At Cincinnati Equitable, Web services have opened up new avenues of connectivity. Agents can now access rating applications housed within the Cincinnati-based carrier's Windows-based servers to look up territory and verify policy status.This is not remarkable news, since agent portal Web sites have been around for years. What is remarkable is the fact that this new application took two hours to set up and deploy-a process that usually took several weeks, according to Terry Brown, vice president of information systems for Cincinnati Equitable Insurance Co.

That's because the carrier, along with its partner, IBS Inc., Oak Brook, Ill., used .NET-based components to build the system on Microsoft Windows servers. "The speed of development was shocking," Brown says. "The ability to get this process extended to our agents is much faster than it was when we had to code everything."

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