After several years' experience with customer relationship management (CRM) implementations, insurers are a lot smarter about what the term means and how to achieve it, according to industry experts.Perhaps one of the most important lessons learned is to pay closer attention to the people who are responsible for the "R" in CRM, according to Darren Peterson, vice president, marketing at E-Z Data Inc., a Pasadena, Calif.-based firm that provides agent CRM systems. "The people I'm talking about are the ones that focus on . . . the relationship with the customer," he says. "And (for insurers) that has to be your field force."

Genworth Financial Inc., Richmond, Va., recently deployed E-Z Data CRM to its career agency force, but the Richmond, Va.-based firm also distributes its products through banks, securities brokerage firms and brokerage general agencies.

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