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Learning about multivariate circumstancing

Suggest edit Updated on September 10, 2021

Multivariate circumstancing provides flexible circumstancing for complex, multichannel, multi-state business problems. This circumstancing feature allows you to put logic into rule qualification, instead of just one value.

In order to allow multiple circumstance values to be evaluated while choosing rules, you configure two different rule types:

  • Circumstance Templates (Rule-Circumstance-Template rule type)
  • Circumstance Definitions (Rule-Circumstance-Definition rule type)

 

Suggested Approach

When creating an application, you may wish to circumstance some rules by more than one property. As an example, an insurance company has to meet various state regulations regarding communication about privacy notices and other customer disclaimers. The laws vary by state, and may require the insurance company to communicate different disclaimers depending upon the amount of the claim and the type of customer communication (phone call, email, letter).

State

Channel

ClaimAmount

Required Customer Disclaimers and Privacy Notices

CT

Letter

>$1500

include printed notice

CT

Phone

>$500

none

MA

Letter

>$2000

include printed notice

MA

Email

>$750

include link to website

NC

Phone

>$0

none

NC

Letter

>$500

include link to website

CA

Letter

>$0

none

CA

Email

>$250

include link to website

The above table shows the different combinations necessary to comply with the state regulations about contacting customers.  In Connecticut, if a claim amount is over $1500, and a letter is being sent to a customer, a printed notice must be included; if the customer is discussing the claim in a phone call, and the claim is less than $500, no privacy notices are required. 

You would group these combinations in some logical fashion for most efficient rule creation.  In the above example, the most efficient grouping would be based on the action to be taken by the rule.  The processing to be accomplished is the sending of the appropriate notices; some must be sent as printed notices, and some may just be information on a website. Therefore, these are the property value combinations which may be grouped together to be applied to rules:

 

“NoRefRequired” Definition

State

Channel

ClaimAmount

Action to take

CT

Phone

>$500

none

NC

Phone

>$0

none

CA

Letter

>$0

none

 

“PrintNoticeRequired” Definition

State

Channel

ClaimAmount

Action to take

CT

Letter

>$1500

PrintNotice

MA

Letter

>$2000

PrintNotice

 

“WebsiteRefRequired” Definition

State

Channel

ClaimAmount

Action to take

MA

Email

>$750

WebsiteLink

NC

Letter

>$500

WebsiteLink

CA

Email

>$250

WebsiteLink

 

To apply all of these values to a rule requires creating two different rule types:

  • Circumstance Templates
  • Circumstance Definitions

These rules will hold the properties and values of those properties.  The Templates and Definitions will then be applied to the rules being circumstanced. One rule would be defined for each action to be taken.

In this example, the purpose of the base rule might be to send correspondence to a customer.  There would be various circumstanced versions of this base rule: 

  • one where the correspondence does not include a privacy notice
  • one where the correspondence points to a website link
  • one where the correspondence includes a printed notice

 

The system evaluates the type of correspondence, the customer’s claim amount, and the state where the customer resides, and chooses the rule where the circumstances match.

NOTE:  Do not confuse the Circumstance Template rule with a template rule. Template rules may be used as a pattern to copy for creating new rules; a Circumstance Template rule is a template specifically designed to implement the multiple-circumstance-property functionality.

Validating the Circumstance Data

The Definitions contain the decision table to define the conditions of the circumstance; the decision table columns are set by the properties defined in the Template.  This decision table has no return value column, as it simply defines the conditions to which this circumstance applies.  As each Definition instance is saved, the decision table contents are validated for consistency with any other Definitions defined for that Template.

The system will validate whether you have added the same value to two different Definitions.  For example, entering the following lines would cause an error:

State

Channel

ClaimAmount

Circumstance Definition Rule

CT

Letter

>$2500

PrintNotice

CT

Letter

>$2500

WebNotice

 

 If possible, the system will automatically order the value lines so that there aren’t logic errors.  For example, the following entries would present a logic error:

State

Channel

ClaimAmount

Circumstance Definition Rule

CT

Letter

>1500

WebNotice

CT

Letter

>2000

PrintNotice

Since anything that would be greater than 2000 would also be greater than 1500, the second line would never be reached (i.e., all rules where the claim amount was greater than 1500 would automatically be sent to the web notice).  In order to properly handle this situation, the system would reorder these as follows:

State

Channel

ClaimAmount

Circumstance Definition Rule

CT

Letter

>2000

PrintNotice

CT

Letter

>1500

WebNotice

Now, all claims above $2000 will get the print notice, and claims less than $2000 but greater than $1500 get the web notice.

Priority Definitions

You may want to specify one rule to be evaluated first in the decision table, instead of allowing the system to determine the order of the rows.  In this case, enter the appropriate Circumstance Definition information into the Priority Definition field on the Definitions tab of the Circumstance Template.  This will reorganize the decision table created by the system.

Forcing the PrintNoticeRequired Definition to be evaluated first creates the following logic error:

State

Channel

ClaimAmount

Circumstance Definition Rule

CT

Letter

>1500

WebNotice

CT

Letter

>2000

PrintNotice

Since “All claim amounts over $2000” (the second line) are also “over $1500” (the first line), the second Circumstance Definition would never be evaluated – all rule evaluation would stop at the first line. 

NOTE:  The system does not prevent you from setting up this situation; it merely warns you of it.  It is up to you to evaluate the system warning, and determine whether you wish to design your system this way.

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