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February 10, 2011

Global Insurance Firm Boosts Financial Modeling Capability

Nicole Hemsoth

ING Insurance Benelux announced that its mission-critical financial modeling systems are running, on average, between 10 and 50 times faster due to a solution formed by Microsoft Partners, Bitbrains IT Services and Grid Dynamics.

ING Insurance announced that it has recently deployed a cloud solution from Bitbrains IT Services, Microsoft Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, and the Excel acceleration (HEAT) toolkit from Grid Dynamics. The end goal of this solution is to hasten financial simulations to calculate insurance risk, which will not only save time for analysts, but will hopefully lead to more accurate results.

The company notes that this solution is critical to their need to ensure that they held appropriate pension fund reserves. They note that prior to the new solution, risk managers were limited by the processing power of their own PCs, but that they required a much faster way to handle simulations.

The partner companies worked with ING Insurance Benelux to “transform the calculator to a 24-core Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 environment and using the Grid Dynamics HEAT solution.”

The HEAT solution Grid Dynamics provides enables users to convert extensive Excel spreadsheets into a format that allows them to run in a distributed HPC Server environment.

According to Hein Brat, Communications Manager at ING Insurance Benelux, “The comparative test results were identical, just a whole lot faster in the Windows HPC Server environment…our risk manager are hard to impress, but they’ve been really pleased with how well the cluster solution works and how easy it is to use.”

Risk managers at ING Insurance Benelux decided to go back and re-run simulations from the previous year which were calculated on the old system, a process that took them a mere two weeks versus 365 days.

As the release from ING states, “Bitbrains scaled up their cluster, but they also conducted a higher number of simulations, thereby fine-tuning the accuracy of the year’s results.”

Full story at Insurance News