UNIVERSAL SIGNS SEVEN-YEAR BPO AGREEMENTUniversal Insurance of North America, Sarasota, Fla., has signed a seven-year agreement with CGI Group Inc. valued at between $45 and $75 million for policy and accounting business process services (BPS). Montreal-based CGI will process Universal's personal lines (book of business) including homeowners, dwelling-fire, auto, and umbrella in Texas and Florida. CGI will continue to support Universal's business processing needs as they expand their services into new markets. As part of this agreement, CGI will open a processing facility in Tampa to support Universal Insurance and other Florida-based insurance customers. CGI will initially hire 50 professionals and expects staff to grow to more than 200 professionals over the next two years.

KYOBO LIFE CONTRACTS WITH IBM FOR IT CONSULTING

KYOBO Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Seoul, South Korea, contracted with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM to operate and manage its IT infrastructure. Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, which has a total contract value of approximately $340 million, IBM will provide IT strategy consulting services to help develop and advance KYOBO's IT vision and strategy. IBM will also manage KYOBO's servers, storage systems, network and desktop computers and operate its data and disaster recovery centers. Additionally, IBM will provide IT skills development and IT management training services, called "IT University," for KYOBO's employees. KYOBO will be charged fees based on actual computer usage, under IBM's on-demand pricing model, providing the company with a flexible and cost-efficient IT system.

HASTINGS MUTUAL PLANS TO IMPROVE APP PERFORMANCE

With the goal of improving the quality, availability and performance of its Web-based Policy Express policy issuance system, Hastings Mutual Insurance, a Hastings, Mich., regional insurance company serving the Midwest, deployed AppSight Application Problem Resolution System from New York-based Identify Software. Policy Express is a business application accessed by nearly 850 Hastings agents each day to quote and write customers' policies. AppSight monitors actual application execution (in production, as well as in development and QA) and automatically detect faults and performance issues in .NET, Windows, and J2EE applications. When a problem is detected, AppSight captures a synchronized, real-time log of user actions, system events, performance metrics, configuration data, and code execution flow-much like the "black box" flight recorder on an aircraft capturing a real-time record of a flight.

SOUTHERN TRUST LICENSES CONTENT MANAGEMENT SUITE

Southern Trust Insurance Co., a Macon, Ga.-based regional provider of personal and commercial lines P&C insurance, licensed AcroSoft Corp.'s Insurance Content Management (ICM) solution. What began as a project to provide a back-up of the carrier's files and documents as part of its overall catastrophe plan led to the selection of a full document management system, according to Steven H. Shiflett, vice president, secretary and treasurer of Southern Trust Insurance. AcroSoft Corp., Columbia, S.C., develops electronic imaging, filing and storage, object, document and automated workflow and work management solutions.

NORWAY INSURER DEPLOYS SOA SYSTEM

Vital Forsikring ASA, a Norway-based insurance company that serves the life and pension insurance needs of more than 6,800 corporate clients and 700,000 individual customers, selected policy-based run-time governance software from AmberPoint, an Oakland, Calif.-based provider of SOA visibility, management and security solutions, for its new core pension system. The companies report the project is one of the world's first production SOA deployments based on Microsoft .NET 2.0, and includes 64-bit Windows, BizTalk Server and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM). Using AmberPoint, the carrier plans to extend its SOA monitoring and management capabilities to MOM. The carrier is also reviewing AmberPoint's SOA Validation System, which recreates the interactions of the production SOA environment by capturing requests and responses from actual usage and replaying this traffic in a staging environment.

PRESERVER GROUP STANDARDIZES ON BPM

Newark, N.J.-based Preserver Group is standardizing its process automation and data integration strategy using business process management technology from Adeptia Inc., Chicago. Preserver Group will use Adeptia's technology to improve its connectivity with agents, eliminating manual tasks and re-keying of data, integrating various internal applications, and automating workflows. Preserver chose Adeptia because the technology is easy to use and combines process automation with data integration in a single package, according to Charlie Pelosi, CIO of Preserver Group.

