The schedule for the implementation of the German Digital Pension overview has been set. Correspondingly, the pension institutions will be obligated to connect to the Central Department for Digital Pension Overview (ZfDR). This presents insurance managers with the question if they would like to handle the functionalities to fulfill their reporting obligations to the ZfDR through their own development or through the purchase of standard software.
Initially, it is important that pension institutions make the decision internally quickly as to if they would like to participate in the initial voluntary operational phase from the ZfDR for the Digital Pension Overview starting in December of 2022 or if they would like to take some time until the connection is mandatory (presumably in 2024).
Insurance companies that would like to participate in the initial operational phase must connect to the ZfDR in July of 2022. It is therefore recommended for pension institutions to take a critical look at their own necessary resources needed to be able to handle their independent development by July of 2022.
Establish maintenance operation on time
The challenge is that future maintenance operation must be established already during the independent development. Technological development and, above all, system maintenance due to officially required changes must be ensured in particular for a newly implemented reporting obligation such as the Digital Pension Overview. It can be assumed that during the evaluation phase, the ZfDR will implement improvements to the process and also to the data to be reported as well as the technical interfaces being used for reporting purposes. In addition to this is the fact that the pension institution may not simply let go of their internally established competency after their successful independent development. The knowledge regarding their independent development, being both in a professional and technical regard, must be available securely and long-term.
Criteria for the purchase of standard software
It is recommended to purchase standard software. What criteria should insurance managers look at when considering software and software providers?
Scope of delivery of standard software:
- The encapsulation of the required functionality and required technology between the inventory management system from the pension institution and the ZfDR must occur through the software.
- The software must generate the VZ01 dataset for the contracts relevant for reporting purposes. The system must also ensure that for a query from the ZfDR for which several contracts exist, a response is generated with all of the contracts affiliated with the pension institution.
- The data retention of the software must be filled as scheduled and unscheduled with the data requiring reporting on behalf of the inventory management system from the pension institution. Updates throughout the year must also be possible at any random points of time.
- There may not be a historical retention of data. Inquiries that receive negative responses must be physically deleted immediately.
- Inquiries from the ZfDR must be able to be responded to within the defined response time and only the respectively current data and documents from the inventory management systems may be sent to the ZfDR.
- The software solution must be able to send a defined status update to the ZfDR in PDF format adjusted to the required formats and illustrations from the ZfDR.
- The software must obtain the respectively newest status message regarding the individual contracts in PDF form from the electronic archive belonging to the pension institution and perform any required further format adjustments to the documents, for example, compression.
- The software solution must be able to initially request all missing tax identification numbers from the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt).
- Processors must have possibilities to correct individual messages and to handle error messages from the authorities.
- The software solution must be implemented so that it can be integrated in the application landscape from the pension institution. Interfaces to technical peripheral systems (inventory, partner, mailbox, disbursements, etc.) must be designed technically and functionally so that the existing peripheral systems can be connected to the pension institution through adapters.
- The software solution should ideally be designed for use with several clients, in terms of legal entities when appearing before authorities, and for multiple inventory management systems per client.
- The software should be able to run out-of-the-box as well as on-premises and in the private or public cloud.
Software provider requirements
- The software provider must have the further development of standard software in their DNA. The contextual further development of the standard software must be ensured through maintenance contracts and regular updates by the provider.
- The system maintenance to comply with legal and regulatory requirements should be done by the software provider. This is the only way that internal resources from the pension institution can be relieved in the long-run.
- The provider must be able to offer trained staff for the implementation of the standard software.
- The provider must offer long-term support with a sufficient service level. There should also be a technical platform available for error/support communication.
- The software provider should, for example, be up to date about panel work if related to technical and functional developments regarding the topic of the Digital Pension Overview.
The listed criteria for the selection of suitable standard software and software providers for the topic of Digital Pension Overview are certainly not exhaustive, but they are the most important at the current point in time.
Should you have any questions about the topic of Digital Pension Overview or would like to talk about further criteria for the selection of suitable standard software, then feel free to contact our expert Senthuran Sabaratnam.