DTCC AND FINETRE INK DEAL TO STREAMLINE LIFE, ANNUITY SALESThe Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), New York, and Finetre Corp., Herndon, Va., have signed an agreement to integrate Finetre's AnnuityNet and LifeNet technologies as a front-end platform for DTCC's InsurExpress. InsurExpress is a new DTCC service that offers distributors and insurance carriers an automated, end-to-end process for streamlining the sale, servicing, and processing of life insurance and annuity products. By automating a variety of tasks associated with life insurance and annuity applications, including forms completion, securing of signatures, medical information, and issuance of policies, InsurExpress reduces the time it takes to process these products, especially life insurance, which typically can take 90 days or longer. DTCC is currently piloting InsurExpress among carriers and distributors, including Genworth Financial and Piper Jaffray, and intends to expand the program to encompass multiple financial advisers in various geographical locations, along with an expanded group of services and list of insurance carriers.

Finetre's AnnuityNet platform enables brokerage firms to automate processing of annuities by providing compliance workflow management and oversight, suitability, and reporting. The platform is also designed to increase back-office efficiency by correctly filling out all forms, curtailing errors, and virtually eliminating "not in good order" applications. The technology on which AnnuityNet is based also serves as the backbone of Finetre's newer LifeNet platform, which provides similar automated processing services but for life insurance products.

Finetre was a logical first choice for what DTCC envisions will be a group of strategic partners that will provide front-end connectivity to InsurExpress, according to John Ziambras, vice president and manager, insurance services, DTCC.


Pitney Bowes Inc. has launched a new strategic business plan to tap a $250 billion market called the "mailstream." The mailstream is the sum of all mail and documents, both physical and electronic, that flow into and out of a business, as well as the people and systems that enable this constant stream of information, according to the Stamford, Conn.-based provider of document and mailing technologies.

"Not long ago, innovative companies discovered the benefits of supply chain and customer relationship management to reduce costs and drive growth," says Pitney Bowes' Chairman and CEO Michael J. Critelli. "Today, while major corporations, from eBay to Aetna, are discovering the true value of the mailstream, many companies have yet to tap its true potential."

Pitney Bowes is uniquely positioned to help companies optimize their mailstream to communicate with customers, improve operations and build profits, according to Critelli.

A key component of the Pitney Bowes strategy is strengthening communications effectiveness between business and customers, because despite three straight years of growth in direct-mail spending, recent indicators suggest that customer responses are down.

What's more, a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Pitney Bowes highlights areas where businesses can improve customer communications:

* Nearly half of U.S. adults surveyed (49%) said they would be less likely to become or remain a solicitor's customer due to poorly targeted communications, such as address mistakes or inappropriate offers.

* Nine in ten U.S. adults surveyed (92%) reported having received multiple copies of the same piece of mail.

* Nine in ten U.S. adults surveyed (91%) have received offers or solicitations for a service or product they already subscribe to.

* About three-quarters of U.S. adults surveyed (74%) have received inappropriate offers or solicitations from businesses in the mail, such as credit card offers for children.

The survey results also suggest a number of ways that businesses can use the mailstream to ensure business solicitations are more effective:

* 73% of respondents are much more or somewhat more likely to respond to solicitations that are timely.

* 76% of respondents are much more or somewhat more likely to respond to solicitations that pertain to their interests.

"Spam filters, DVRs (digital video recorders) and do-not-call lists are making it more challenging for companies to effectively communicate with customers," notes Murray Martin, COO and president of Pitney Bowes.

"By leveraging Pitney Bowes' expertise, our clients can optimize their mailstream to reach a highly targeted, receptive customer base with the right message," he claims.

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