XL Re has implemented IRIS as its underlying software system to support its rapid expansion, as well as streamline its processing and reporting functions.

XL Re Ltd is part of XL Re, a reinsurance company with a global network of more than 500 people in 26 offices, located in 14 countries. Together with XL Re Latin America Ltd and Le Mans RĂ©, XL Re Ltd represents the international segment of the XL Re brand. Its network of branch offices includes 17 locations, powered by the expertise of over 350 employees. This worldwide scope enables the company to offer clients a wide mix of products which includes property catastrophe, property facultative, casualty treaty, marine and aviation, satellite, nuclear, political risk credit, life and Health and financial products.

When the London branch - the first office outside of Bermuda - was established in 1996, vice-president of IT Richard Johnson was charged with the implementation of the information technology. "We needed to identify and install a single, automated system to handle all elements of our London market marine and aviation treaty reinsurance business," he said. Having investigated a number of systems, XL Re opted for the International Reinsurance and Insurance System (IRIS) from technology supplier Rebus.

Rich functionality
IRIS supports a range of risk distribution channels through the London market bureau and direct trading. Interfacing directly with Xchanging Ins-sure Services (XIS), messages are processed directly into transaction and claim information. This capability, combined with IRIS's capacity to evolve with the XL Re business, influenced Johnson's choice. As IRIS can be implemented in phases - as building blocks consistent with customers' needs - re-licensing issues were eliminated. The product also has an active user group of 20 underwriters. All of these benefits contributed to Mr Johnson's decision to commence a speedy implementation. As the company was a start-up, no conversion was required and the system went live within two months.

Flexible design
IRIS now addresses every function of XL Re Ltd's reinsurance business. It allows XL Re to process information received directly from cedants and via London market International Underwriting Association (IUA) brokers, using accounts and Bx processing modules. IRIS's flexible, parameter-driven design allows the system to be easily configured to suit the requirements of individual underwriters and to manage all classes of business, be it direct, facultative, treaty or proportional. IRIS can also manage all relevant data on excess of loss business. DecisionBase, IRIS's executive information system, enables XL Re to review a book of business at any chosen level, drilling down through multiple layers for the information required. Any trends or areas of exceptional performance are instantly highlighted.

Mr Johnson said: "We were looking for a system to meet 80% of our requirements. IRIS came closer than anything else we looked at and it is now the absolute hub of everything we do."

Expanding needs
After XL acquired NAC Re Corp in 1999, the London office grew and more users were added to the licence. The company as a whole was expanding too. A new office had been established in Singapore to service the growing reinsurance market in the Asia-Pacific region. Independently from London, it too chose IRIS because of its flexible configuration. Following its own evaluation, the Bermuda headquarters also decided to purchase IRIS in 2000. This implementation involved a more complex conversion from SICS and a number of enhancements were added by Rebus to cater for the Bermuda market and specific US processing requirements. The implementation took 20 months to complete.

Now, three of the XL Re offices around the world are using IRIS. "We are looking at building a data warehouse to consolidate information and data across the group. This will allow us to share access, giving business insights to our teams globally," said Mr Johnson.

He said he was more than happy with IRIS's performance. In fact, XL Re has become so involved with the product that he became chair of the IRIS User Group in 2000. In this capacity, he heads an independent team of insurance underwriter representatives to steer development using democratic processes, embracing new technologies as they emerge.

In the meantime, XL Re is enjoying streamlined processing, evaluation and timely, accurate reporting, knowing that IRIS not only contributes to the group's success, but will also adapt to its consequent growth.