KANSAS BLUES SELECTS ELECTRONIC BILLING VENDOR

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (BCBSKC) has selected Benefitfocus.com Inc., Mount Pleasant, S.C., to provide electronic billing to its 880,000 members. The Kansas City, Mo.-based carrier anticipates reducing costs by replacing paper-based processes with Benefitfocus eBilling, an interactive electronic billing platform. BCBSKC first partnered with Benefitfocus in 2004 for electronic enrollment. Since then, the health insurer has achieved 96% adoption of the electronic enrollment technology. Serving greater Kansas City and Northwest Missouri, BKBSKC will offer online billing to its entire market, including individual, small and large groups.

FRATERNAL SOCIETY CHOOSES SALES ILLUSTRATION TOOL

First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association, a fraternal benefit society in Cleveland, has selected SunGard's iWORKS Navigator, a suite of solutions for life insurance and annuity sales and support. Navigator Illustrations is an integrated Web-based or desktop system designed to enhance the sales process with life insurance and annuity illustrations and quotes. First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association will be using the Web-based version of the system. iWORKS from SunGard, Wayne, Pa., is a family of products for the insurance industry.

ZURICH CHOOSES ECM PLATFORM AS GLOBAL STANDARD

Zurich, Switzerland-based Zurich Financial Services has selected the P8 enterprise content management (ECM) platform from FileNet Corp., Costa Mesa, Calif., as a global standard. FileNet's platform will enable the financial services firm to deploy image and workflow projects quickly and securely, according to Denis Fortin, head of Zurich's global IT infrastructure & architecture. Zurich's existing ECM systems can be integrated on the shared platform, and FileNet Email Manager will automatically index and centrally archive e-mail according to set criteria.

NEW CLIENTS SIGN ON FOR FIRST NOTICE OF LOSS

New clients of Boston-based First Notice Systems Inc. include FCCI Insurance Group, Sarasota, Fla., and PEMCO Mutual Insurance Co., Seattle, which selected First Notice for business process outsourcing (BPO) and business continuity services with specific areas of focus that include first notice of loss and policy administration call handling. Other recent additions include several homeowners-focused carriers, as well as multiple third-party administrators and a state workers' compensation insurance fund. First Notice, a wholly owned subsidiary of Concentra Inc., provides claim reporting and customer service solutions to the insurance industry.

COPIC INSURANCE SIGNS FOR DOC MANAGEMENT, IMAGING

COPIC Insurance Co., a Denver-based provider of medical professional liability insurance, signed with Advanced Solutions Inc., Conyers, Ga., making the carrier the 300th insurance customer to have purchased the ImageRight system. After sending and receiving RFPs to and from a large selection of vendors, COPIC narrowed the competition to three vendors. A major factor in the decision was based on accolades for ImageRight's Tech Support. COPIC will initially implement three workflows, beginning with the underwriting department and then moving forward to incorporate its administration team. Advanced Solutions offers insurance-focused content management and workflow systems.

AP INSURANCE ADDS GIS SERVICES IN UNDERWRITING

AP Insurance Inc., Boston, has implemented a combined solution from AgencyPort and Proxix Solutions to improve the accuracy of its underwriting. By incorporating AgencyPort's AgencyPortal solution and Proxix's geospatial services, AP Insurance is standardizing its customer data to USPS codes, and analyzing complex spatial relationships, such as distance to coast and brushfire risk, to more accurately rate and assess risks. AgencyPortal, from Boston-based Agency Port, is a Web-based platform designed to enable carriers to implement transactions quickly over the Web. Proxix Solutions is a location intelligence company headquartered in Palm Harbor, Fla.

CAT MODELING FOR INSURANCE-LINKED SECURITIES

ISPartners Alternative Risk Advisors has licensed RiskLink catastrophe modeling software from Risk Management Solutions (RMS), Newark, Calif., for use in evaluating and managing ISPartners' portfolio of insurance-linked securities. This agreement is the latest development in RMS' servicing of the investment community, further highlighting the growing use of catastrophe-modeling in the assessment of alternative investments such as Insurance Linked Securities (ILS). ISPart-ners advises the ISP Event Linked Securities Fund Limited, a Bermuda-based investment fund set up as a segregated account company.

