Banking Insurance Quality Assurance

Application-Specific Testing: An Essential QA Practice

In today’s competitive insurance landscape, time-to-market is a crucial differentiator for business growth. Given that, more insurers are modernizing their core systems to achieve greater capabilities, and are expanding their application portfolios to capture evolving market opportunities meet customer demands at speed. But how can insurers minimize risk and ensure that these complex applications perform as expected?

What is Application-Specific Testing?

Application-specific testing tests a specific enterprise application/solution, such as an insurance core system, across the development lifecycle. It optimizes and validates critical business activities, such as policy rating, while also ensuring IT processes are thoroughly vetted. This includes validating the interactions of various components as well as the application end-to-end. End-to-end application testing and validation are critical for today’s microservices-based architectures.

Traditionally, QA has been organized around testing types, like user acceptance testing (UAT and generic validation tools, with focus either on quality or speed, but not both). Now, QA is expected to deliver quality at speed, with validation processes customized to the solution being adopted, like the Guidewire core suite. This requires test automation for speed and conducting validations continuously throughout an application’s lifecycle for high quality.

4 Key Components of Robust Application-Specific Testing

The most sophisticated application-specific testing solutions provide QA teams with innovative tools that are automation-centric. Such solutions incorporate four key components.

Figure depicting key components of insurance application testing

  1. Test Life Cycle Automation Workbench
    This enables defining specifications and scenarios for modeling the planned real-world behaviors, such as the workflows within the policy administration system. Using the models, test scripts are generated, and a scripts repository is developed. A testing workbench automates all testing, across development and production, rather than automating a single test process. This includes the tools and algorithms required to generate and optimize various combinations of actions.
  2. Automated Test Execution Framework
    This is critical to enabling the modern QA practice of continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD). Automating test execution effectively requires a comprehensive framework for launching the tests based on user-defined and application-specific criteria, such as billing or claims, along with an advanced test execution repository.
  3. Automated Test Reporting
    This ensures speedy defect identification and resolution along with feeding the results back into an application’s lifecycle. Advanced test reporting capabilities integrate seamlessly with application lifecycle management and DevOps tools.
  4. Optimized Automated Regression Testing Suite
    Although there are multiple automated regression testing suites, an application-specific solution aligns tightly with a specific core system. This ensures automated regression testing is both rapid and granular enough for high-quality results.

Key Elements of Insurance Application Testing

In order to gain the full advantages of application-specific QA testing, insurers must make three fundamental investments. These three elements are the cornerstone for the success of application-specific testing.

  • Shift-Left (or Look Left) Testing Approach
    A cultural investment is required to embrace the Shift-Left testing approach to enable an enterprise to effectively infuse testing throughout an application’s lifecycle: from project inception, through development, during delivery, and continuously while in production.
  • Smart Testing Suites
    It’s very challenging to accelerate testing and ensure quality outcomes by using yesterday’s testing tools.For test automation, which offers both speed and quality, an insurance firm needs to evaluate and invest directly in smart testing suites, and related accelerators, or partner with a service provider that can apply the appropriate tools on an as-needed basis. Either way, executive management must understand the value of these investments, so the necessary resources are allocated.
  • Appropriate Expertise
    Like smart testing suites, successfully modernizing QA also requires updating an insurance firm’s human capital. In other words, successful automation doesn’t mean an autopilot. Insurance firms need trained and experienced people who can use the latest tools and maximize their technology investments for application testing. This means insurance companies either develop their in-house talent or strategically partner with technology providers to obtain the necessary depth and breadth of expertise. Many insurers also pursue a hybrid approach, where a partner completes tasks and transfers knowledge to insurers’ internal resources.

Regardless of how insurers ultimately approach QA and application-specific testing, the goal is to find and remediate defects in the shortest possible time—frequently in fractions of a second and early in the development cycle.

Insurers embracing application-specific testing are reducing enterprise risk and significantly increasing their ability to address market conditions while simultaneously boosting user and customer satisfaction. In combination, these benefits are enabling industry leaders to capture additional market share.

Learn about our expertise in application testing in insurance by visiting our QualityLeap practice .