CIGNA OFFERS NEW ONLINE TOOLSCIGNA HealthCare has launched new eligibility and enrollment capabilities at CIGNAaccess.com. The site is designed to help more than 2,700 employee benefits plan administrators manage their CIGNA health plans more effectively with lower costs. The new CIGNAaccess.com employee enrollment and maintenance tool enables administrators to enroll new health plan members and dependents, cancel coverage and benefits, add dependents, change benefit elections and member demographics. Launched in 2003, CIGNAaccess.com provides Web-based access to view and update participant information, and customized reporting and monitoring.

The Philadelphia-based benefits provider also introduced an online Physicians Disability Toolkit-an informational Web site for health care providers and their office staff to aid patients' treatment and recovery plans. CIGNA Group Insurance designed the site as a single source of information about the disability management process.

MASSMUTUAL HELPS REPS EXPAND BUSINESS WITH PAAR

Springfield, Mass.-based Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual) is offering a new Portfolio Audit and Account Review (PAAR) program for agents on the company's producer Web site, FieldNet. PAAR is designed to help MassMutual's more than 8,000 financial professionals prepare accurate, up-to-date reports that summarize their clients' MassMutual investment and insurance portfolio. According to MassMutual, PAAR simplifies and automates the process of searching for clients, aggregating family policies and producing a comprehensive report. Using PAAR, a financial professional can search by name, Social Security number or tax identification number to display by product line all active MassMutual policies, contracts and investments. Agents can prepare a report by choosing either the summary or full detail option and clicking the "Generate Report" button.

VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY MOVES TO PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS

Beginning this month, the Big "I" Virtual University (VU), the online insurance educational and informational resource program developed by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big "I"), Alexandria, Va., is offering non-association members the option to purchase subscriptions to the university's research and reference services. Big "I" members will continue to have unlimited, free access to the VU as a member benefit. The change will not affect accessibility to insurance educational classes available online.

MERCURY INSURANCE PROVIDES REAL-TIME INQUIRIES VIA WEB BRIDGE

Los Angeles-based Mercury Insurance Group is using Web Bridge from Applied Systems Inc., University Park, Ill., to offer real-time billing, claim, and policy inquiries to agencies using The Agency Manager and The Agency Manager Vision Series software. Web Bridge provides agencies and brokers with direct access from their agency management systems to information from a carrier's Web site, without having to perform additional data entry.

CO-OPERATORS LIFE LAUNCHES BENEFITS EXPRESS

The Co-operators Life Insurance Co., Guelph, Ont., has launched Benefits Express, a Web-based group health portal powered by Genelco GroupWeb software from Genelco Software Solutions, St. Louis. The Co-operators anticipates broad usage of Benefits Express by the majority of plan administrators. In addition to conducting online enrollment, Benefits Express also enables administrators to search for employee coverage information using either the name or participant number. They can review transactions, reconcile premium billing, and view employee details such as addresses, dependents, coverages, coordination of benefits and direct deposit banking information.

ACORD OFFERS ONLINE TEAM COLLABORATION TOOL

To improve communication among ACORD members, the Pearl River, N.Y.-based association launched a new collaboration tool at http://teams.ACORD.org. The tool is available to all ACORD members within their specific lines of business. Registration on the site is required. Features of the new collaboration tool include: calendars of events, message boards, contact information, downloadable documents, and balloting for votes.

SAFECO PROVIDES REAL-TIME QUOTES THROUGH EZLYNX

Independent insurance distributors in seven Western states can get Safeco auto and home quotes without leaving their EZLynx Web portal. Typically, agents have to type customer information into comparative rating systems and then bridge to each carrier Web site to complete questions unique to each company's application process. Developed by Webcetera, Flower Mound, Texas, EZLynx removes the bridging step. EZLynx is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington. More states are expected to launch by year-end.

NATIONWIDE FINANCIAL DEVELOPS WEB-BASED SELLING PROCESS

C olumbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Financial is enabling its life agents to streamline business processes by using a Web-based system from NaviSys Inc., Edison, N.J. The system enables Nationwide's distributors and agents-more than 15,000 producers-to use the Web-based tools to propose universal life, variable universal life, term and whole life products to their clients. Nationwide is upgrading its illustration system and will begin using the new system by early fall. Nationwide will implement in 2005 another component of the NaviSys suite, a Web-based electronic application that uses reflexive questioning to capture information for underwriting and policy issue.

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