As an insurance technology and services provider with over a century of experience, Seibels is a leading provider of managed business processing solutions.click here to learn more
Our scalable and agile systems are based on a modern technology platform and are backed by deep insurance experience.click here to learn more
Our full-service claims organization offers the P&C insurance industry complete claims administration.click here to learn more
Seibels provides Processing, Technology, and Claims Solutions to the property and casualty insurance industry. With over 100 years of experience, we understand the full value of insurance management services. Founded in 1869 as a modest fire and life insurance company, Seibels has grown into a prominent insurance services provider, developing insurance and technology expertise along the way.
We began automating our policy and claims functions in 1966. By 1974, our policy administration system was the first commercially available system for carriers. Unlike most technology and service providers, we sold and serviced policies for nearly one-and-a-half centuries while evolving into a technology and services provider.
Like any strong company, we are continually reinventing ourselves—we’ve done so for over 140 years. Today, we are Seibels Insurance Technology & Services, and we provide insurers with Solutions.
“As Gulfstream grows, our success depends greatly on our ability to grow and evolve the systems and technology that support our operations. Migrating to Seibels’ IPX Enterprise System will help us increase productivity, enhance efficiencies, and deliver a better customer experience for our agents and policyholders.”
- Mitch Sattler, President and CEO
Admit it; you were drawn to technology because of the Thrill of Discovery, that moment when you discover something new or after you have been struggling to figure out a perplexing problem and all of a sudden the stars align and the pieces fit together as you solve whatever problem you were facing.
Once you have such a “wow!” moment, you are hooked.
When you first get started, you get that thrill quite often because everything is new, everything is exciting. You have yet to be betrayed by “the simplest things” not working as expected. You spend your career chasing this rush.
While it may get harder for you to catch that wow moment yourself, you can often find it by proxy. Find someone who is just getting started and guide them to some of the gems that once excited you. When you show a new developer the power of the SQL Data Dictionary, you can share that sense of awe vicariously. When you see someone’s eyes light up after you show them the sublime elegance of CSS structured properly, you get to experience a little hint of that thrill that drives us all.
Find someone and share what you know and you can enjoy that thrill of discovery all over again.
Unfortunately life is not all thrills and joy. We often get tripped up by “the simplest things” not working. This is the Agony of Defect. Depending on when the unexpected pops up, this agony can range from a minor annoyance to feeling like the apocalypse would be a relief.
Defects found early in the development phase are probably only going to be a minor annoyance and can actually be a little exciting in their own right. When caught early enough you can explore the edges of a new technology with only minimal, if any, pain without an audience or putting any deliverable at risk.
If you find a defect early in QA, the pain goes up a bit, but is still bearable. Visibility probably goes up so your ego may take a bruising but that is usually the end of it. The agony is limited to a few late nights as you re-group and work through the issues. You learn a few lessons and move on all the wiser.
The world changes the deeper into QA you go. Defects found at the end of QA can be painful. Now you have managers and clients worrying about deadlines. Delivery dates may be jeopardized. You get hassled for status updates. Full panic may set in. You are less likely to learn anything new about the technologies involved and are more likely to be haunted by memories of this pain and panic.
Defects found post deployment are another matter altogether.
EVERYTHING associated with the defect is under the microscope. Visibility will never be higher. Tensions will run high and everything in your life will revolve around solving the defect until it is actually resolved. Once the pain passes, these are the war stories that will serve as the cautionary tales for the next generation.
Regardless of when you find a defect, don’t take it personally. Don’t give into placing blame or deflecting blame. Focus on the solution. Focus on lessons learned. Above all else, NEVER hide the problem.
Even if the blame truly rests squarely on your shoulders, focus on making sure that you are part of the solution. In the end, being part of the solution trumps being a part of the problem.
As counter intuitive as it may seem, Fail Early. Learn all that you can early in the project. Panic at the beginning of a project and when the stakes are at the highest you will already have all of the lessons learned under your belt.
-Nick Harrison, Seibels Software Architect
Whether you are new to the world of technology professionals or not, you eventually discover that this is its own sub culture. From the outside, this culture seems as alien as any subculture that could attract the attention of a research anthropologist.
You probably are already familiar with the unique language common to this sub culture, a language full of acronyms, puns, and other techno babble. What is less well known is the subtle twists that happen to your personality once you enter this strange new world.
Scratch the surface of any technologist and you will find a wide streak of paranoia. Perhaps this starts with the type of people attracted to these careers. Perhaps it comes from realizing just how fragile and easily broken computer systems can be. Perhaps it comes from you having scathed their surface. Whatever the source, technology professionals as a whole are a paranoid group.
If you wonder why I would say something like that about you without ever having met you, the paranoia has already taken hold.
Fortunately, for many, this paranoia is readily kept in check by our own heightened sense of superiority. This generally stems from being able to bend a computer to your will. Knowing that this mysterious beast that intimidates so many can be brought under your control can easily lead to a superiority complex.
Healthy IT professionals manage to exist in that delicate balance between paranoia and condescending superiority. Unhealthy professionals run the gambit in both directions.
In addition to the vagaries of paranoia and superiority, many technologists also wrestle with keeping balance between optimism and pessimism. Here matters are a little bit more cut and dry. With a few exceptions, individuals can be placed on the spectrum based on their specialty in the technology arts. These are occupational hazards.
Server Admins, Database Administrators, QA Analysts, and Project Managers are generally going to fall further into the pessimism camp. For each of these specialties, much of their day is dedicated to ferretting out what can go wrong. To do their job well, they must focus on what can go wrong and work out a plan for how to prevent it, fix it, or survive it. Ask any Sys Admin, and he can rattle off a dozen different ways that any system can fail. Talk to a DBA, and you will quickly learn any number of ways that data might be compromised. A quick chat with any QA Analysts will reveal at least one way to crash any program that they are working on. Finally, if you ever find yourself wondering “what should I be worrying about” ask a Project Manager and you will get a laundry list of things that you never knew you needed to worry about.
At the other end of the spectrum we have Help Desk Professionals, Business Analysts, and Developers. These specialties tend to instill their practitioners with a more optimistic perspective, often overly optimistic. The Help Desk is staffed by folks who spend all day either solving problems or escalating calls to someone who can solve the problem. Business Analysts specialize in finding gaps in processes and working out ways to fill those gaps. They are focused on solving problems, coming up with solutions, and flushing out business requirements. Developers approach life in much the same vein. Instead of seeing problems, these professionals are more focused on the opportunities to make things better.
This is good information to keep in mind when getting estimates. Repeatedly asking for estimates may tip the balance towards the paranoia. Also when you get an estimate, remember that if it comes from a developer or BA, it may be overly optimistic. If it comes from QA or a DBA, it may overly pessimistic. Try to get a mix of estimates from the various roles to balance them out.
Where do you or your coworkers fit on these spectrums?
-Nick Harrison, Seibels Software Architect
“Our partnership with Seibels allows us to integrate advanced technology and services in a flexible and scalable manner. The combination of their insurance experience and agile systems and services makes Seibels an invaluable asset to our company. The ease of use presented by IPX Enterprise Insurance Suite is a key component of Centauri’s strategy to be the company of choice by our agency partners.”
-Lora Rees, Executive Vice President
& Chief Operating Officer