Kansas City, Mo. - Security, developing Web portals, and going paperless are among the top focus areas for IT staff at surplus lines insurance companies, according to a survey of NAPSLO members conducted in February by the association's communications & technology committee.

Kansas City, Mo.-based NAPSLO represents surplus lines insurance agents/brokers and surplus lines insurance companies, with more than 1,500 member offices in the U.S, Canada, Germany, and England.

The survey, a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in 2003, was sent to NAPSLO wholesale broker and company members.

Security was the top issue with 47% of respondents noting it, going paperless was second at 45% and developing a web portal was third at 43%.

The survey results point to a change occurring industry-wide: Movement by brokers and managing general agents (MGAs) to using third party agency management systems as opposed to in-house or custom programs. In 2003 approximately 20% reported using in-house programs, compared to 11% in 2007.

Most brokers and MGAs reported their IT budgets were 0% to 3% of net revenue, however half of company respondents reporting IT budgets were 3% to 5%.

Regarding how firms conduct transactions, nearly all receive policy information via e-mail and fax and more than half get information via postal mail.

To handle transactions on their technology systems, approximately a third of respondents reported on relying on ACORD standards, a quarter reported developing in-house standards and the remainder used both types of standards. Companies and MGAs reported a larger use of XML for data transactions than did brokers.    Source: NAPSLO

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