Case Study: Ensuring Quality, Now and in the Future

Case Study

Upgraded E-Underwriting Platform Simplifies Workload and Guarantees Reliable Performance Into the Future

Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) uses a huge proprietary system for e-underwriting and management of life reinsurance. We worked closely with RGA to build a new testing framework, automate current tests, and enable future tests that require minimal programming resources.

The Client

RGA is a leader in the global life reinsurance industry, with approximately $2.9 trillion in policies and assets of $44.7 billion (2015).

The Challenge

RGA uses Automated Underwriting and Risk Analysis® (AURA®), a proprietary rules-based electronic underwriting solution, to quickly approve "clean" cases and route more difficult cases for underwriter review.

Over the last decade, AURA has expanded and evolved into a multi-function e-underwriting and management solution, currently handling more than 3 million life, health, and annuity applications each year.

Growing and maintaining a solution of this size requires frequent testing and improvement. All application services must be robust enough to handle RGA’s sizable workload while maintaining a positive user experience.

RGA required an extensible and reliable testing system that could efficiently handle the company's growth without delays or downtime. They also needed the platform to be easy for RGA's team to maintain and upgrade over time.

Our Contribution

Testing of the Legacy AURA system

We worked with RGA's architects and Quality Assurance (QA) team to identify goals and build a series of tests using open source testing tools and wikis.

We conducted extensive research on a variety of tools (FitNesse, Geb, WebDriver, and more) and ensured that they would work together as needed.

We then completed health-check tests for several AURA Legacy load-balanced servers to periodically check for and identify failing servers. The health checks were integrated into a custom reporting script so that results could be parsed and sent to relevant parties in an email summary report.

AURA NExt Generation Testing Efforts

We also created a new integration fixture intended for use on the next generation of AURA.

This fixture combines the web-automation capabilities of WebDriver and Geb with the organization and testing tools of FitNesse.

Using this fixture, RGA's QA team is able to dramatically increase the number of tests that can be run via AURA's user interface, while reducing the need for developer intervention.

Organized and Documented Web App & Server Testing

Beyond running these tests, we also organized and documented the web application and server testing which, along with training, has empowered RGA’s QA teams to define and run their own tests with minimal programming resources or developer intervention. This allows RGA to identify and resolve issues more quickly and reduce downstream correction costs and potential production reliability issues.

Because we are an agile shop doing new development, changes are happening to our interfaces continuously. It is not unusual to have new deployments to QA multiple times per day.

What the FitNesse / Geb framework has given us is a tool to automate some of the tedious and repetitive UI regression testing, freeing the QA analysts to focus on higher-value functional testing. Because the tests are built on Geb page objects, the tests have proved very resilient to constantly changing user-interface styling and composition.

At the same time, we've leveraged the Geb framework to do integration tests, which are run with every deployment in our continuous integration environment. This has allowed us to catch integration and regression issues before ever deploying to QA, which saves everybody time.

— RGA Senior Project Manager