Willis Towers Watson Launches vPlace Virtual Actuarial Workspace

The SaaS platform has been developed to address legacy technologies shortcomings, reducing IT costs and finding more efficient ways to respond to business and regulatory pressures.

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Willis Towers Watson (London), a global advisory, broking and solutions company, has launched vPlace, which the vendor describes as a virtual, actuarial workspace that brings the company’s insurance software to the cloud. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform has been developed to help meet the industry’s need to reduce IT costs and find more efficient ways to respond to business and regulatory pressures, which legacy IT infrastructure is failing to address, according to a Willis Towers Watson statement.

Stephen Hollands, SaaS Global Product Leader, Willis Towers Watson.

Powered by Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) Azure, vPlace overcomes the limitations of legacy IT by giving insurance clients an agile, alternative environment to host and manage their Willis Towers Watson software and supplementary actuarial programs. The vendor says that vPlace, software is enabled to run at peak performance, supporting insurers’ ability to effectively respond to fluctuating industry pressures, maximizing their software investment.

Respond to Changing Needs of The Business Economically

“Shorter reporting timelines are pushing insurers to do more in less time, and traditional on-premise infrastructures are struggling to remain fit for purpose,” comments Stephen Hollands, SaaS global product leader, Willis Towers Watson. “Having a virtual workspace in the cloud, supported by our risk and actuarial software experts, allows insurers more time to respond to the changing needs of the business without having to spend huge sums on purchasing, updating and maintaining onsite infrastructure.”

vPlace is built on Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and deployed over Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) as the platform for delivering its thick client applications. The solution layers on Azure Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions to enhance that core platform. For example, the vendor notes, using Azure SQL Database to host its RDS connection broker enables Willis Towers Watson to support this small but critical database without the added costs of an expensive multi-node SQL cluster.

Willis Towers Watson lists key benefits of vPlace as follows:

  • A fully managed actuarial Software-as-a-Service—removing the burden from internal IT of installing and managing specialized actuarial systems
  • Automatic software updates to ensure users are always working with the latest version in an optimized environment—enabling them to benefit from Willis Towers Watson’s suite of actuarial software products
  • Seamless user experience provided through an easy-to-use interface that hosts their software applications and data in a central location, allowing for easy cross-tool collaboration
  • Increased speed and performance of software by removing workload from onsite desktop PCs to limit system conflict
  • Use of leading cloud-based security services with exceptional privacy credentials, as well as built-in disaster recovery
  • High-quality, specialist client services and expert support available 24/7
  • Accessible from anywhere, at any time—removing the reliance and constraints of traditional desktop PCs
  • Cost-effective way to implement and manage actuarial technology
  • RiskAgility FM in vPlace fully supports vGrid 2.0, the latest version of Willis Towers Watson’s flexible and highly scalable cloud-based computation grid service

    Jonathan Silverman, Director, Business Development, Microsoft.

Flexible and Cost-Effective

“To expand computing capacity enough to meet regulations and compete in the market, insurers that rely on on-premises technology will have to invest heavily in infrastructure, which may quickly become obsolete,” comments Jonathan Silverman, director, business development, Microsoft Corp. “By leveraging high-performance compute capacity in Microsoft Azure, vPlace gives insurers a solution for their risk and actuarial software challenges that is both flexible and cost effective.”

Willis Towers Watson reports that vPlace can accommodate a range of the vendor’s risk and actuarial software products and other supplementary actuarial programs to enable them to work together. The vendor’s RiskAgility Financial Modeller (FM) is the first of its actuarial software products to be hosted on vPlace, with other products scheduled to join over the coming year.

The Potential of Virtual Reality for Insurance Innovation

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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