SECURIAN SELECTS POIICY ADMIN SYSTEM

Securian Financial Group Inc., St. Paul, Minn., has selected the AdminServer policy administration system. The system will be implemented as a common platform for the development, launch and administration of Securian's new life insurance products. The implementation also includes IllustrationServer, which uses AdminServer's Common Calculation Architecture, a processing model that employs a common set of business rules between policy illustration and policy processing. The selection of AdminServer Inc., Chester, Pa., was due in large part to the flexibility of the system and its use of a rules-based model, according to Bob Ehren, vice president, life product manufacturing, at Securian.

UNITRIN DIRECT SELECTS BI SERVER FOR AUTO RATES

Unitrin Direct, the direct, personal auto insurance arm of Chicago-based insurance provider Unitrin Inc., has selected SAS Enterprise BI Server to help it become more efficient and agile within its data management system and overall IT network. By using SAS, Unitrin Direct expects to improve internal productivity, while also enhancing the analytical process underlying the development of its auto insurance rates. With experience using SAS in the IT and claims departments, Unitrin Direct is familiar with the software; the company has been a satisfied SAS customer since 2001. Unitrin Direct plans to use SAS for a variety of future initiatives, such as rate simulations and multivariate analyses of its auto rating structure.

HEALTHLINK ENABLES DIRECT CONNECTIONS FOR PARTNERS

HealthLink Inc., a St. Louis, wholly-owned subsidiary of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., licensed TransSend software from AXIOM, Falls Church, Va., to enable direct connections between HealthLink's 25,000 physicians and more than 300 hospitals and health care facilities and the 200 national and regional insurance carriers that use HealthLink's provider network for the transmission and repricing of health care claims. TransSend is designed to leverage existing HIPAA and electronic data interchange (EDI) infrastructure to permit real-time EDI transaction creation and transmission over the Web between HealthLink providers, HealthLink and HealthLink-contracted payors. This dramatically reduces costs for claims and related EDI transaction processing between trading partners. TransSend also enables the integration of the claims submission process from the provider's desktop practice management system, across the Internet, with the payor or re-pricer's legacy claims and data systems.

ZENITH IMPLEMENTS CLAIMS OUTCOME ADVISOR

Zenith Insurance Plc has implemented ISO Claims Outcome Advisor (COA), which is designed to provide detailed claims information to prevent overpayment on settlements. The decision to implement COA follows a closed file evaluation, which showed the system could deliver savings comparable to those achieved by Zenith's sister company, Link Insurance Co. Ltd. Link used COA to improve the accuracy and consistency of its claims settlements, leading to annual cost savings of approximately £500,000. Zenith and Link, which are based in Gibraltar, provide personal lines insurance to the U.K. market.

ACENCY INTEGRATES TRUCK INSURERS ON ONE PLATFORM

Texas Truck Insurance, a Dallas agency specializing in truck and transportation insurance for Texas-based companies and owners/operators, plans to integrate and manage its multiple carrier lines on a single platform using PREMIA, an underwriting, policy administration, claims management, reinsurance and accounting package from India-based 3i InfoTech. PREMIA's Web-based capabilities are designed to provide seamless integration with outside carriers, as well as offer Texas Truck agents secure remote access.

AETNA SELECTS DATA CENTER INTELLIGENCE SOLUTION

Aetna, Hartford, Conn., selected the Data Center Intelligence (DCI) solution from CiRBA Inc., Ont. The carrier plans to use DCI to streamline compliance, risk and IT asset management and gain efficiencies in server and storage resource management for its multi-platform data center. Aetna will use DCI's data capture and reporting capabilities to measure change across a heterogeneous infrastructure (AIX, HP/UX, SUN Solaris, Linux, VMWare and Windows); displace current manual processes and one-off, script-driven activities; and contribute to inventorying and asset management objectives.

