NATIONWIDE FINANCIAL ADVANCES TIME TO MARKET

Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Financial Services, working with Insurance Technologies LLC, a Colorado Springs, Colo., point-of-sale software provider, now offers on a single platform historical hypotheticals, as well as forward projections to help financial and insurance producers accelerate the annuity sales cycle. The speed-to-market initiative eliminates the need for financial and insurance producers to work with disparate, disconnected systems and data entry duplication. Nationwide Financial is looking at long-term utilization of ForeSight, Insurance Technologies’ point-of-sale software, reports the company.

“ForeSight is connectable technology,” says Susan Gueli, SVP and CIO of Nationwide Financial, which provides a variety of financial services that help consumers invest and protect their long-term assets, and offers retirement plans and services through both public-and private-sector employers. “This positions us in the future to integrate the platform seamlessly with our sales desk, back office systems, and databases, vastly decreasing the amount of time it takes to get our updated rates and products to market.”

CONSECO DEPLOYS CONTACT CENTER SOLUTION

With the deployment of the NICE SmartCenter, Conseco Services LLC is leveraging the synergies of its adaptive interaction analytics, workforce management and performance management solutions to improve customer service and drive performance at the agent, operational and enterprise levels.

Designed by Israel-based NICE Systems Ltd., the NICE SmartCenter will be deployed in U.S. and offshore locations, across four contact centers.

NICE SmartCenter’s performance management solution provides KPI-based (key performance indicators) management tools for setting business performance goals and objectives for employees. Achievement of these goals can be monitored on an on-going basis using dashboards, scorecards and workflows. Moreover, the performance management solution is designed to enable Conseco’s management to create a set of integrated reports derived from various operational systems for a unified view of their business operations.

The Carmel, Ind., company hopes to apply the capabilities of the NICE SmartCenter solutions to improve agent behaviors for increased customer satisfaction, address the key business issues that impact contact center management effectiveness and efficiency, and better align the contact center with the strategic goals of the enterprise.

NICE’ s Adaptive Interaction Analytics is designed to enable Conseco to gain insights from calls relating to their health insurance, life insurance, or annuities products and services, which will help drive even further performance and service levels.

Adaptive Interaction Analytics from NICE is designed to provide Conseco accuracy and efficiency in a scalable solution that analyzes 100% of the interactions in a cost-effective manner. This capability will enable Conseco to leverage customer interactions to proactively identify trends, anticipate opportunities, adjust processes to meet business objectives and take action at the right time.

SMIC PROVIDES AGENTS WITH PROCESSING CAPABILITIES

A series of processing capabilities collectively known as AgentXpress is unlocking policy management data stored in Security Mutual Insurance Co.’s (SMIC) legacy system and making it available to agents over the Internet. The system went live after a two month pilot conducted in partnership with the program’s producer, IDP Inc., a Wyncote, Pa., provider of property/casualty management systems. Agents can now access claims and billing information, view policies online and generate loss run and expiration reports, as well as commission statements, via the new Web-enabling program.

According to SMIC’s Tom Ruane, president of the Ithaca, N.Y.-based property/casualty insurer, AgentXpress is delivering time-saving benefits to carriers and agents alike.

“Our (350) agents no longer have to call an 800 number on behalf of insureds to obtain answers on matters such as payment amounts, due dates, renewal dates and basic claims and policy information. Instead, they can access that all online and give it to their client instantly,” reports Ruane.

AgentXpress is designed to save time through reduced call volume, and the use of human resources necessary to research and respond to questions. For example, an agency on Long Island had been calling SMIC three or four times a day, but no calls with routine inquiries, Ruane says.

“Companies of SMIC’s size often have data on a technical platform or in a computer that is not accessible by the Internet,” IDP President and CEO Gary Gilbert says. “Our solution is to export data on a daily basis from these legacy systems and update a Web-accessible database that we recently developed for AgentXpress.”

CGI SIGNS MIDWEST FAMILY MUTUAL AS BETA CUSTOMER

Midwest Family Mutual Insurance Co., a Plymouth, Minn., multiple line property/casualty insurer, has agreed to become a beta site for the next generation of the INSideOUT software suite from CGI Group Inc., Montreal, the companies report.

The new product incorporates all of the functionality of INSideOUT policy and claims platform solution, but is a complete redevelopment of the software, says CGI. The new software is Web-based, utilizes a Microsoft .Net framework, and incorporates Web 2.0 technology. CGI’s insurance vision and commitment to investing in its insurance solutions resulted in the development of new release of the software. Midwest Family will be the initial client to test the scope and functionality of the new product.

“The .NET release of INSideOUT gives Midwest Family a competitive advantage with our agents in terms of agent/company interfacing,” says Ron Boyd, President and CEO, Midwest Family Mutual Insurance Co. “It gives our agents the benefit of electronically submitting policies for all personal and commercial lines of business. In addition, agents will have the advantage of uploading and downloading all new business transactions, endorsements, quotes, and issuance for all lines of business. Real time feedback for new business and endorsement quoting will result in a more service-oriented approach for Midwest Family agents.”

