In this episode of the Emtech Group Podcast, listen to our guests discuss Quality Assurance (QA) Automation. The conversation about QA in the insurance industry occupies a unique position, arising in discussions across departments and at all levels of the organization. Though its role may seem ambiguous at times, QA’s purpose is clear – to ensure processes adhere to standards, identify risks or issues, and drive continuous improvement. By assessing policies, procedures, and service delivery through audits and reviews, QA provides objective oversight that protects the interests of both insurers and policyholders. While conversations regarding QA may drift between operations, compliance, and executive strategy, its presence permeates the insurance ecosystem. Ultimately, conscientious QA practices demonstrate an insurer’s commitment to stability, accountability, and excellence.
The transition from manual to automated QA testing in the insurance industry is transforming the field. Automated testing utilizes software tools to execute test cases, replacing the need for manual human intervention. This evolution promises enhanced efficiency, consistency, and coverage. By leveraging automation, QA teams can scale testing and detect defects earlier in the development lifecycle. The automation shift enables QA to keep pace with modern delivery speeds. Organizations that embrace automated QA are well-positioned to deliver higher quality products at speed. This transition is bringing new capabilities to QA that were previously out of reach.
00:00:00 Gary Tyreman
Hey Tony, how are you?
00:00:01 Tony Saineghi
Doing well, Gary, how are you?
00:00:04 Gary Tyreman
I’m always well, I can’t complain. It’s just that’s the way it is. You get up at 4:00, go to bed early. That’s life, right?
00:00:12 Tony Saineghi
There you go.
00:00:13 Gary Tyreman
Exactly and so.
00:00:16 Gary Tyreman
I was going to ask you a question. I mean, you’ve got very long background in and around the insurance carrier business from client side, from the vendor side.
00:00:29 Gary Tyreman
The question I had for you was in all of that experience. Where does QA sit like when it floats in and up to conversations like how high does that go and is in terms of visibility?
00:00:42 Tony Saineghi
Yeah, yeah, I I’ve seen it evolve over time, Gary, and it still unfortunately is.
00:00:49 Tony Saineghi
You know case by case, but I mean think of QA as a practice in and of itself right out of.
00:00:57 Tony Saineghi
Out of everything inside of a life cycle, when you’re building a new platform or you’re augmenting one, QA is the most metrics driven part of the life cycle where you can get a ton of information from understand the condition of your technical stack. So.
00:01:18 Tony Saineghi
You know, I’ve seen carriers kind of embrace that over the last, you know, call it seven years. There’s so a long way to go though, right and.
00:01:28 Tony Saineghi
You know, you don’t seem to think or see information and metrics go up the stack to answer your question specifically until there’s a problem.
00:01:39 Gary Tyreman
Right. That’s right. It’s always the. That’s always what they ask.
00:01:43 Tony Saineghi
Yeah. What, what, what successful QA organizations have done is they’ve proactively put out coverage maps. They’ve proactively shown numbers of test cases and pass rates in different segments of the system in business speak, right, the ability to containerize application stacks today.
00:02:04 Tony Saineghi
Kind of allow you to.
00:02:06 Tony Saineghi
Go one for one and create uh. You know test suites or test cases and conditions that speak to the business and speak to executives. So good ones going to throw a coverage map out there. If they are getting close to go life cycles. You know if you have got a monthly.
00:02:26 Tony Saineghi
Deployment I tend to see burn down charts become very popular and very informative to leadership to give them Peace of Mind and confidence that.
00:02:38 Tony Saineghi
What we’re what we’re putting out and what we’re about to service. You can go ahead and tell your customers. You can, you know, sleep at night, all that good stuff so.
00:02:49 Tony Saineghi
Hope that kind of covers it, yeah.
00:02:50 Gary Tyreman
Yeah, that, that, that does that, that helps with where it is, where, where do you think it should be like in terms of yes, coverage maps are great it it’s an early warning system. It’s also a fantastic in business language, easy to understand where we are but as a strategic enabler.
00:03:12 Gary Tyreman
More insurance carriers in particular. Right, because.
00:03:15 Gary Tyreman
You have a flow that crosses more than one application, where should it be like in terms of the vocabulary of the conversation?
00:03:24 Tony Saineghi
Yeah, you know, I think the biggest angle or.
