Home | Work | Play | Photos | Contact | About

Protection System Conceptual Design

Home \ Work \ Documentation

This document is an example of my technical writing ability.

      Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Project Vision
  3. Conceptual Design
  4. Scope
  5. Project Plan
Definitions and Acronyms
  1. IFA - Independent Financial Advisor
  2. Protection - life insurance
  3. Reinsurance - ceding some part of insurance liabilities to another insurance company
  4. Unterwriting - the process of guaranteeing payment in case of damage or financial loss, and accepting the financial risk for liability arising from such guarantee
  5. Activation - the process of activating protection
  6. 3rd party Administrator - liability insurance claims are typically handled by third-party claims administrators
  7. Impaired market - customers with impaired health due pre-existing conditions

1. Introduction


This document represents the ideas and decisions developed during the envisioning phase. The goal of the phase, represented by the content of this document, is to achieve team and customer agreement on the desired solution and overall project direction.

2. Project Vision


[UnderwriteCo] is a protection comparison web site. It lets customers and independent financial advisers use a single process to obtain prices for, and activate protection policies from a range of protection providers. [UnderwriteCo] has an underwriting engine that allows each insurer to retain their own underwriting rules and product differentiation in a sand-boxed, secure environment.

[ProtectionCo] believes it has a distinct advantage in serving the impared market specifically, and will therefore join [UnderwriteCo]'s panel of providers to extend it's reach in this market.

[UnderwriteCo] will call [PricingApp] to obtain prices and to activate business won by [ProtectionCo]. [PricingApp] therefor consists of two core processes – pricing, and activation. [PricingApp] will include supporting services, such as email, document generation and obtaining IFA commission rates. [PricingApp] will hand activation requests off to [Core Business System] (policy activation). [Core Business System] will in turn share policy details with [3rd party Administrator], [ProtectionCo]’s 3rd-party administrator; and [Reinsurer], its reinsurer.

^ Back to top

3. Conceptual Design

Protection system conceptual design


  • Customers – The general public, in both healthy and impaired markets, who require protection.
  • IFAs – Independent Financial Advisers are professionals who offer independent advice on financial matters to customers and recommend suitable financial products from the whole of the market.
  • Underwriters - Insurance underwriters evaluate the risk and exposures of potential customers. They decide how much coverage the customer should receive, how much they should pay for it, or whether even to accept the risk and insure them.
  • Administrators - [PricingApp] administrators reconcile policies activated by [ProtectionCo] with activations that [UnderwriteCo] has billed [ProtectionCo] for. Administrators may also enable and disable [PricingApp]
  • Service Delivery – The service delivery team ensures that customers and IFAs have access to the appropriate services to support the protection service’s business functions.


  • [UnderwriteCo] – an organisation that operates a comparison web site that allows IFAs and customers obtain quotes and purchase protection from a range of insurers. Insurers retain their own underwriting rules and product differentiation, while those selling and buying their products can do so using one consistent process.
  • Underwriting Rules – Underwriters develop and maintain a [ProtectionCo] -specific underwriting rule-set on the comparison web site using non-linear flow charts. The rules engine provides integrated testing, and supports indicative ratings.
  • Web Service Proxy – The proxy service provides an external interface that is called by the comparison web site. The proxy service acts as a gatekeeper in that it can enable or disable access to the protection web service. When enabled, all requests from the comparison web site are routed through to the protection web service. When disabled, requests are dropped and a “service unavailable” code is returned to the comparison web site. This allows [ProtectionCo] to gracefully handle both expected and unexpected maintenance windows and service outages.
  • [PricingApp] Web Service – This web service is the core orchestration engine of the solution. It accepts both pricing and activation requests from the comparison web site, routed through the web service proxy. The service validates incoming requests; provides additional attributes (such as IFA commission rates) required to obtain a price; generates customer and service delivery documentation; and emails activation requests to service delivery.
  • [PricingApp] Web Site – The web site allows customers, IFAs and service delivery to download their respective documentation. Documents are generated in real-time by the Document Rendering Engine (DRE), and are not stored on the web site.
  • MI Web Site[UnderwriteCo] bills [ProtectionCo] according to the number of policy activations originating from [UnderwriteCo]'s comparison web site. The management information web site allows administrators to list activated policies in order to reconcile these with policy reference numbers obtained from [UnderwriteCo] for billing/payment purposes.
  • Document Rendering – When a policy is activated customers receive a confirmation schedule and if required, a request to authorise access to medical records. Service delivery receives documentation required to activate protection policies. These documents are generated using the [Core Business System] Document Rendering Engine (DRE) - an existing document rendering service.
  • Commission Web Service – A web service that returns a commission rate for a specified IFA. The service acts as a service agent for SalesForce, which holds IFA and commission data.
  • SalesForce – A customer relationship management product that provides [ProtectionCo] with an interface for case management and task management, and a system for automatically routing and escalating important events. [ProtectionCo] uses the SalesForce to manage details of IFAs it has established terms of business with, including their commission rates.
  • Email Web Service – The email web service sends referral and activation requests to service delivery. Emails contain links to all information required to complete referral and/or activation. The web service runs autonomously, and is independent of [PricingApp]
  • [Core Business System] – Manages protection policies. Service Delivery enters activated policies into the system to activate new policies.
  • [3rd party Administrator][ProtectionCo] employs a 3rd-party administrator (TPA) to administer claims and collection premiums. Newly-activated policies are passed to the TPA by [Core Business System], [ProtectionCo]'s new business system.
  • [Reinsurer][ProtectionCo] (the ceding company under the arrangement) purchases insurance from a reinsurer as a means of risk management. Under the terms of the reinsurance agreement [Reinsurer] is paid a premium by [ProtectionCo], and in turn pays a share or all of the claims incurred by [ProtectionCo]. Newly-activated policies are passed to the reinsurer by [Core Business System].

