U.S. CONSUMERS WANT CONTROL OF E-HEALTH RECORDSAmericans show a strong interest in controlling their own electronic medical records, according to a national survey released at a health IT conference.

Adults favor providers (51% over 17%) and insurance carriers (68% over 16%) who use electronic medical records over those who do not, indicates a study by StrategyOne, a New York-based independent public opinion research company, on behalf of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente.

The study also confirms that while 12% of Americans review their medical records on health insurance company's Web sites, more than half say they would like to check claims and coverage (56%) or have electronic access to personal records (51%) in the future.

INSURERS FOCUS ON ONLINE TOOLS FOR CUSTOMERS

Two insurers-Travelers and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield-announced online tools for their customers. Hartford, Conn.-based Travelers announced new technology launches: Umbrella Wired and OSHA Recordkeeping, as a new component of e-CARMA.

Umbrella Wired online software program is designed to simplify the rate, quote and bind process for agents who offer small commercial umbrella liability policies. OSHA Recordkeeping, enables employers to track, document and report OSHA-recordable injuries and illnesses.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana announced an online tool designed to provide Central Indiana Anthem consumers with facility-specific medical care cost estimates so they will have a better idea of the costs they will incur before medical services have been provided.

NEW ONLINE TOOL TELLS STORIES

When agents and brokers suggested that stories about losses would be an effective way to illustrate the need for specific insurance products, the Warren, N.J.-based Chubb Group of Insurance Cos. listened.

Chubb developed "My Loss Scenarios," an online sales tool that helps agents and brokers create customized, personalized professional and management liability loss scenario documents they can use to educate prospects and clients.

The tool includes an online library with more than 150 professional and management liability loss scenarios for private companies, not-for-profit organizations, health care organizations, financial institutions and professional service firms. Chubb says it plans to add scenarios to the library on a regular basis, including some on public companies and other types of businesses.

Using a five-step process, an agent or broker can gather loss scenarios-customized to the client's business and exposure-into a document and then personalize the document.

RISK MANAGERS ID TOP RISKS FOR EUROPEANS

European risk managers see breakdown of critical information infrastructure, crime and corruption, liability regimes, terrorism, and catastrophic floods as the most significant global risks, according to a survey by the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (Ferma), Brussels, Belgium.

The survey represents the views of 39 risk managers and other professionals from 12 national associations who responded to the questions about core global risks.

The second most important group of core risks, according to the survey, is energy price and supply shocks, catastrophic windstorm and earthquake, and pandemics. A third group of risks covers climate change, war, loss of freshwater services and nanotechnology.

ASSOC. NAMES IBM TOP OUTSOURCER

IBM took the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive year in a Global Outsourcing 100 annual ranking by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) of the world's top outsourcing service providers.

The IAOP added more India-based companies to the list of leaders and recognized a Chinese company in its Top 25 for the first time.

While the U.S. continued to dominate ownership of the outsourcing industry (as indicated by IBM's placement), three Indian-based companies made the Top 10 on the list of leaders, which have total combined revenues of nearly $55 billion. These companies are Wipro, Infosys and Tech Mahindra. And China-based Neusoft of Shenyang, ranked among the best 25 companies. France also had two players in the highest ranks.

The ranking revealed that these 100 firms have growing sales, productivity and employment, and they demonstrate the continued strength of the fastest-growing segment of the world economy.

Revenue among the best companies grew nearly 20% in 2006 to more than $170 billion. Companies on the list had on average $1 billion in annual sales. Employment by the firms was up 13% from the prior year to an average work force of 13,688. Based on applications received, productivity also rose to $83,000 per employee.

RISK MANAGEMENT GUIDE LAUNCHED

The Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI), a Fairfax, Va., nonprofit risk management training and educational organization, has launched the 2007 Risk Management Resource Guide, a new publication that includes a listing of risk management resources designed to advance the practice of risk management.

The guide features information and training sources covering subjects ranging from benchmarking and performance management, disaster management and hazard mitigation to workers' compensation and occupational therapy. The publication also includes information on credentialing agencies, educational institutions offering degrees in emergency management, homeland security, and risk management as well as sources pertaining to environmental liability, human resources and employment practices, risk financing and insurance, risk management, and safety and health.

SHANGHAI BANK IN JOINT VENTURE WITH METLIFE

To boost its insurance sales in China, MetLife's China branch will partner with Bank of Shanghai. United MetLife Insurance Company Co., a 50/50 joint venture between MetLife and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd., will sell its insurance products through counters of the country's biggest city commercial lender, it said in an e-mailed statement.

Bank of Shanghai operates more than 200 outlets in China, mostly in Shanghai. MetLife has already teamed up with Chinese banks, including Industrial and Commercial Bank and Pudong Development Bank, to help the New York-based insurer sell policies in China.

