Agent portals, new technology a decade ago, are commonplace today among property/casualty carriers. Despite the fact that agent portals are a mature technology, they're the second-most-cited IT projects planned for this year among insurers, according to a study by Novarica, insurance and banking consultants in Boston and New York.

Most portal technology in use today is fairly modern, says Martina Conlon, principal in Novarica's insurance practice. Unless their portals are really old, few carriers are replacing them; rather, insurers are enhancing them. "They're rounding out the features they include in their portals across those lines of business," Conlon says. "They may be adding upload or they may be adding online document access or things like that. They're enhancing their existing portals, adding functionality and adding lines of business."

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