Travelers Life Updates Producer SiteAt the same time Citigroup Inc., New York, was announcing the sale of Travelers Life & Annuity to MetLife Inc. (see page 6), the life and annuity company was introducing an updated producer Web site. Rolled out in its entirety on January 28, the updated site enables producers to view their entire book of business on a single page, listed by account number, account owner, annuitant, account value and more. By clicking on a specific account, the producer can dig deeper, accessing TL&A's AccountViewer for details.
Producers can also select, print and/or save all the quarterly statements for the accounts in their book of business at one time. Another innovation on the site is technology called FormSearch. "Producers told us that downloading all the right forms from a Web site can often be a difficult, 'hit or miss' task," says Bill Krivoshik, the company's chief technology officer. Now, when a producer selects one form, the software automatically selects and delivers any other required forms. It also provides a list of appropriate optional forms, such as forms for riders. Forms are also easier to complete on the new site due to enhanced PDF technology that enables producers to fill out forms onscreen.
NAIC Launches Online Producer Fraud Reporting
As part of the ongoing steps to address the issue of insurance broker compensation arrangements, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Kansas City, Mo., launched an online insurance fraud reporting system on its Web site. The online fraud reporting system enables consumers to provide detailed information anonymously. No personal identifying information is required to submit an allegation of suspected fraud. A consumer wishing to receive verification of the NAIC's receipt of the report is required to provide a name and e-mail address, and consumers may choose to provide additional contact information to facilitate communication from the state insurance department that investigates this report. To file a suspected insurance fraud report, consumers are only required to indicate the state where the suspected fraud occurred, name of the business or individual, with a complete mailing address. Other optional fields include the phone number and date of birth, as well as date of suspected fraud and amount of loss. The report also includes a text box for consumers to provide additional details of the suspected fraud. The insurance fraud reporting system is available directly at https://external-apps.naic.org/fraud/ofrs_entry.jsp, or is accessible from two links on the NAIC home page: under the "New and Noteworthy" section and through the Consumer Information Source.
ClickNsettle Sheds Dispute Resolution Biz
ClickNsettle.com Inc., a Great Neck, N.Y.-based provider of dispute resolution solutions, has closed the sale of the company to a company affiliated with Chief Executive Officer Roy Israel. At press time, ClickNsettle, the parent company of National Arbitration and Mediation (NAM), was searching for a new operating business to acquire.
Insurance Site Offers Hoosiers Choice
According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of uninsured Indiana residents grew by nearly 200,000 between 2000 and 2003. To address the problem, Indiana entrepreneur Mike Ertel, an insurance industry veteran, launched a Web site at www.medicalinsurancenow.com. Customers can use the site to compare insurance carriers and their specific plans and pricing against one another. Short-term and long-term health insurance from providers Humana, UniCare, Fortis and Celtic can be purchased directly through the site. Plans are in the works to add additional providers.
Online Health Info Important To Seniors
As the Internet becomes an increasingly important resource for gathering information about health and health care options, a national survey of older Americans by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that less than one-third (31%) of seniors (age 65 and older) have ever gone online, while more than two-thirds (70%) of the next generation of seniors (50-64 year-olds) have. The differences among seniors and 50-64 year-olds are striking and indicate that online resources for health information may soon play a much larger role among older Americans, according to the foundation, which conducted the survey and released a report titled, "E-health and the Elderly: How Seniors Use the Internet for Health."
Twenty-one percent of seniors have gone online to look for health information compared to 53% of 50-64 year-olds; 8% of seniors get "a lot" of health information online compared to 24% of 50-64 year-olds; the Internet is fifth on a list of media sources of health information for seniors compared to first among 50-64 year-olds; and 26% of seniors trust the Internet "a lot" or "some" to provide accurate health information, compared to 58% of 50-64 year-olds.
The survey also finds that a significant digital divide could leave those most in need with less information on which to base important health care decisions. Seniors whose annual household income is under $20,000 are much less likely to have gone online (15%) than those with incomes between $20,000 and $49,000 (40%) or those with incomes of $50,000 a year or more (65%). Most seniors (64%) on Medicare fall into that lowest income category of under $20,000 a year, while just 8% have an income of $50,000 or more. Furthermore, seniors with only a high school degree or less are much less likely to have gone online than those with some college or a college degree (18% versus 45% versus 60%).
Prescription drugs top the list of health care topics researched, with more than a third (37%) of online seniors (13% of all seniors) saying they've looked online for drug information, including 16% (5% of all seniors) who say they have used the Internet to compare prices for prescription drugs, and 15% (5% of all seniors) who say they have actually purchased prescription drugs online. Copies of the report (#7223) are available at http://www.kff.org.
Jefferson National Launches Middle Market Tool
Jefferson National Life Insurance Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of New York-based Inviva Inc., is the first carrier to electronically distribute simplified issue products through Web-based services from iPipeline, an Exton, Pa.-based ASP provider to the life insurance industry. Jefferson National's Simple Term can be issued instantly online to qualified applicants, with a face value up to $250,000, with no exam, no complicated application and no wet signatures.
Without leaving the familiar workflow of their own site, brokerage general agents (BGAs) can electronically quote rates using Jefferson National's patent-pending automated process, which was designed to streamline sales to the middle market by cutting costs, saving time, and providing qualified applicants with instant-issue term coverage in as little as 10 minutes. In the first phase, Jefferson National's rates will be integrated directly into iPipeline's quoting tools and published onto the sites of participating BGA's. In the second phase, expected to launch this spring, iPipeline will publish Jefferson National's complete application process onto BGA's sites, enabling agents to submit applications and issue approved policies at the point of purchase.
Genworth Financial Streamlines Mortgage Lender Data Exchange
The mortgage insurance segment of Genworth Financial Inc., Richmond, Va., has established an electronic data exchange with the Fidelity Empower! loan origination software system. Genworth officials say this capability eliminates redundant data entry, and improves the accuracy and quality of user data by eliminating rekeying. Empower!, a product of Fidelity Information Services, is an enterprise application that offers connectivity to an array of lending industry services and to the Internet, which enables lenders to create a customized platform to optimize their operations. Genworth has a significant number of successful electronic data exchanges with customers and leading mortgage platforms. Its capabilities include industry standards such as MISMO XML, X12 and DU 3.2. Fidelity Information Services is a division of Fidelity National Financial Inc., Jacksonville. Fla.
Michigan Insurance Expands Use Of IVANS Services
Michigan Insurance Co., a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based provider of commercial and personal insurance products, has expanded its use of IVANS Translation Services, streamlining the way it processes workers' compensation medical bills and payments. With the additional services, Michigan Insurance will accept a download of claims and payment information directly from its medical bill auditor. Previously, paper copies were shipped to the company, and adjusters entered the information manually. This process was time consuming and increased the possibility of errors. Now, the company can process checks without any manual intervention, speeding the payment process for its customers. Michigan Insurance already uses Old Greenwich, Conn.-based IVANS Inc.'s software and services to handle translation to and from ACORD Standards for its agency upload and download transactions, as well as integration of the agency requests into their policy writing systems.
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