Amlin Insurance
Amlin Reinsurance Project
"Employees testing the application have commented on just how robust and reliable the code is — it just works consistently day-after-day."

- Tim Titchmarsh, Chief Architect and Software Designer of Dot Net Architect

Amlin Reinsurance Project

Amlin Insurance
London, UK

Very easy one-page integration to Microsoft's Reporting Services.

The Amlin Reinsurance Project application was designed and written for Amlin plc, a UK Insurance company. The application provides reinsurance experts a way of storing, processing and handling cover notes, claims and premiums for reinsurance purposes

Multiple currencies are handled for both claims and premiums.

Users enter data manually for any given year and then roll forward or backward in time, automatically migrating the data and saving hours in entering similar information. In addition, rates of exchange, currencies, rating can be imported as CSV (comma separated value) files with full validation and reporting.

The application stores information on multiple reinsurers and their S & P and Amlin ratings.

A new dynamic security model was used giving users the ability to dynamically add users to roles and assign security settings to roles individually or in a batch. Access to all controls on a page and the page itself can be dynamically set at runtime.

Microsoft SQL Reporting Services was used to handle the reporting requirements.

Application size and scope

One Microsoft SQL Server database comprises over 150 tables and views, the largest currently holding 125,000 records. This table grows as audit entries are added for each insert/edit and delete of the other tables, approximately 20,000 per year. The application is split into two Intranet websites, one for the main application and one for the administrative functions, totaling over 300 web pages and 1,900 stored procedures. The administrative site allows privileged users to administer data and configurations without the IT team or DBA.

The administrative functionality is integrated into the main application seamlessly even though they are two different applications.

The Admin functionality is integrated into the main application seamlessly even though they are two different applications

The project

The project took four months to implement with one person, a senior developer with 27 years' experience, doing the database design, web design and implementation. After the initial application becomes established, a second phase is planned and will take another four months or so.

Code extensions and customizations

Infragistics web controls were used where extra functionality was required such as tree view and drop down menus.

Code customizations have been used extensively to handle menus, breadcrumb trails and tree views. User Controls are used where possible to keep the changes separate from the Iron Speed Designer code. The application architecture made this a very easy task and worked consistently well. Shared customizations were made to the BaseApplicationPage class and individual changes made to the code behind to handle menu events and pre-processing of data.

Layout customizations

Using the master page template, a new layout was designed with menus, treeview, breadcrumb and help screens.

A new design theme based on an existing theme was created before work started. Custom panels were also used to aid reusability across the project.

Metrics for success

Coding proved to be a lot easier with Iron Speed Designer, because the majority of the application "plumbing" is created for you, saving time and money. It works time after time and builds confidence in the system reliability. Without Iron Speed Designer, another developer or two would have been needed to complete the project on time.

The application in action, treeview navigation on the left the main view on the right.

Iron Speed Designer impact

Building the application by hand would have been feasible, but would have taken a lot longer to produce the same results. Employees testing the application have commented on just how robust and reliable the code is — it just works consistently day-after-day. They also really appreciate the uniformity, robustness and responsiveness that the Iron Speed framework has provided.

Next steps

Phase two will commence as soon as this the initial application becomes established in the organization. Many of the code customizations will be reused in the next phase.

About the developer

Tim Titchmarsh has over 25 years of software development and management experience in the computer industry. He earned a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science Studies in 1986, and set up his own software consulting and development company in 1997. His company, Dot Net Architect, specializes in Microsoft technologies. He has won contracts with many blue chip clients both in London and Zurich including USB Global Asset Management, Accenture, Commerzbank and Amlin Insurance and has gained a reputation for "getting things done".

Tim is a member of the Microsoft MSDN Visual Studio Team Developer and The Microsoft Partner Program. He also contributes greatly to the Iron Speed community as an Iron Speed MVP.

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