SITE SELLS POLICIES ON GROWNUP TOYSMarkel American Insurance Co., Waukesha, Wis., launched a Web site that provides a single access point to customers seeking to insure motorcycles, boats, personal watercraft and ATV.

Visitors to the site, besides reading recreation news, can get rate quotes, buy policies, learn about safety, peruse an e-newsletter and take advantage of links to related sites.

Markel American Insurance Co. is a subsidiary of the Markel Corp., Richmond, Va., which markets and underwrites specialty insurance products and programs to niche markets.

SITE'S NEW SYSTEM CUTS QUOTE TIMES

InsuranceNoodle Inc., a Chicago-based insurance e-broker, is offering independent agents a new automated online term life quoting system aimed at reducing the time they spend online to write and service small commercial business.

The system, called the Life Solutions platform, comes from BISYS, a New York-based independent wholesale distributor of life insurance. The platform is available to more than 2,500 agents who use InsuranceNoodle's online technology, InsuranceNoodle says.

Using the system, agents submit the basic information about their clients and obtain multiple, competitive quotes from leading term life insurers for face amounts under $5 million, says Kathryn Emmerson, InsuranceNoodle CEO.

NEW WEB SITE SPEEDS PROCESSES FOR AGENTS

El Segundo, Calif.-based Executive Liability Managers Insurance Brokers (E.L.M.) unveiled its new Web site, which provides sales tools, resources and relevant news for agents/brokers.

The most popular section of the site, according to E.L.M, is the applications section.

Brokers are invited to register and use the system at no cost. Due to licensing issues, however, only agents and brokers from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming may register.

REDESIGNED SITE PROVIDES FEATURES FOR TWO AUDIENCES

John Hancock Annuities, Boston, redesigned its Web site, adding tips on retirement and investing. The site also offers interactive tools and services for financial advisers.

Features on the home page include "What's Your Number" calculator to help visitors determine if they can afford fixed expenses in retirement. A tour of Lifestyle Portfolios reviews the "emotional roller coaster" of investing.

In the Learning Center, Hancock offers articles and interactive modules on retirement, investment and annuity concepts.

Forms Wizard, another section of the site, is designed to help financial advisers gain access to forms. Through a series of questions, the site directs advisers to form for a particular business case.

INDUSTRY STRIVES FOR COMPLIANCE

The financial services industry continues to struggle with compliance regulations, including Basel II, MiFID and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, according to a survey by Austria-based Advanced Information Management Software GmbH.

Results show that 37% of companies plan to invest in the automation of reference data within the next two years. The focus in reference data management lies on automation of static data and processing corporate actions. And, 26% plan to increase automation for corporate actions.

2006 BPO TRENDS ARE ACCELERATING

Outsourcing trends that predominated in 2006-expansion of business process outsourcing, the maturing of the offshore market and more multi-sourcing at the expense of single, one-off "mega-deals"-will grow even more this year, according to a survey of lawyers in Morrison Foerster's Global Sourcing Group.

A few predictions for the outsourcing market in 2007 include:

a continued trend toward smaller, shorter deals as businesses focus on individual processes, increased reliance on global service delivery models,

more importance for data privacy and security issues; and increased offshoring to China.

AN ALL-STAR TEAM GETS SET TO CREATE TECH CERTIFICATION

An association is putting together a team of seven organizations in the printing and document imaging industry to develop a vendor-neutral certification of technical skills.

The players assembled by The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., are Canon U.S.A. Inc., Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, Lexmark International, Pitney Bowes, Sharp Electronics Corp., Specialized Solutions and Xerox Corp.

"These organizations represent the leading edge of the printing and document imaging industry," says John Venator, president and chief executive officer, CompTIA. "Their participation in the certification development process assures that this new credential will cover a solid foundation of technical skills for IT professionals working with these technologies."

Candidates for printing and document imaging certification are entry- and mid-level technicians with six to 12 months of experience in installation, connectivity, maintenance and repair and support of printing and document imaging devices. That includes service and support technicians and help desk staff.

CompTIA certification programs are the recognized industry standards for a broad range of IT skills.

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