Midwest Family, established in 1891, writes person and commercial lines in seven Midwestern states, including: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

AAA CAROLINAS TO OFFER IDENTITY THEFT BENEFITS

In response to the more than 8,000 reports of identity theft in the Carolinas during 2006, AAA Carolinas Motor Club, an AAA affiliate that provides comprehensive travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services to more than 1.6 million members, will partner with an identity theft-prevention company that offers a $1 million identity theft service guarantee. The company will partner with LifeLock, a Tempe, Ariz., provider of security services.

LifeLock helps consumers render their personal information useless to thieves, costs less than $8 a month, and uses “locks” to set and automatically renew fraud alerts with major credit bureaus, removing members’ names from pre-approved credit card offers and junk mail lists.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that in 2006, residents of North Carolina registered more than 5,700 reports of identity theft and of the top 50 cities most affected by identity theft, five are located in North Carolina (Thomasville-Lexington, Dunn, Durham, Salisbury and Goldsboro). The FTC report also shows more than 2,400 reports of identity theft in South Carolina in 2006. For the seventh straight year, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States, costing Americans $1.1 billion annually.

“This growing threat of identity theft in the Carolinas is a scary consequence of today’s technology, and we felt it was our responsibility to find the strongest safeguard available so members and future members can work, travel and live with peace of mind they won’t become a victim,” says Dusty Holcomb, AAA Carolinas VP of Motor Club Operations.

THE HARFORD MUTUAL SELECTS BILLING SOLUTION

In an effort to streamline its billing and collection of premiums, The Harford Mutual Insurance Co., Harford County, Md., selected the iWORKS Premium Billing product, an enterprisewide billing system for P&C lines, from SunGard, Wayne, Pa.

The Harford Mutual Insurance Co. will use the system to bill all of its companies, and all of their affiliates, while using any combination of billing methodologies, all within one installation of the system. The system is designed to provide comprehensive commissions, code and rules-based payment plans and fee structures, as well as XML system-to-system integration.

AUSTRALIAN SUNCORP DEPLOYS CLAIMCENTER

Suncorp, the second largest general insurance company in Australia, and Guidewire Software Inc., a San Mateo, Calif., provider of solutions to general insurers, report that Suncorp successfully deployed Guidewire ClaimCenter as its new system for home insurance claims.

Following a number of mergers and acquisitions, Suncorp had multiple claims systems. The company, which services more than eight million customers, is consolidating its systems with Guidewire ClaimCenter, a single Web-based system. ClaimCenter is the technology foundation for Suncorp’s claims business transformation, and is designed to enable enhanced service for policyholders, agents and service network partners; lowered claims expenses; improved claims handling processes; and more effective communication with Suncorp’s network of repair specialists.

MIDWEST INSURANCE SELECTS WORKERS’ COMP SOLUTION

Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv Inc. reports that Midwest Insurance Co., Springfield, Ill., licensed the Fiserv Insurance Web-based PowerSuite Claims system solution for workers’ compensation. The agreement marks a new stage in Midwest Insurance’s systems update to Web-based technology.

A year ago the insurer moved into production with the Fiserv policy solution for workers’ compensation.

PowerSuite is a component-based solution that initiates the processing of workers’ compensation policies and claims with flexible data capture for quick reporting and intelligence. PowerSuite Claims assists with proactive management and provides case management capabilities to track costs, parties and forums to resolve complex claims to the best outcome for all involved.

PowerSuite Policy provides lifecycle, end-to-end policy administration and maintenance. It’s designed to support efficient company-wide changes and rapidly tailored individual jurisdictional needs and rating programs.

Norwich INVESTS IN Document Automation Norwich Union Life, a provider of life and pension products in the U.K., has chosen the Dialogue enterprise document automation software from Exstream Software LLC, Lexington, Ky.

Norwich Union chose Dialogue to streamline document production and improve the quality and effectiveness of its customer communications, while meeting critical business requirements for speed, cost effectiveness and flexibility, said the company.

Norwich Union will use the software to reduce the adverse impact of legacy technologies to give customers high-quality, and increasingly personalized communications of all types for delivery through high-volume, on-demand and interactive channels.

Editor’s note: At press time, Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, Calif., announced its intent to acquire Exstream.

SPARTA AND ISO SIGN LICENSING AGREEMENT

Insurance Services Office Inc. (ISO) has signed a licensing agreement to provide Workers’ Compensation Information Services (WCIS) to Specialty Program and Risk Transfer Alternatives Insurance Co. (SPARTA), a provider of customized unbundled program solutions. 

Under the agreement, ISO will collect and record all workers’ compensation premium and loss information from Hartford, Conn.-based SPARTA. Jersey City, N.J.-based ISO will develop and compile corresponding unit statistical, policy, and aggregate financial reports from the premium and loss information and submit that information to regulatory agencies on SPARTA’s behalf.

“SPARTA selected the ISO service based on ISO’s expertise, strong relationships with data collection organizations, Web-based monitoring, and commitment to customer satisfaction,” says Enrico Ferrante, senior VP of business operations at SPARTA. “As a start-up organization, we are always looking for ways to promote efficiency and productivity through the use of technology so we can focus on acquisition and servicing of new business.”

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