MetLife claims to be the largest life insurer in the United States after purchasing Travelers Life & Annuity from Citigroup for $11.8 billion in July 2005.

ISO AND NICB JOINING FORCES TO FIGHT FRAUD

To help mitigate the impact of fraud on the insurance industry and consumers, representatives from an industry fraud data working group, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), and ISO, Jersey City, N.J., will leverage ISO's all-claims database as the principal, central repository for claims and fraud data.

The initiatives will provide more actionable information for special investigations units and NICB investigators to identify fraudulent claims, the organizations report.

Under the program, ISO will work through 2007 with insurers and the NICB to implement the eight initiatives, which include enhancements such as revising reporting formats both to and from ISO, adding optional data fields to the ISO database, changing the process for submitting questionable claims through ISO ClaimSearch to the NICB, and creating the ability to extract and sort data.

SHAMIEH JOINS AIG

Charlie Shamieh, previously the chief risk officer of Munich Reinsurance Co., will become executive director of enterprise risk management at American International Group Inc. in New York.

Shamieh will be a deputy to Robert Lewis, AIG's senior vice president and chief risk officer.

Joachim Oechslin, currently Deputy CRO of the AXA S.A. group in Paris and previously CRO of the Winterthur Group, will fill Shamieh's position at Munich Re.

DATAFLOW INSURANCE SYSTEMS LAUNCHED

E.L.M. Insurance Brokers, Inc., El Segundo, Calif., announced the formation of DataFlow Insurance Systems, Inc. DataFlow will market insurer-branded Web sites utilizing DataFlow's capabilities, DataFlow database access subscriptions, and the California Surplus Lines Tax Tracking Software package. The desired goal of DataFlow Insurance Systems, Inc., says the company, is to provide data integrity and neutrality for all users and customers with prompt, error-free analysis and effective quoting.

AUDITORS GROUP RELEASES GUIDE ON OUTSOURCING

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), Altamonte Springs, Fla., will focus its seventh Global Technology Audit Guide (GTAG) on the topic of outsourcing, the organization reports. Written in straightforward business language, GTAG 7 will help C-level executives and boards of directors understand various risks when navigating the complex task of IT outsourcing.

GTAG 7 describes some of the most common outsourcing risks and their potential strategic impact on an organization throughout the outsourcing lifecycle. Key issues in this GTAG include: the outsourcing strategy and feasibility; selecting an IT service provider; drafting and managing contractual agreements; ensuring a smooth transition of internal operations to service providers; return on investment; effective frameworks for establishing outsourcing controls; and termination and renegotiation of services. The guidance also stresses the importance of evaluating the service provider's internal controls, and establishing a clear governance structure over the outsourcing activity to ensure accountability and effective project management. The 30-page document, which is available in a printed version or for free download on The IIA's Web site, also reviews recent and expected trends in IT outsourcing.

C-SUITE EXECUTIVES AND RISK MANAGERS DISAGREE ON RISKS

C-level executives and risk managers may not agree when it comes to the risks associated with international expansion, according to the 2007 Chubb International Risk Survey.

More C-level executives (43%) noted that international risks pose a greater threat than domestic risks, compared to only 16% of risk manager respondents.

There are also differences in the risks that C-level executives and risk managers are most concerned about when it comes to multinational exposures. The survey reports 24% of risk managers cited natural catastrophes as the top threat posed by a company's overseas business operations, and 24% of C-level executives found terrorism to be the top threat.

"Today's multinational companies face diverse exposures to risk, and this makes it critical to develop enterprisewide risk management programs," says Kathleen Ellis, senior vice president, Chubb & Son, and worldwide manager of the Multinational Risk Group for Chubb Commercial Insurance, Warren, N.J.

"Corporate executives and risk managers must look at all the risks to their business-domestic and international-and whether they are insurable or not, if they wish to more fully protect their business operations," Ellis says.

EXECS CONCERNED ABOUT MANAGING/GOVERNING DATA

Senior insurance executives are concerned about governing and managing the crushing volume of data their companies maintain these days, especially in light of stricter reporting requirements. That's the word from the Insurance and Actuarial Advisory Services (IAAS) practice of New York-based Ernst & Young LLP. The group came up with that and other findings during its third Actuarial Transformation Roundtable, a forum where insurance executives discuss issues, challenges and best practices.

A survey of participants revealed 88% of attendees agree that, "data management issues currently impact the ability to provide reliable, valid financial data." At the same time, more than half (56%) say they do not have a dedicated data governance team in place and 67% do not have a formal data management program.

Other highlights of the roundtable dialogue and survey included discussion of harnessing data improve quality. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of participants say the quality of their data needs at least some improvement and half (50%) acknowledge that their actuarial team spends between three and five "person days" per month correcting data quality issues.

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