Following nine months of development, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), Alexandria, Va., also known as the Big "I," has released an upgraded version of the Big "I" Markets software to their more than 3,500 participating agencies (8,000 registered users).Big "I" Markets Version 1.2 offers more secure technology, easier navigation and an increased capacity to take on new products, according to IIABA.

The release of Big "I" Markets Version 1.2 brings new products from Balboa, Fireman’s Fund and National Interstate. These new products are added to those already available from Atlantic Mutual, Chubb, The Hartford, Selective, The St. Paul and others.

"We held off releasing new products over the last six months waiting for the new software version," says Paul A. Buse, CPCU, ARM, president of Big "I" Advantage, IIABA’s member products and services subsidiary. "We are excited to have the upgrade behind us so we can concentrate on launching the niche products our members want."

IIABA launched Big "I" Markets in 1998 based on Microsoft’s then brand new data and permissions management tool, Active Directory (AD). Big "I" Markets Version 1.2 builds on that platform using Windows Server 2003 updates for AD. "By using IIABA’s AD infrastructure, we can control what product or coverage members see based on their license with us and what is available in their states," says Buse.

The enhanced user interface of Big "I" Markets is built in object-oriented JAVA while the application data collection and exchange were designed embracing Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) standards. "We have all kinds of technology," continues Buse, "but the important thing is that we are using our technology to bring members what they want."

"It is critical that the association’s member benefits and insurance agency operations set the right example in proper, agent-friendly use of technology," says IIABA President Louise "BeBe" Canter, CPCU, ARM. "Our members struggle everyday with technology and market access. It is important for IIABA to use its infrastructure to grow a forward-thinking, electronic bridge between product providers and independent agencies."

IIABA sees the enhanced portal as a key member advantage and one that will increasingly unite its members in the future.

"Perhaps the most important aspect of Big ‘I’ Markets Version 1.2 is that it helps bring to the marketplace a combined Big ‘I’ member distribution force for specialty products," says Buse.

Source: IIABA

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