AT&T Inc., San Antonio, Texas, has announced a two-year contract with ProAssurance Group for more than $1 million in network services. In addition to establishing virtual private network (VPN) services for ProAssurance in order to enhance communications between 14 company sites across the country, AT&T will install required hardware for the network at ProAssurance's headquarters in Birmingham, Ala. ProAssurance is also leveraging AT&T's Integration Solutions services to help manage and develop its network capabilities over the new VPN.

According to AT&T, ProAssurance requires reliable, secure and efficient network communication to manage its policyholders' accounts. Improved visibility and enhanced reporting systems will enable ProAssurance to streamline its operations and remain focused on protecting customers from medical liability damages, the company says.


Herndon, Va.-based Finetre, a division of Ebix Inc., announced Tupelo, Miss.-based BancorpSouth's agreement to deploy Finetre's AnnuityNet Platform to its advisors as part of the firm's efforts to provide annuity sales and suitability compliance reporting.

Finetre provides Web-based annuity and life insurance automation platforms known as AnnuityNet and LifeSpeed. The platforms operate under a software-as-a-service business model, and enable annuity and life insurance distributors to automate the processing of annuity and life insurance transactions, the company says.

BancorpSouth, a financial holding company in the south-central United States, says it chose Finetre for its industry expertise and long history of superior technology deployments. The AnnuityNet implementation is expected to be completed quickly, and be in production by March 2008.

"BancorpSouth's goal is to gain considerable advantages in sales efficiency, compliance and business control of our annuity operations," says Thomas Howard, president of BancorpSouth Investment Services Inc.

"Finetre's reliability, low error rates and commitment to the financial services industry impressed us. We are confident that our use of AnnuityNet can help us better serve our clients by putting best-of-breed annuity processing and suitability tools in the hands of our insurance representatives," says Tom Murry, managing director of BancorpSouth Insurance Services Inc.


Ultimate Software, Weston, Fla., a provider of end-to-end strategic human resources, payroll and talent management solutions, announced that FCCI Insurance Group, a Sarasota, Fla.-based provider of comprehensive property/casualty insurance, implemented Ultimate Software's UltiPro solution. UltiPro was delivered through Intersourcing, a software-as-a-service offering.

According to FCCI, after an on-time, on-budget implementation of core UltiPro for human resources, payroll and benefits administrative processes completed in just over three months, the company implemented Ultimate Software's UltiPro Recruitment for its talent acquisition functions.

Ultimate Software says that since going live in January 2007, FCCI has streamlined compensation management, improved talent acquisition practices and enhanced management of, and communication with, its geographically dispersed workforce utilizing UltiPro's solutions.

"UltiPro's Salary Budget Administration has given FCCI an easy-to-use tool that has simplified the salary increase process for us," says Nilda Mercado, compensation analyst for FCCI. "Prior to UltiPro, we had a different solution that was supposed to automate the process, but it was not Web-based and was more difficult to use. UltiPro is easier for both managers, and the HR team to use."


SAP, Newtown Square, Pa., announced that Springfield-based Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual) has implemented SAP for Insurance solutions, which includes the SAP Incentive and Commission Management for Insurance applications. MassMutual says it is looking to consolidate its compensation workflows on a unified business process platform for accurate and efficient distribution of compensation payments to its sales channels.

MassMutual went live on SAP solutions in March 2007. MassMutual completed this step of its overall transformation and delivered "the smoothest go-live ever," according to CIO Michael Foley. Having a distribution management system on a single platform helps the insurer meet future distribution servicing needs and manage complex relations, SAP says. Also, MassMutual claims that by tapping into one source of data in a clean format, users can perform analytics, easily share data and effectively manage relationships.

"The distribution of compensation has evolved, but our infrastructure remained the same," says Kinam Kim, VP Information Systems Organization, MassMutual. "An integrated technology platform from SAP has allowed MassMutual to migrate all our systems to provide a single view of our distribution data."


Mitchell International Inc., a San Diego, Calif. provider of information, workflow and performance management solutions to the collision claims and repair industries, announced that GMAC Insurance, Maryland Heights, Mo., has selected Mitchell as its exclusive provider of claims performance solutions.

Under terms of the deal, GMAC extends its use of Mitchell APD (auto physical damage) claims processing solutions, and expands the relationship to include new Mitchell products and services. Included among the claims performance solutions Mitchell will provide are: Total Loss, Claims Review, CSI, Workflow and new communication tools.

With Mitchell as its exclusive partner, GMAC gains a comprehensive and powerful claims performance engine fully in tune with the changing dynamics of the APD marketplace, Mitchell says.

"Mitchell's solutions will help us better serve our customers, reduce claims settlement time and offer fair and accurate compensation to our policy holders," says George Hall, VP of claims, GMAC Insurance.

Mitchell also announced a renewal agreement with North Vancouver-based Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) for customer satisfaction indexing (CSI) services to be provided by AutocheX, Mitchell's voice-of-the-customer performance management group.

