IVANS STUDY REVEALS SECURITY CONCERNS FOR AGENTSInternet security is a major concern for independent agents, according to a recent survey by IVANS Inc., Old Greenwich, Conn. A full 80% of agents are most worried about viruses and worms, and 42% said hackers are their second-biggest worry. The survey also revealed that 100% of respondents currently use an agency management system. In a November 2003 survey, 86% used an agency management system. In addition, 76% of this year's respondents prefer to retrieve carrier information through their agency management systems, versus 52% in 2003. Only 10% of agents prefer to retrieve data through carrier Web sites, while 8% prefer to receive information via paper.

TOP INSURERS RATED FOR ONLINE CUSTOMER RESPECT

Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association College Retirement topped the life and health list of insurers for online customer respect, while The Progressive Corp. ranked highest among property/casualty insurers. These are the results of the first quarter 2005 Online Customer Respect Study, conducted by The Customer Respect Group, Boston. TIAA-CREF scored a customer respect index (CRI) of 7.1 and Progressive scored 7.8.

UNUMPROVIDENT EXPANDS ONLINE TOOLS FOR DISABILITY CLAIMS

Employers can now access a step-by-step online guide that includes sample claims forms, administration guides, and information specific to maternity or long term disability claims on UnumProvident Corp.'s Web site. In addition, once the claim has been processed by the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based insurer, individuals can access a new online claim status service. This online service lets claimants check the status of claims payments and submit key dates related to current claims, such as their last day at work or anticipated return-to-work target. In addition, if an employee is on maternity leave, she can enter the baby's delivery date online. Individuals can access the Online Claims Status Service, at www.unumprovident.com. Employers can visit www.unumprovident.com/employers.

CHUBB'S NEW SITE AIDS AGENT PRODUCTIVITY

The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Warren, N.J., has redesigned its Web site at www.chubb.com, to make it easier for agents to do business with the insurer. The upgraded Web site features new content, easy-to-use navigation, a simplified design and direct access for agents to chubb, a secure Internet platform. The new site provides access to up-to-date information about Chubb products and services, history and management; risk mitigation tips; and articles by Chubb's practice leaders on risk and insurance issues. Chubb has combined all the content related to its standard commercial and specialty units into one business insurance section. The integration of chubb into Chubb.com is expected to improve agent workflows and productivity. Agents and brokers no longer need to leave chubb.com to sign into chubb, where they can view policy details, conduct claims inquiries, access sales aids and more.

WORLDTRAVELCENTER.COM HAS A NEW NAME

WorldTravelCenter.com, a travel insurance Web site operated by Insuractive Inc., Alexandria, Va., has changed its name to TravelInsuranceCenter.com. Insuractive markets online travel insurance and international health benefits via the Web site.

BLUE CROSS GIVE PHYSICIANS HAND-HELDS

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania intends to improve patient care and reduce prescription drug costs by distributing personal digital assistants (PDAs)-powered by Epocrates Essentials mobile clinical reference suite- to 250 physicians. The Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based health insurer will also provide an additional 250 Essentials subscriptions to physicians who already have PDAs.

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