The personalized attributes of Web portals have generated appeal among a growing number of insurers. But while Web portals possess a great deal of upside, the return on investment (ROI) prospects that portals-as well as extranets - can deliver to an insurance organization are still difficult to quantify.Despite this uncertainty, the perceived benefits continue to propel portal adoption. A study conducted by Stamford, Conn.-based research and consulting firm Gartner Inc. found that 75% of property/casualty insurers and 83% of life/health insurers have developed distributor portals or extranets.

Most U.S.-based insurers have invested in distributor portals or plan to invest in building this competency by year-end 2004. Gartner also learned that most insurance companies have reported positive outcomes from their distributor portal investments: Approximately 47% of P&C and 54% of L&H insurers state that more than three-quarters of their distributors access their sites.

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