DESPITE DEADLINE, MANY FIRMS LACK AML PROGRAM
U.S. insurance companies that issue or underwrite products presenting a heightened risk of money laundering, terrorist financing or other illicit activity as covered under the USA PATRIOT Act, were required to establish anti-money laundering programs and file Suspicious Activities Reports (SARs) by May 2.
But according to a poll conducted by Deloitte & Touche LLP shortly before the deadline, only one-third of insurers and financial services companies already had a comprehensive AML program in place.
Whether they had an insurance AML program or not, 62% of the respondents said their insurance AML program would reside under the compliance area of their organization, 18% said it would reside in the legal department, 4% in treasury and 4% with the chief financial officer.
One area of the law that raised questions was the treatment of agents and brokers. Insurance companies must provide AML and SARs training to their agents and brokers, and they must be able to prove that those agents and brokers comply with their programs.
Insurers and financial services firms that participated in the Deloitte survey have mixed views about which aspects of dealing with agents and brokers will be the most challenging to implement.
While providing the training was cited as least worrisome, 86% of survey respondents said either performing independent testing of agent activities, developing a process for agents and brokers to escalate suspicious activity, or getting them to follow documented policies
ONLINE TOOLS FOR HORIZON MEMBERS
Newark, N.J.-based Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and New York-based WebMD Health Corp. are providing Horizon's members a personalized, interactive health application that provides tools and information resources to better assess, track, and manage their health. Called My Health Manager, the new online service provides access to individualized health home pages that contain decision-support and health management tools to facilitate informed decision-making.
GEICO PARTNERS WITH VEHICLE SITE
A partnership between NADAguides.com, a vehicle information Web site and GEICO Chevy Chase, Md., makes GEICO the exclusive provider of automotive insurance reaching the millions of NADAguides.com consumers looking to insure their new or used car, truck, van or SUV online at www.nadaguides.com. In turn, visitors to www.geico.com are now able to quickly access all types of NADAguides.com vehicle pricing and specification information.
ENHANCED DISABILITY REPORTING
The Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa, enhanced its employer reporting for long-term and short-term disability. A new report design will give employers daily access to vital information including claim status and trend data. Internet-based reporting is designed to save time and costs for employers by showing more detailed information about disability claims. Reporting data is available at both an individual claim level and as summary information including current and pending claims by employee status, total amount of benefits paid for active claims, Social Security disability approval, and analysis of active claims by location.
THE HARTFORD WINS EIGHT ACORD AWARDS
Hartford, Conn.-based The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. received eight awards from the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD): the Greatest Dollar Volume of Premium Award; the Greatest Growth in Number of Trading Partners Award; the Greatest Growth in Number of Implementations Award; the Greatest Number of Direct Trading Partners Award; the Business Integration Enabler Award-Internal; the Business Integration Enabler Award-External; the Web Services/SOA Award, and the AL3/XML Data Transformation Award.
HARLEYSVILLE APPOINTS TECH LEADERSHIP
Harleysville Insurance, the Harleysville, Pa.-based P&C insurer has made three appointments to broaden and strengthen its commercial lines processing, customer support, systems architecture and agency/field automation functions: William Page has been named vice president of operations and services; Stephen Byrne has been named assistant vice president and chief architect; and John Philip has been named assistant vice president of agency and field automation. In his position, Page oversees Harleysville's customer service unit, as well as the company's commercial lines processing centers in Harleysville, Pa., and Worcester, Mass. Byrne is responsible for design and implementation of packaged information systems and the integration of software architectures that support Harleysville's core business functions. Philip oversees all automation initiatives that support Harleysville's agents and field organization.
FINEOS JOINS IBM INITIATIVE
FINEOS Corp. Inc., headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., joins White Plains, N.Y.-based IBM Corp.'s North America ISV Advantage initiative, a program designed to provide independent software vendors with technical and marketing support to meet the specific information technology needs of small and medium North American businesses. FINEOS solutions support IBM's Insurance Application Architecture, are certified and scalability-tested on IBM hardware and software and can be delivered using IBM services. This integrated approach is designed to provide a high degree of compatibility with existing technology investments, which is predicted to minimize project risk and speed implementation.
BOOK ON SOA FROM SAP
Enterprise Services for Financial Services: Taking SOA to the Next Level," a new book from Germany-based SAP AG, reveals the growing importance that service-oriented architecture (SOA) and enterprise services will play in banking and insurance organizations. The book, which SAP hopes will help C-level technology execs understand and leverage SOA and enterprise services, outlines a road map for financial services companies that face shifts in customer behavior, consolidation and increasing regulatory requirements. The book also offers examples of how to use SOA standards to help the business, and insight on internal and external market challenges from banking and insurance executives and industry analysts.
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