15 December 2014 admin

Il Giornale delle Assicurazioni – Reinsurance and Solvency II: The C Consulting Solution • Non-committal translation of the article from il “giornale delle Assicurazioni” – Edition of November 2014 – p. 38 and 39

The company was born as a very specialised reality and was launched to serve a  niche market. Its XLayers software solution conquered and is now in use in nearly 50 insurance companies, whose staff participates in a User Group in which the future development of the product is discussed and planned.

In 2001 Aldo Capurro along with a group of young but already experienced professionals decided to capitalise on their experience in the insurance field (Capurro was once the IT manager of a Generali Group member company) to build something special, namely a complete and reliable reinsurance management system he would have called XLayers. Thanks to Capurro’s background, specifically in the area of control and certification of Outward Reinsurance (and Inward too), the group was able to engineer solutions capable of responding to the actual everyday problems of the Insurance Companies and of the users, from the Reinsurance department up to the CFO and the Top Management. Moreover, it was during this period that the theories regarding the “value” of software solutions in the support of business endeavours were being developed by the Gartner Group and other American “gurus”. These theories were put into practice and helped the newly formed C Consulting design tools which, out of the box, were highly responsive to the real needs of the reinsurance sector of the Insurance Companies in terms of accurate and precise data management, an often decisive factor in an Insurance Company’s financial and strategic outcomes.

However the aforementioned theories require that the developers of these new solutions be intimately aware of the real issues affecting Insurers, along with an understanding of the most appropriate solutions and how to properly implement them. At that time, in the late 90s and early 2000s, this method would have clashed with the needs of the so-called “New Economy”. The strategy in place then was to design simulations, “virtual companies” (and products) which could be brought to the marketplace warranting stratospheric prices. The result was a turbulent software market unable to offer real quality to their customers. Naturally, these customers rebelled against this trend with a sometimes exaggerated, but always justified, attitude of distrust toward those products which came of age during that period of speculation.

Another factor which hurt the overall quality of the IT products and services on offer during that period was the frenetic buying and selling of companies, some of which were only just off the ground, as there were significant profits to be made. The repeated “handing over” of underdeveloped software products which followed brought about a predictable decline in quality.

Clearly the idea of focusing the ambitions of C Consulting exclusively at a tiny niche was a brave one and more than just a little risky. Basically this meant that the company would not be likely to grow rapidly, foreclosing the way for the IPO or for a quickly sale to an IT company with a “financial” profile, obviously dedicated to multiple sectors and topics.

However, this specialisation did allow the company to focus its efforts on improving the quality of XLayers and its customer service. In fact, by concentrating the efforts in a single market niche, one with which the team was already very familiar, C Consulting became guarantee of top class professionalism (this focused specialisation, known as “dedication” by the “American gurus”, is synonymous with reliable products developed quickly and at acceptable prices) and satisfied users.

So far the outcomes have been in line with expectations. C Consulting remains small (working in a small niche, it could not be otherwise) but it is a solid, well regarded and highly reliable partner. The roughly 50 companies that are using XLayers have given very positive feedback about their experiences with Capurro, who is still very operative and dynamic, and his team.

Customers are encouraged to be active participants in a dedicated User Group that serves as a ready source of guidelines toward the future development of XLayers and which has already helped make C Consulting the undisputed leader of its specific market sector. Furthermore, a private online user forum is available to facilitate useful dialogue between the customers themselves and between customers and C Consulting.

In fact, the features of XLayers distinguish C Consulting from the competitors (and from their products) which (with little success) have long been trying to penetrate the specific niche. These features include a team of skilled professionals comprising several reinsurance managers who have helped strengthen the ties with the client base, a software development strategy driven entirely by the needs of its customers, a group of developers active since the beginning to ensure continuity and a total know-how of the product, and lastly years of overwhelmingly positive feedback. All these factors combine to make C Consulting a real “boutique” in its market sector.

C Consulting and XLayers are well positioned and are enjoying a period of real growth and success especially now that the arrival of the Solvency II regulations is no longer just a vague concept to be implemented at a later date, but means concrete rules which in the short will need to be respected. In fact, the insurance market is clearly aware that, among the many software suppliers’ products (all of which, on paper at least, proclaim to address the complex, urgent problems associated with Solvency II), only C Consulting is able to guarantee a rapid start-up, with a total and effective implementation of a software system custom designed for each client.

This year Capurro and his team have decided to set up a new company, C Consulting International, for the purpose of offering its products to Insurers beyond Italy’s borders. Initial feedback appears to confirm that the success encountered so far in the Italian market can be effectively replicated abroad, since the international markets share the same needs which are being addressed and resolved in Italy. To date, several promising negotiations are underway in a number of countries in various regions of Europe. Similar to experiences in Italy for some time now, from the very first demos and presentations given by C Consulting professionals there has been much interest generated in foreign Insurance Companies. This is certainly due to the fact that C Consulting has always been in touch with the real problems that insurance managers are facing, from the Reinsurance Managers up to the Top Management, something that was clear from the beginning. Anyway, since Capurro and his team are as confident as ever in their strategy of focused specialisation, the only reasonable way to expand their business seems to be bringing it to the wider world.

Obviously, the current critical economic situation gripping Western Europe in general, and Italy in particular, is having a widespread impact on economic development and consequently on C Consulting. New investment budgets have been significantly reduced across the board compared to just a few years ago, and an attitude of caution reigns supreme even at Insurance Companies with vast financial resources. However, the growth and evolution of C Consulting has been only partially affected throughout these years of crisis. Indeed, the XLayers solution has attracted wide interest thanks to its surprisingly strong return on investment. In fact, many insurance companies have opted for XLayers to address the need to control costs and prevent the errors that can often result in significant losses from occurring. In this same period, C Consulting has been investing substantial resources into the design and implementation of new and improved functionalities and in the applying of new technologies, in order to offer ever more effective and simple-to-use solutions to its clients.

For example, this committed strategy has given rise to a new WEB-based reinsurance-specific financial reporting system, available from Spring 2014 which, by harnessing decades of hands-on experience in the field, brings together the best strategic and management practices available for the sector.

Is there one thing in particular of which Aldo Capurro and the C Consulting can take pride?

If I had to choose just one, it would be to have built in Italy a successful software system which can be successful also abroad and which was developed by a team composed entirely of Italians.