While one of Ireland's largest insurers is harnessing mobile text messaging to sell a novel auto insurance program, a small U.S. insurance company in the cornfields of Ohio is using enterprise instant messaging to help it compete with the big guys."Instant messaging lets us do some things that our large competitors haven't done yet," says Rob Shoenfelt, CIO, at Celina Insurance Group, a $66 million mutual property/casualty insurer based in Celina, Ohio. "They don't have instant chat on their Web site, and we do. Can they put it in? Sure they can. But it was one technology we were able to implement before they did."

Celina Insurance is using IBM's Lotus Instant Messaging (previously called Sametime) both internally and externally. Employees use it to replace many e-mail exchanges among themselves, and agents use it when they visit Celina's extranet.

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