Online Employee EnrollmentHartford, Conn.-based Aetna has launched Aetna Employee Self Service, a Web site powered by Aetna EZLink, the company's Web-based benefits administration and online billing solution. Aetna Employee Self Service is provided free of charge to Aetna customers with 51 to 3,000 employees. Employees can enroll online for Aetna benefits including medical, dental, pharmacy, life, supplemental life, short- and long-term disability and flexible spending accounts. The site provides employees with their available benefit options and associated payroll deductions based on their eligibility. It also helps customers manage benefits administration for non-Aetna plans to provide an end-to-end solution for managing the open enrollment process.

Anthem Life's New Site

Anthem Life Insurance Co., Indianapolis, Ind., has enhanced its Web site at www.anthem.com with streamlined access to online forms, guides, content and self-service tools. The new services on the site include: information to help customers administer plans and get answers to questions concerning enrollments, making changes, billing, filing claims, and employer responsibilities; tools for producers such as general product overviews, product details and availability by state, quote checklist, sales and marketing materials, and sales contacts; and self-service tools to enable secure access for select groups to review bills, payments, and member coverage.

BudgetLife Cuts Paper Chase

BudgetLife, a unit of Canton, Mich.-based Interlinx LLC, has developed a Fast Application Screen and Transfer (BeFAST) process that uses direct interfaces to insurance company databases to speed life insurance delivery to consumers. Once a consumer enters a BeFAST request at BudgetLife's Website, it is transferred directly into the company's database. BudgetLife also provides needs analysis and quoting tools to assist consumers in choosing life insurance products to fit their requirements.

Small Biz Health Insurance

Small-group employers in California have a new ally in managing their company's health insurance program through a Web site provided by CaliforniaChoice, an Orange, Calif.-based exchange for small-group healthcare benefits. The site, at www.calchoice.com, assists employers with revising billing information, adding or removing employees or instantly receiving new-hire quotes. Employers also have access to a search engine that identifies physician networks and prescription drug formularies available through the health plans participating in the CaliforniaChoice exchange model. The online fulfillment feature enables employers to order ID cards for new employees and download forms, directories and administrative handbooks.

Cybersettle Reaches Milestone

Cybersettle Inc., an online settlement company based in White Plains, N.Y., has processed 75,000 transactions through its proprietary, double-blind bid system called "automated dispute resolution." Co-invented by Charles Brofman, Cybersettle's president and CEO, the method has facilitated more than a half billion dollars in claim settlements in North America. A 2000 Accenture model office study conducted with top U.S. property and casualty carriers revealed that Cybersettle can save customers up to $1,219 per claim. The report indicated that Cybersettle significantly reduces claim cycle time, whether parties resolve their dispute through the system, or offline, as an end result of the process.

Disaster Web Site Enhanced

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), Tampa, Fla., has updated its disaster protection information Web site at www.disastersafety.org. The latest enhancements to the IBHS site enable more efficient access to property protection tips on hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, hail, earthquakes and freezing weather, as well as to related news headlines, IBHS publications and other pertinent information. A new section on flood risks and levees is also available. IBHS has also added a private section to its Web site for its member insurers and reinsurers and their agents. This new section includes special research reports and presentations, training programs on key state building codes, member bulletins, an "Ask IBHS" feature and other content of particular interest to insurers.

MetLife Upgrades MetLink

New York-based MetLife has rolled out a new version of MetLink, MetLife's employer benefits administration portal, for its group customers. Benefits managers accessing MetLink can use a new Quick Links feature to view their most frequently used options, such as employee benefits enrollment, claims status or report generation. The site enhancements also include more powerful reporting capabilities, an enhanced search capability and a simplified registration process for employers to add employee information and more easily update coverage.

Nationwide, Yahoo! En Espanol

Nationwide Advantage Mortgage, the mortgage affiliate of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Columbus, Ohio, and Yahoo! en espanol, Coral Gables, Fla., have launched what a mortgage center for Spanish-speaking consumers at www.lamejorhipoteca.com. The site provides information, tools and resources to help consumers finance and buy a home. Visitors can check current mortgage rates and submit a free loan application online or over the phone, with decisions made in as few as 10 minutes.

Online Roster and Self Billing

Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Financial Inc. has launched online roster and client/self billing capabilities for its group insurance clients. The additions enable clients to make necessary changes to coverage information in real-time, and update employee information, add new employees or conduct searches by employee name and Social Security number. In addition, employers now have online access to billing summaries for entire employee rosters or selected individuals. Clients can change covered lives and insurance volumes, with updated billing amounts calculated in seconds.

Electronic Agent Appointment

Zurich Life, which introduced an online paperless agent appointment system called Z-appoint, has taken another step in making agent appointments easier. The Schaumburg, Ill.-based carrier's new TXLife Appointment Data Feed, enables general agents (GAs) to receive daily agent appointment status through their agency management system. The TXLife Appointment Data is collected and sent to GAs on a daily basis. Currently, the ACORD-certified appointment data feed is available to limited Zurich Life GAs, depending on their system vendors.

Online Income Meter

Americans wondering if they'll have enough money to retire have a new tool at their disposal: MetLife's Income Meter. Unlike retirement calculators that focus on saving for retirement, this tool, offered by MetLife Retirement & Savings, calculates the monthly income that an individual's retirement savings will provide. Located at www.myretirement.metlife.com, Income Meter first queries users on whether they are still saving or about to retire. For those still saving for retirement, the tool helps them calculate how much they should save to provide their desired level of income. For those getting ready to retire, the calculator provides information on the amount of income they can expect from their savings and how long it will last. In addition, Income Meter uses actuarial data to illustrate the likelihood a user will outlive his or her savings.

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