00:03:31 Tony Saineghi
Uh viewpoint or lens you can shine on things as through.
00:03:35 Tony Saineghi
An automated mindset. So, I mean, if you really want to flip the script on.
00:03:42 Tony Saineghi
Showing command and control and confidence in in your testing practice you should start with the story of quality assurance and what it means you should be bringing those practices closer to your developers and out of the hands of you know, call it manual testers, right? And so automated tools.
00:04:04 Tony Saineghi
You know, you start to get into that realm, as you know, Gary, people think it’s a set and forget type of A of a paradigm.
00:04:12 Tony Saineghi
And it’s certainly in and of itself a living, breathing application. So, if you want to get to where the narrative should be, you’ve got to focus not just on coverage, but you’ve got to focus on speed. So how do you actually scale your tests? How do you build?
00:04:32 Tony Saineghi
Regression suites in an incremental fashion that continually build confidence in the system that are you mentioned different hops, right, you’ve got very complicated stacks in the life annuity retirement spaces.
00:04:49 Tony Saineghi
How do your automated systems stop and start based on incoming files or flags or status reminders or push notifications? These are all highly orchestrated, highly developed, you know, living, breathing applications that ultimately you want sitting.
00:05:09 Tony Saineghi
As close to the developer as you can, right? So, you’re not. You’re not having to spend weeks running things more on a manual basis or waiting.
00:05:19 Tony Saineghi
For certain processes to start upstream and then having to be reminded or having a manual push to continue the process. So, so automation, no surprise right is a big part of it. As I was answering your question Gary, I was thinking more about.
00:05:40 Tony Saineghi
You know what you guys are seeing in terms of adoption of automation, right? Are you being you seeing?
00:05:48 Tony Saineghi
Kind of an influence or a bias towards what I’m describing, where people know they’ve got a, you know, chip left is a big concept, but you know the adoption of automated tools at a more tactical level, what are you guys seeing on the street?
00:06:06 Gary Tyreman
Great question. I think the way to answer it is the aspirate.
00:06:13 Gary Tyreman
For sure is to get into the automation.
00:06:18 Gary Tyreman
I think though, the challenge and these are my words, not what I’ve been told, but where, where to start, right. Because it’s like a very large wheel across multiple ends.
00:06:32 Gary Tyreman
Organizations are looking for.
00:06:35 Gary Tyreman
End to end automation, but where do you start, right? And what we’ve suggested and in our discussions is and it and it’s funny because it’s actually one of the more difficult areas is in and around where you drive new business, right? Because it’s easy to take costs.
00:06:56 Gary Tyreman
No and yes. There’s value to that. But our experience and what our customers seem to be leaning towards is if I’m going to go down towards automation, it should be to help me make more money, right and drive business and that’s what we’re saying. But again, where to start, how to start?
00:07:15 Gary Tyreman
The conversations when we come in and present the product.
00:07:18 Gary Tyreman
We bring kind of a context that they may not have had before, and I think that can help people to understand the starting point it if that makes sense to you.
00:07:30 Tony Saineghi
It does, I think. Uh.
00:07:33 Tony Saineghi
I think the evolution you you’ve made me want to amend the answer to my question on the on the prior one that you asked around.
00:07:44 Tony Saineghi
Evolving and shifting your automation strategy. You always want to start with your high risk areas, right? Your high risk or your customer facing ones. So that’s the early stages of new business underwriting any sort of financial calculations?
00:08:03 Tony Saineghi
You know, kind of account fund level calculations that are super important to maintain and account for over time as you’re making changes to your system, you want to make sure your core calculators are intact and to.
00:08:22 Tony Saineghi
You know, determine diminishing.
00:08:23 Tony Saineghi
Returns on how far you take that automation, but I mean certainly it starts with those with those high risk financially focused client focused areas, certainly, yeah.
00:08:36 Gary Tyreman
Yes. Yeah, and that’s the.
00:08:39 Gary Tyreman
Apps per hour is A is a fairly right.
00:08:42 Gary Tyreman
Reasonable measurements, isn’t it?
00:08:45 Tony Saineghi
Yeah, I mean, you’re getting to the essence of the assembly line and inside of an insurance house, they’re folks pride themselves on keeping that line open and processing automated underwriting is certainly continue to advance and evolve and help that line scale.