AutocheX has managed the customer satisfaction program for ICBC's accredited c.a.r. shop Valet program since 2004. The new agreement extends through 2011, and includes voice-to-voice customer contact, problem recognition and notification, and detailed management reporting. As part of the agreement, Mitchell also worked with ICBC to migrate the AutocheX customer satisfaction data to Mitchell's Canadian-based data processing and reporting center. Collision repair shops that participate in the ICBC c.a.r. shop Valet program started accessing their customer satisfaction data on the new Canadian-based Web site on September 1, 2007.

Under the new agreement, Mitchell says ICBC has enhanced the customer satisfaction service for the c.a.r. shop Valet program participants to include real-time "Customer Alerts" that AutocheX will e-mail to ICBC when the customer survey is completed. "This will help ICBC to be more proactive in identifying and assisting the collision repair facility resolve customer issues," says Kevin Ballance, manager of accreditation programs for ICBC.

A third insurer, Sun Prairie, Wis.-based General Casualty Insurance Cos., a super-regional P&C insurance provider, has signed a multi-year contract with Mitchell for its estimating and specialty database solutions. Under the terms of the agreement, General Casualty will continue using Mitchell's UltraMate estimating solution for automobiles, motorcycles, marine craft and medium and heavy trucks.

General Casualty operates exclusively through an independent agency system and offers a complete line of P&C insurance products for homes, autos and businesses in 25 states.

Gale Harder, assistant VP of claims at General Casualty, says, "General Casualty looks forward to continuing our successful relationship with Mitchell International. We continue to be impressed with Mitchell's quality and range of estimating databases, and their continued efforts to build a trustworthy vendor/partner relationship."


Perceptive Software, Shawnee, Kan., creator of ImageNow enterprise document management, imaging and workflow software, announced that Risk Administrative Services Inc. (RAS), a Sioux Falls, S.D.-based third-party administrator, will deploy ImageNow in its underwriting department.

Perceptive Software says RAS chose ImageNow to help boost efficiency, productivity and customer service by reducing storage, delivery and copying costs. Perceptive Software's patented LearnMode technology will allow RAS to rapidly integrate ImageNow with its host policy administration system, and seamlessly deploy ImageNow in a timely manner without disrupting existing business processes and operations, helping RAS achieve a rapid return on its investment, the company says.


The Barnstable County Mutual Insurance Co., Yarmouth Port, Mass., an independent-agent P&C insurer, selected Acies/one, a Web-enabled P&C solution from Wyncote, Pa.-based IDP Inc., a P&C management system company. Barnstable went live with IDP's Personal Umbrella Liability line August 1, with the company's dwelling/fire and homeowners lines scheduled to go into production over the next 12 months.

According to IDP, the Acies/one integrated insurance software solution performs policy-processing functions for multiple companies and lines of business.

Scaleable and flexible, with table-driven processing and an intuitive user interface for easy navigation, the modular system is designed to enable users to start at their point of need and evolve to an enterprisewide solution. Acies/one processes P&C and workers' compensation insurance.

"Acies/one introduces more automation into our business environment and gives us the capacity to grow with the same head count," says Barnstable VP and treasurer John DeMello. "It will sustain us for the next several decades with new technology, and make it easier for our independent agent partners to do business with us."


Wilton Re, Wilton, Conn., has signed a multi-million dollar administrative services agreement with Westlake, Ohio-based Antares Management Solutions and its sister company GeniSys.

While details of the agreement were not disclosed, it calls for GeniSys to provide full life insurance administration services to selected blocks of Wilton's business. Antares provides related technology services, such as hosting, software and data center functions. These services will be extended to several blocks of business.

"Part of our business plan calls for the acquisition of blocks of life business as well as the purchase of entire life companies," says Enrico Treglia, Wilton Re senior VP and COO. "To facilitate that goal, we need to know that our BPO partners can handle our growth without sacrificing the quality of services they provide."

Genisys and Antares transitioned approximately 75,000 policies acquired by Wilton Re to Genisys and Antares BPO operations, Wilton reports. "We are confident in their ability to maintain service levels and to support our continued growth," says Treglia.


American Hardware Mutual Insurance Co., a Minnetonka, Minn.-based affiliate of The Motorists Insurance Group, selected Policy Decisions, the commercial policy administration system from Alpharetta, Ga.-based ChoicePoint's Insurity. The specialty insurer will upgrade its existing Insurity system to the newer .NET-based offering.

"The new system will yield improved performance, additional ease of use and streamlined data entry," says Kelly Becker, American Hardware VP, administration. "In addition, it will enable us to consolidate our policy administration. We will be migrating several additional lines of business to the new system, including commercial umbrella and Massachusetts garage."

Policy Decisions' service-oriented architecture will enable American Hardware to extend access to the system to sales representatives via the Web, Becker says, streamlining processing, improving data quality and enhancing responsiveness. Policy Decisions lays the foundation for achieving the company's operational and technological vision, according to Becker.

(c) 2007 Insurance Networking News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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