Data Model

Protection system data model
  • ActivationQuestions - Holds underwriting question history asked of a customer for policy activation.
  • Activations - Holds underwriting, pricing and supplemental data, and a complete history of changes, related to activation requests from [UnderwriteCo].
  • Addresses - Holds physical addresses for Life 1, Life 2, Life 1's doctor, and Life 2's doctor. Addresses are only recorded for activation requests. Data is updated by IFAs via the Comparison Website.
  • Answers - The customer’s responses to the underwriting questions asked during the underwriting session.
  • Contributions - Holds [UnderwriteCo] contribution values.
  • Emails - Holds auto-generated emails sent to the IFA and to service delivery
  • Pricings - Holds underwriting, pricing and supplemental data related to pricing requests from the underwriting engine. Populated by [UnderwriteCo] (manual entries and calculated data) contains pricing and commission data from [ProtectionCo]. Some data originates form of request messages and is saved in the database for auditing and performance reasons.
  • QuestionOptions - Holds answer items where a question has a defined set of answers.
  • Questions - Holds underwriting questions asked of a customer requesting a price.

^ Back to top

4. Scope


Feature/Function List

  • A service proxy that enables or disables the functions listed below and, if enabled, passes all requests through to [PricingApp]
  • A service that accepts pricing requests from [UnderwriteCo] and returns a quoted or binding price
  • A service that accepts activation requests from [UnderwriteCo] and returns an outcome result and reference number
  • A web site through which customers, IFAs and [ProtectionCo]’s service desk may access any documentation related to an activation
  • A web site that allows a [ProtectionCo] administrator to reconcile policies activated by [ProtectionCo] to policy activations billed by [UnderwriteCo]
  • A validation component that validates all incoming data
  • A data access component that saves all data received or generated by [PricingApp] to a database
  • A function that returns IFA commission rates. This includes integration with SalesForce to search for obtain commission rates
  • A reusable web service that sends email to customers, IFAs and [ProtectionCo]’s service desk
  • A document generation function
  • Security controls, including mutually-authenticated servers and encryption of data in transit and at rest
  • Application firewall – use of a web application firewall is standard practice at [ProtectionCo], and will therefore also be used to protect [PricingApp]
  • An exception handling component
  • An auditable logging component

Quality Goals

Availability – the system will be available during office hours from Monday to Friday; the system will support a recovery time objective of 4 hours, and a recovery point objective of 0

Efficiency[PricingApp] will process 99% of requests within 8 seconds; the system will also strive to use no more than 60% of available memory, processing power, network bandwidth, and disk storage capacity

Integrity – the system handles and stores personally identifying information, and personal medical information, and will therefore encrypt all data both in transit and at rest; access to data will be limited through access control lists; systems will be monitored; and all system activity will be logged

Reliability – 99% of operations will complete within the SLA-defined time period, and the system will operate for a minimum period of 10 hours without failure

Robustness – the system will continue to function properly when given invalid inputs; with defects in connected software; or in unexpected operating conditions

Reusability[PricingApp] will reuse and adapt the Nina codebase. While less efficient, more complex and costlier than a services-driven and component-based calculation engine, message queues and Excel instances on Windows clients from Nina will be used to reduce perceived risk.

Out of Scope

  • Underwriting rules – rules are created, maintained and tested independently by underwriters
  • [Core Business System] integration – due to its complexity and the resulting effort, integration with [Core Business System] is out of scope for the first release.

^ Back to top

5. Project Plan


Project Schedule

[PricingApp] will begin in April 20nn, and is estimated to enter production by August 20nn.


07/07/20nn: completion date changed to November 20nn due to changing requirements.
12/10/20nn: completion date changed to February 20nn because an agreement between [ProtectionCo] and [UnderwriteCo] is still being negotiated.

Project Structure

Business Sponsors

•  Rachel Tyrell Managing Director
•  Anna Karenina Managing Director


•  Minerva McGonagall    Governance


•  Michael Wittenburg Enterprise Architect
•  Indiana Jones Infrastructure Architect

Project Managers

•  Edna Mode Project Manager
•  Katniss Everdeen Scrum Master

Business Analysts

•  Ellen Ripley Senior Business Analyst
•  Butch Cassidy Business Analyst
•  Dirty Harry Business Analyst


•  Hercule Poirot Head of Underwriting

Software Engineers

•  Holly Golightly Senior Software Engineer
•  Clark Kent Senior Software Engineer
•  Cruella de Vil Software engineer

Test Engineers

•  Scarlett O'Hara Test Manager
•  Sherlock Holmes Tester
•  Indiana Jones Tester

< Back to Work | ^ Back to top

All content copyright © Michael Wittenburg 1995 to 2022. All rights reserved.
Merch (t-shirts designed by my twin)