00:09:05 Tony Saineghi
Uh, but yeah, keeping the.
00:09:09 Tony Saineghi
Keeping that process and that flow and that throughput, you know up and running you know makes me think not just of the quality and results, but the performance right. Being able to understand weak points, choke points inside of that process to go through you know overall.
00:09:29 Tony Saineghi
Threshold testing and being comfortable with where your stack is from a from a new business. Underwriting perspective, yeah, it’s very crucial to keep that assembly line up and running.
00:09:43 Gary Tyreman
Right, right. Well, for sure. And you know, I mentioned it’s probably the most one of the more difficult aspects because of the permutations, right, or the combinations in the digital application. But the ability to map let’s take that as a flow right application.
00:10:03 Gary Tyreman
True to the to underwriting.
00:10:06 Gary Tyreman
Successful or decline, right? Just those two simple flows regardless of the combinations, right? Building that model?
00:10:14 Gary Tyreman
Gives people the ability to drive a tremendous number of test cases, right? I’m just letting people have the time or the economics.
00:10:24 Gary Tyreman
To run, you know several billion test cases, but you have the option to, but it does give people some.
00:10:33 Gary Tyreman
Some insight into what they could be doing right, like when you’re talking about coverage maps, if they’re not covering.
00:10:42 Gary Tyreman
Every part of the combination tree, right? That’s that coverage map is kind of hiding some things, right?
00:10:50 Tony Saineghi
Could be, yeah, uh. You know, you’ve got.
00:10:54 Tony Saineghi
You’ve got the aspiration to use the word that you called out before, which is a good one. You’ve got the aspiration to hit.
00:11:03 Tony Saineghi
The Bell curve of scenarios, but you know real life doesn’t work like that. There are certain aspects or certain permutations that are high risk potentially inside of your underwriting system that you want to just make sure get nailed down or make sure that you’re.
00:11:24 Tony Saineghi
Your flagging and sending up to an underwriter to review so you know as much as much as we and IT try to take the clinical view of things. There are those corner cases that are you know financially.
00:11:42 Tony Saineghi
Risky that you want to make sure from a technology perspective are covered. So whenever you’re dealing with.
00:11:44 Gary Tyreman
00:11:49 Tony Saineghi
00:11:53 Tony Saineghi
Automation. You want to make sure that the folks you’re working with and I know you’re, you’re all over this. But I do find great comfort in making sure that industry experience is something that.
00:12:06 Tony Saineghi
Is layered over your technology shops because you can create those tools that generate these. Like you said, a billion test cases. You’re not going to run them all. You’re going to fine tune that, but you’ve got to be able to have that.
00:12:24 Tony Saineghi
Day in the life of an underwriter.
00:12:27 Tony Saineghi
In your hip pocket or in the back of your mind, or when you’re innovating tools that are becoming, you know, more and more efficient in, in how they execute and operate that you’ve got kind of that underwriters mindset.
00:12:40 Tony Saineghi
Always gut checking and making sure that you’re building something that’s high as highly efficient in value, not just in quantity, but that overall. Uh.
00:12:53 Tony Saineghi
Risk mitigation quality factors that that are also important to insurers. So.
00:12:57 Gary Tyreman
00:13:01 Gary Tyreman
You know, it’s funny. You.
00:13:03 Gary Tyreman
I think I threw out a.
00:13:04 Gary Tyreman
Billion and we use an example. If you take 30 questions with two answers.
00:13:09 Gary Tyreman
You look at the combinations of that in just in terms of the how many are there. It’s just under 1.1 billion.
00:13:16 Gary Tyreman
Yeah, and that that’s not, that’s.
00:13:18 Gary Tyreman
Not a representative number of the typical application process part A, Part B right? There could be 1600 questions. That’s right. And you know the combinations of that. So while we can generate the database and I already mentioned the economics may not be there to run everything.
00:13:36 Gary Tyreman
It does give.
00:13:37 Gary Tyreman
People to pick the path or choose what they want to run.
00:13:40 Gary Tyreman
And then execute that within.
00:13:42 Gary Tyreman
And the set of tools that they already have.
00:13:45 Tony Saineghi
Just put it.
00:13:45 Tony Saineghi
On the cloud, Gary, and just turn up your volume, you know, just run them. All right, that’s, that’s what I’ve heard people say, right?
