIO Catherine Rusby, who was on leave.

A well-placed source, who insists on remaining anonymous, says the Sirius development has missed several deadlines.

“It started off as a broker system and has been developed into an insurance application. Many [industry people] consider this to be ambitious from an application standpoint as insurance is a fairly complex application; and starting from scratch is risky, as is the Microsoft platform selected, which may not scale in some of the heavy insurance processes. We shall see.”

Endeavour is not only a matter of technology, as Rusby has noted; it is a major change programme to the way IAG will work. The adoption of Project Endeavour will see IAG cutting loose from the previous systems of its merger components, State Insurance (briefly NRMA NZ) and NZI.

“It is certainly a complex and potentially risky project,” says the source.

Project Endeavour was originally a development of State’s alone. Its schedule “was impacted by the acquisition of NZI from Aviva Plc in October last year, which obviously added scope, complexity and scale", Hickey says.

“IAG NZ has a detailed planning and governance framework in place for the project to ensure the transition goes smoothly and that all aspects of the cutover have been identified and planned for. This is constantly reviewed.

“While there have been some delays as development progresses, it's important to stress that these have been from both parties, Sirius from a functionality perspective and IAG NZ from an internal development perspective. However, we have an excellent working relationship with Sirius and are comfortable that the issues are manageable and not out of step with what you'd encounter in a systems project of this magnitude."

Hickey says the "go-live" date for State Direct policy lines is the last quarter of the year, and the company expects to roll the project out to other areas of the business and to corporate partners in 2004.

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