WACHOVIA SELECTS DOCUMENT SOLUTION

Financial services provider Wachovia Corp., Winston-Salem, N.C., selected Dialogue document management software from Lexington, Ky.-based Extream Software Inc. to provide an enterprise infrastructure for building and deploying its personalized print/mail document applications. Using Dialogue, Wachovia plans to design, produce, maintain and deliver sophisticated, fully customized customer communications that clarify investment performance, encourage financial planning and reflect the complete client relationship, while meeting critical business requirements for speed to market, cost effectiveness and flexibility.

PACIFIC SELECT BEEFS UP BROKER/DEALER PLATFORM

Newport Beach, Calif.-based Pacific Select Group is beefing up its broker/dealer network with the Profiles+ Professional financial advice solution from Financial Profiles Inc., a Carlsbad, Calif.-based provider of financial advice software, consulting, training and support services. Through a multi-year licensing agreement with Financial Profiles, Pacific Select Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pacific Life Insurance Co., will integrate the ASP-hosted product with Pacific Select Group's AdvisorConnect platform.

LOUISIANA BLUES SPONSORS E-PRESCRIBING PILOT

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana will sponsor a statewide e-prescribing pilot program for 500 physicians using PocketScript from Zix Corp., a Dallas provider of hosted services for e-mail encryption and e-prescribing. The e-prescribing initiative includes a wireless handheld PDA, wireless connectivity, and the PocketScript e-prescribing service, which will provide access to data, formulary, eligibility, and pharmacy information; training; service; and support for up to one year. The goal of the program is to enable early e-prescribing adopters to help sell follow-on prescribers in the same market, a necessity to create mass, rapid adoption of this new technology, says Zix.

SAMMONS IMPLEMENTS ANNUITY XCLERATOR

Sammons Financial Group's insurance subsidiaries successfully implemented the Annuity XCelerator product from XAware Inc., an enterprise software company specializing in service-oriented architecture (SOA) solutions. The newly deployed system is designed to enable automatic distribution of timely annuity contract information to broker/dealers, improving their ability to service end-customers. Annuity XCelerator connects carriers to the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. to facilitate post-issue processing of annuity contracts.

FLORIDA BLUE CROSS AUTOMATES ERM

Jacksonville-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) has chosen the LogicManager toolset from Burlington, Mass.-based LogicManager Inc. to automate its enterprise risk management processes. BCBSF will use LogicManager to provide a framework for supporting risk management thinking across its enterprise. After finding it difficult to manage enterprise risk management with "homegrown" tools, BCBSF selected LogicManager to develop a tool created by risk managers for risk managers.

NATIONAL FORMERS UNION SELECTS ADVANCED BILLING

National Farmers Union Property & Casualty Co., based in Greenwood Village, Colo., licensed the Java-based Advanced Billing system from Fiserv Insurance Solutions, a unit of Fiserv Inc., Brookfield, Wis. The system will handle premium invoicing, cash-to-application management and more. In evaluating available systems, the insurer focused on those with billing capability that would result in improved customer service, according to Kevin Root, National Farmers Union Property & Casualty's chief financial officer. Fiserv Advanced Billing's solution is Web-based and built on open service-oriented architecture principles.

ESURANCE, PROCESSCLAIMS CONTINUE PARTNERSHIP

San Francisco-based Esurance Inc., a direct-to-consumer personal auto insurance company, recently renewed its relationship with ProcessClaims, a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based company providing customized claims management solutions to the insurance industry. The renewal entails expanded partner integration and a re-inspection module through Process-Claims' ClaimsPort solution. ClaimsPort is configurable software built to an insurer's' specific business requirements. Esurance has leveraged ClaimsPort to connect to a police report provider, and will shortly have connectivity to a salvage company. Esurance, a subsidiary of Hamilton, Bermuda-based White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd., plans to use the software to further integrate other third parties that are critical to its claims handling process.

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