RESEARCH RATES AUTO INSURANCE WEB SITESNew research released by Change Sciences Group Inc., a White Plaines, N.Y.-based online financial services benchmarking firm, shows that a handful of auto insurance Web sites are working hard to demystify rates, discounts and claims in an effort to win consumer trust and new business. The research, covering 24 sites, identifies a number of trends relevant to carriers and consumers alike, from allowing consumers to compare their rates with other carriers to presenting some information about the things that affect a person's rate. Sites still have a long way to go when it comes to online execution: Only 40% of sites allow a consumer to follow through on a quote and buy the policy online, and 65% of the sites that do allow consumers to buy online don't make the process as easy as it could be. The top 10 sites, according to Change Sciences are:

  1. Progressive
  2. 21st Century
  3. State Farm
  4. Esurance
  5. Unitrin Inc.
  6. Safeco
  7. Geico
  8. Farmers
  9. Amica Mutual
  10. Liberty Mutual

CHUBB ROLLS OUT E-SIGNATURES FOR 10 PRODUCTS

Applications for professional and management liability insurance products from the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos., Warren, N.J., can now be submitted entirely online with an electronic signature. Previously, Chubb's e-applications required a "wet" signature before a policy could be bound. No password or user ID is required to access the electronic applications, which can be completed and saved on the agent's, broker's or customer's desktop and e-mailed to Chubb for a quote.

ONLINE QUOTES, PURCHASES RISE

Solon, ohio-based comparison-Market Inc. has added more than 100 licensed insurance agents and extended its sales center hours as a result of seeing a more-than-20% increase of consumer car insurance quote requests on its Web site at www.insurance.com for the fourth straight year of growth. Currently, more than a dozen insurance carriers offer car insurance quotes through the Web site, which enables consumers to view multiple quotes and perform side-by-side comparisons. In addition, customers have the option to purchase their policies online or through a licensed agent via phone.

KAISER PROVIDES ONLINE HEALTH APPLICATION

Consumers can now apply online for health insurance through Atlanta-based Kaiser Permanente of Georgia's Personal Advantage online consumer portal, which is powered by the Southborough, Mass.-based ikaSystems Corp.'s enterprisewide technology platform-the ikaEnterprise System. Since implementing the portal just over a month ago, Kaiser reported 1,116 Personal Advantage applications. Kaiser Permanente's Personal Advantage online portal is designed to connect brokers and consumers through an automated application process that includes Web-based health insurance quote generation, online application submission and back-end support for medical underwriting.

WEB-BASED PROGRAM TO SIMPLIFY QUOTING AND BINDING

National Union Fire Insurance Co., a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based member company of American International Group Inc. (AIG), New York, will release AIG ePro, a Web-based system engineered for brokers to simplify the selection of coverages, generate quotations and electronically issue policies for private companies with up to $100 million in revenue or up to 1,000 employees. Initially, AIG ePro offers private companies the ability to choose from the six coverages in the PrivateRisk Protector portfolio, including: directors, officers and private company liability insurance; employment practices liability insurance; pension trust liability insurance; fidelity and crime coverage; employed lawyers professional liability insurance; and Internet media liability insurance.

SURVEY SHOWS IT ENVIRONMENTS NOT QUITE SECURE

A survey by Forsythe Solutions Group Inc., Skokie, Ill., reveals that many organizations are struggling to ensure secure IT environments. The survey of more than 100 senior IT and data security professionals at Fortune 1,000 and other major companies across the United States found that 28% had little or no confidence that they had detected all significant security breaches in the past year. In addition, 26% rated their current IT environment as more vulnerable than it had been a year before.

Respondents cited regulatory pressure as the major catalyst for updating their technology processes and staff, and 43% cited policy, process and procedure as the security program areas that will consume the most time and/or effort in the coming year.

P&C'S TOP NON-COMPLIANCE REASONS

Minneapolis-based CCH Inc. has identified the top 10 reasons property/casualty insurers are out of compliance during a market conduct exam.

  • Failure to pay or deny claims within specified time frames.
  • Using unapproved or unfiled forms.
  • Using unapproved or unfiled rates.
  • Failure to notify of producer appointments or terminations.
  • Failure to maintain complaints.
  • Failure to communicate a delay in the settlement of claims in writing.
  • Failure to produce requested records for an examination.
  • Failure to properly terminate a policy.
  • Improper documentation of claims policies.
  • Improper documentation of underwriting policies.

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