00:13:50 Gary Tyreman
Yeah, I did.
00:13:52 Gary Tyreman
I did the math on that right, so if you have to make some assumptions on your average run time, let’s say it’s, you know and I’m going to say it’s 5 minutes. That’s not exactly the way it is for our customer, but depending on the actual test case, it could be 15 minutes, it could be down to like 3 minutes. But let’s just say it’s 5 minutes.
00:14:11 Gary Tyreman
That’s so now you’re at 5.5 billion minutes.
00:14:15 Gary Tyreman
And if you took the entire data centre with a million CPUs, you can do the math right? And it’s not an economical answer, it’s it is plausible. But I’m not suggesting that people do it, but I am suggesting those edge cases you reference.
00:14:32 Gary Tyreman
If they’re understood and you use the interface to select what you want, then you can run those. You can run the every time you wish as part of the regression, because as the app evolves or the back end and the writing rules evolve, you do want to make sure that you’re capturing.
00:14:52 Gary Tyreman
Well, those cause I think you said it right that those are the expensive mistake.
00:14:57 Tony Saineghi
That’s right. Yeah. And going back to getting things as close to the developer as possible, you know we we’re in the age of CI CD pipelines, we’ve got developers who are more informed and armed with tools to heal their.
00:15:17 Tony Saineghi
Code and to understand broader pictures and impacts to writing more performant code so you know the more we can just spin up an instance.
00:15:30 Tony Saineghi
Load data and execute test cases and know that from a development standpoint, when I’m done with work at night, this this stuff’s running in the background and we’re uh, we’re checked in and locked and loaded and risk mitigation wise you’re just taking a lot out of the test cycle if you can.
00:15:50 Tony Saineghi
Build kind of that.
00:15:52 Tony Saineghi
Ideal sweet spot of daily build regression that the developers can spin up. It’s very powerful.
00:16:02 Gary Tyreman
Didn’t you say that that was autonomy? I think. I think I heard you say that before. It’s like providing autonomy and development or QA.
00:16:11 Tony Saineghi
Yeah, I mean, what, what does what does one want? You know, the autonomy, mastery and purpose. I think that’s what we seek as humans. According to uh folks out there. And so this is really.
00:16:25 Tony Saineghi
You know where we’re where we’re at and if we can provide those tools to developers, then even better.
00:16:32 Gary Tyreman
Yeah, that’s good. I think we’re.
00:16:35 Gary Tyreman
Getting close to the end. So is there?
00:16:38 Gary Tyreman
One tiny piece of advice you would provide somebody as they begin their automation journey.
00:16:46 Tony Saineghi
Yeah, avoid a lot of the noise, you know, keep your head down. Assemble, assemble the team that you need. Don’t be afraid to share what your goals and visions are for your test practice and day by day you will build momentum. You know, I the use case that.
00:17:06 Tony Saineghi
Comes to mind when you ask me that question is you’re inside a shop. That’s.
00:17:12 Tony Saineghi
You know, putting out fire is very tactical in nature and really unable to get out of its own way to build and innovate new test.
00:17:20 Tony Saineghi
Cases, but there’s.
00:17:22 Tony Saineghi
There is a way out, but it’s incremental. Just like with anything we’ve learned in software in an agile development is we are really you know incremental.
00:17:32 Tony Saineghi
And uh, coming out of this, you know, automate automated and with a with a new suite that empowers you, you’ll be in a lot better shape and also make sure you’re measuring along the way, right. Make sure you’re getting credits and capturing what you’re what you’re saving in terms of duration.
00:17:53 Tony Saineghi
Or throughput or.
00:17:56 Tony Saineghi
You know, quality, the defects avoided in production, all that good stuff. Keep the metrics flowing so.
00:18:02 Gary Tyreman
Measure once, cut twice, no measure measured twice, right?
00:18:08 Tony Saineghi
Yeah, let’s measure twice. That’s right.
00:18:10 Gary Tyreman
Yeah, exactly. Start somewhere, start small. But you got to start it. You got to start somewhere, right? So then, yeah, I appreciate it. Thanks for the thanks for the chat. Have a good one. Take. Yeah. Take care.
00:18:15 Tony Saineghi
That’s right, Gary.
00:18:19 Tony Saineghi
Yeah, great catching up.