Aside from underwriting, knowledge management is being applied to both the claims and acquisition segments of insurance. Regarding the latter, it's no secret that to thrive, sales reps regularly need to analyze reams of marketing and sales data to react quickly to potential sales opportunities.Guardian Life examined Web-based content management and applied it to support sales and marketing efforts. Through content management, producers could better identify upselling and cross-selling trends and perform crisper portfolio analysis.

"We wanted to empower business users," says Jaime Sguerra, second vice president and chief architect, for New York City-based Guardian Life's information technology division of Guardian, which has $34 billion in assets providing life, disability, health and dental insurance products.

"Across the enterprise, the various sales groups that access the Web all have established their own content requirements in what's a very decentralized maintenance process."

Guardian's producers are quickly able to see what products customers have with the carrier and then make decisions on selling strategies. Metadata is created to provide guidance over searches.

But to lay the overall foundation for implementation of the content management solution-developed by Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Stellent-The Guardian had to embark on a data warehousing project, which enables business users to extract mission-critical data from The Guardian's various policy processing systems. The idea is indeed founded on sharing and collaboration.

"We created a policy that fosters the use and reuse of data across business units," Sguerra says. "We did this by creating an open, component-based enterprise architecture: All data is consolidated within the central repository with individualized business rules established."

Other insurers are leveraging content management to both new-business opportunities and policy processing. La Suisse Insurance, a provider of commercial and personal insurance products, had experienced a difficult time over the years quickly identifying the policies in its system that were coming up for renewal-without manually sifting through policy records to do it, that is.

"When it comes to policy renewals, we might have 10,000 renewal contracts in our system; the content management technology can provide a snapshot that informs us, 'these 1,000 policies must be processed for renewal this week.' It provides snapshots and it's impossible to misunderstand the results," says Gabriel Fuchs, a senior manager for Switzerland-based La Suisse Insurance.

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