To help insurance companies manage their high-performance computing needs, Milliman, a global provider of actuarial software and consulting services, launched a client project that uses Windows Azure to distribute highly complex, mission-critical computing tasks across cloud-based resources. The result is supercomputer-level processing capability that is enormously scalable and powerful, yet can be delivered at a lower cost and with fewer IT resources than through traditional on-premises IT deployments.
The firm’s flagship software solution for the life and financial services industry is MG-ALFA, a sophisticated financial modeling tool used around the world. MG-ALFA, which was first released in the mid-1990s, helps insurance firms with tasks such as product pricing, risk management analysis, and responding to regulatory reporting requirements.
Due to the nature of the risks that are part of insurance products and the interactions with the assets backing them, the MG-ALFA application uses stochastic simulations to measure the financial results. Stochastic analysis involves evaluating financial outcomes across thousands of randomly generated economic scenarios that might play out over 30 or more years. This kind of actuarial analysis requires very high-performance grid-computing capabilities, which in turn require a specialized—and expensive—IT infrastructure.
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