INSURER AUTOMATES INTERNAL CONTROLSPhysicians Mutual, based in Omaha, Neb., selected OpenPages FCM for its financial controls management initiatives. OpenPages FCM is an enterprise financial controls management solution designed to reduce time and resource costs associated with ongoing financial reporting regulations. It is expected to reduce Physician Mutual's time and costs associated with efforts to comply with changes to National Association of Insurance Companies financial reporting regulations. "OpenPages allows us to automate our ongoing assessment and monitoring of internal controls and ensure that compliance initiatives align with our business strategy," says Barbara Bergmeier, senior vice president of internal audit, Physicians Mutual.


Cottonwood, Minn.-based North Star Mutual Insurance Co., is partnering with Identity Theft 911 LLC, Scottsdale, Ariz., to provide its policyholders with proactive resources and, in the event that they become victims, expert assistance in restoring their identities. The service offers a personal advocate who works one-on-one to direct and assist policyholders through the challenges of identity and credit restoration. Highlights of the service include ongoing fraud monitoring of more than 1,000 databases to identify fraudulent use of a stolen identity; direct assistance with filing a police report, creating a fraud victim affidavit, plus a comprehensive case file to assist law enforcement and claims handling; systematic notification to credit bureaus, creditors and collectors, government agencies, and relevant parties; and a full year of active follow-up to judge the effectiveness of the fraud resolution and to detect possible recurrent fraud.


Meadowbrook Insurance Group Inc., headquartered in Southfield, Mich., selected Chicago-based Adeptia Inc. in support of the company's insurance process improvement strategy. For the past several years, Meadowbrook Insurance has focused on automation with the ultimate goal of streamlining its business processes-standardizing common processes and rules regarding underwriting, claims and accounting as well as integration of back-end systems and seamless connectivity with its agents. Adeptia's product includes business process management and integration technology and is being used extensively at Meadowbrook for implementation of this enterprisewide strategy.


The Phoenix Companies Inc. is in production with the J2EE version of the AdminServer Inc.'s policy administration system for administration of the insurer's new life products. The administration system implementation was launched in conjunction with an enterprise ESB SOA initiative. Hartford, Conn.-based Phoenix reports it is now able to introduce new products to the marketplace in a more timely, efficient and cost-effective manner. Phoenix leveraged the technology from the Chester, Pa.-based provider and the system's XML business rules engine to create an operating environment that allows for greater control in processing and innovative product design.


Noridian Mutual Insurance Co., Fargo, N.D., selected a suite of data center automation solutions from Lexington, Mass.-based BladeLogic Inc. to automate the compliance management processes-specifically the contractor security requirements of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS)-for its computing and application infrastructure. CMS requires Noridian to capture the inventory as well as all configuration changes and updates to Noridian's servers and related applications. Prior to BladeLogic, this was accomplished via a manual process, but now Noridian can automate the process of tracking, auditing and reporting configuration changes to maintain an accurate record and the integrity of its computing infrastructure. In addition, BladeLogic will ensure that the configuration of Noridian's IT systems will be consistent with the federal enterprise architecture defined by the CMS, as well as Noridian's own information system architecture.


The Hanover Insurance Group Inc.'s agents are using The Agency Manager (TAM) from University Park, Ill.-based Applied Systems Inc., to perform policy inquiries from their desktops. The Hanover's agent partners can conduct claims, billing and policy inquiries for personal and commercial lines business without logging out of their system. In addition, agents can bridge policy information from TAM directly to the Worcester, Mass.-based insurer's point-of-sale system for endorsements. The capability is made possible through a partnership with IVANS Transformation Station, a managed Internet data exchange for insurance real-time transactions, using ACORD XML standards.


Kingsway Financial Services, Mississauga, Ontario, selected the Progress EasyAsk natural language query and reporting technology from Bedford, Mass.-based Progress Software Corp. for use within its enterprise portal application. The system will enable Kingsway to access information from multiple databases and is part of an enterprisewide information portal from HarCase Software Ltd., also headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario. Kingsway deployed the HarCase system to simplify and speed the way it does business, both internally and with its insurance agents and brokers. Through an intuitive, customized dashboard interface populated with embedded queries, business users at Kingsway can access up-to-date information and answers to a number of key business questions. Answers to pre-selected questions are proactively delivered each morning through personalized dashboard home pages within the portal, based on individual user needs.


Travel Guard International, a Stevens Point, Wis.-based subsidiary of AIG Travel Services Inc., is using Borland Tempo, the cornerstone of the IT management and governance solution from Cupertino, Calif.-based Borland Software Corp., to reallocate its development time and resources so that about 90% of the team's effort is now spent on strategic projects, rather than on maintenance. Travel Guard selected the solution to automate a complete project and portfolio management process that would address three critical areas-portfolio management, scheduling and time tracking. Since implementing Borland Tempo, Travel Guard has gained control of its request management process and now relies on an automated review process that categorizes all project requests by estimated scope and number of work hours. Travel Guard can determine which projects take priority based on strategic value, impact on the business and resource availability.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota purchased Publisher, a workflow module that is part of the Kryptiq Guardian Suite from Kryptiq Corp., Hillsboro, Ore. Publisher automates workflows and enables critical information, such as contract and rates changes, to be instantly communicated to associated departments. Blue Cross plans to use Publisher to expand the Guardian Contract Manager platform to other departments within its organization. Blue Cross shifted from paper to electronic contracting in 1998. Today, the Blue Cross contract management process is managed by Kryptiq Guardian.


CNA Financial Corp., a property/casualty insurance provider headquartered in Chicago, began deployment of Guidewire PolicyCenter, from Guidewire Software Inc., San Mateo, Calif., to support its core underwriting process. Guidewire PolicyCenter is designed to provide system-to-system integration between the company and agents, apply rule-based business logic to risk evaluation, and provide underwriters with a unified desktop to manage and monitor the underwriting process effectively. PolicyCenter also enables integration of processes and information between underwriting and claims. "PolicyCenter is a key enabler of our efforts to deepen our agency relationships and to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of our underwriting operations," says John Golden, CIO, CNA.


HanseMerkur, a mutual insurance company and a health, life, travel and property insurance provider headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, implemented Liferay Portal 4.1.2 from Los Angeles-based Liferay. The site brings new capabilities to HanseMerkur and its customers, at a cost far below commercially available portal and Content Management System (CMS) alternatives, according to Liferay. Liferay Portal's economical open source framework provides HanseMerkur with a platform for ongoing development, integration and maintenance. Its improved CMS supports more than 350 pages of content, and the site offers new customer features such as the ability to initiate an insurance contract online. An improved search engine optimization technology also leverages changes in content in real time. According to HanseMerkur's director of research and development,

Horst Karaschewski, the company wanted to dramatically increase the amount of information available online to prospective customers.

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