QUALITY ISSUES WITH INSURERS' EXPOSURE DATAA recent analysis of insurers' exposure data by AIR Worldwide Corp., Boston, determined that the quality and completeness of most insurers' commercial policy data is insufficient for a detailed and accurate assessment of their catastrophe risk.

"Nine out of 10 commercial properties analyzed had replacement values significantly less than the amount estimated by our construction specialists," says Karen Clark, president and CEO of AIR. "The variability in the quality of data among companies was also significant with insurers' average replacement values ranging from 20% to 80% of values derived using a standard engineering-based cost estimation process."

AIR's analysis examined four data elements critical for accurate catastrophe loss estimates: replacement value, construction, occupancy, and location. The analysis reviewed exposure data from companies representing more than 50% of the total U.S. property market. The full AIR report is available at the company's Web site at www.air-worldwide.com

HIGHMARK OPENS NEW DATA CENTER

It has enough disk storage space to hold the data equivalent of five Libraries of Congress. It can function for three days without outside supplies from any utility service. And it is capable of withstanding wind gusts equal to a Category III hurricane. It's the new Highmark data center, which officially opened in November in Camp Hill, Pa.

"Security, cost-effectiveness and leading-edge technology are three of the most important qualities of our new data center," says Kenneth R. Melani, M.D., president and CEO of Highmark Inc., a Philadelphia-based health insurance company. "It provides us with the technology infrastructure required by our core health insurance business as well as our subsidiaries to operate in a global marketplace."

The facility currently provides electronic connectivity with more than 100 hospitals and 15,000 health care professionals for membership and claims transactions. Highmark processes more than 500,000 claims daily and responds to 33,000 customer inquiries each day.

Besides a computing infrastructure that includes mainframe computers, there are also hundreds of UNIX and Windows servers and more than 200 high-speed tape drives. This computing power provides support to thousands of Highmark employees, and it also provides Internet access to Highmark's data and systems for members, employers, medical providers and other business partners.

When it comes to protecting the health information of Highmark members and security, the grounds surrounding the physical plant at the data center are protected by perimeter fencing and day and night electronic surveillance.

Access to internal data-processing resources is protected by a card-swipe system that must be satisfied multiple times before even the building's lobby can be accessed. Biometric security readers that verify fingerprints are also part of the security measures.

The new facility cost $27.9 million to build and will house about 50 Highmark employees. The structure is 87,000 square feet and sits on 11 acres.

SURVEY REVEALS EXTENSIVE SERVER DISASTERS

A recent survey provides clear evidence that a large number of organizations are experiencing Exchange Server failures. The survey, which was directed at organizations that rely heavily on e-mail as a driving force in communications, was conducted by Lucid8 LLC, a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of automated disaster prevention and recovery software for Microsoft Exchange Server.

More than 360 IT managers, messaging and Exchange specialists participated in the study, providing a highly representative base of respondents. The results revealed the following facts about the current state of e-mail maintenance and archiving at major US companies:

* Nearly three quarters of the respondents had suffered from an Exchange disaster; 70% of these firms stated that their Exchange Server was down for at least eight hours, and 45% said it was down for more than 24 hours per incident.

* Almost half of the respondents stated the cost of lost opportunity was more than $5,000 per incident, and 23% reported that they had experienced permanent data loss from server disasters.

* Only 25% of organizations reported using an e-mail archiving solution. However, half of the survey respondents stated that they are either in the process of researching an archiving solution or are planning to make a purchase in the next 6 to 12 months.

* 56% of the respondents regarded corporate e-mail compliance regulations as a major concern, and 42% felt it was critical to adhere to Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and SEC 17a4 regulations.

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