GRAIN DEALERS UPGRADE POLICY ADMIN CAPABILITIESGrain Dealers Mutual Insurance Co. upgraded its policy administration capabilities with Policy Decisions from Insurity, a Hartford, Conn.-based ChoicePoint company. Policy Decisions is designed to incorporate complete policy-lifecycle administration services-from application intake to rating and underwriting, from policy issuance to renewal and reinsurance-on a single Web services platform. Grain Dealers looked at competing systems that promised improved access, says David Patterson, assistant vice president and director of Information Services for the Indianapolis-based property-casualty insurer, but Insurity had several advantages that clinched the deal. At first, agents will access it to do their own quoting for commercial policies. The longer-term plan is to provide self-service access to agents for policy maintenance.

INSURER AIMS TO STREAMLINE BUSINESS PROCESSES

Meadowbrook Insurance Group Inc. selected Chicago-based Adeptia Inc. in support of the company's insurance process improvement strategy. For the past several years, the Southfield, Mich.-based insurer has focused on automation with the goal of streamlining business processes. Business process improvement at Meadowbrook encompasses 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 BPM and integration technology and is used at Meadowbrook for implementation of this enterprisewide strategy.

SMART CHOICE CHOOSES REAL-TIME RATING SYSTEM

Smart Choice chose AMS SETWrite as its real-time, multiple-carrier rating solution for its network of more than 2,200 independent agents across 25 states. AMS SETWrite from AMS Services, headquartered in Bothell, Wash., is designed to enable agents to log in and enter information for multiple carriers one time, eliminating extra keystrokes and redundant processes. AMS SETWrite also provides comparative rating capabilities. Smart Choice is offered by Worldwide Insurance Network Inc., headquartered in Greensboro, N.C. The program consists of thousands of independent property and casualty insurance agencies operating across the country, providing personal and commercial insurance, financial services and other value-added products. Smart Choice will add AMS SETWrite to its package as an option for agents at a discounted rate.

NEBRASKA INSURER CHOOSES INTEGRATION SOFTWARE

Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Co., an Omaha, Neb.-based non-profit fraternal benefit organization, has chosen ProductXpress from EDS SOLCORP, a global business unit of Plano, Texas-based Electronic Data Systems Corp., to help it streamline and automate product implementation process and accelerate the delivery of new products to its customer members. "ProductXpress was the best choice for us, both in terms of its compatibility with our existing system, and the flexible, robust tool set it delivers to our team," says Frank Logan, assistant vice president, information technology, Woodmen of the World. The deal includes licensing, software support and professional services and training.

PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL GOES LIVE WITH ADMIN SYSTEM

Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa, has gone live with SunGard Data System Inc.'s iWORKS COMPASS, a group and individual insurance, pension and investment product administration system. The Principal Financial Group selected iWORKS COMPASS to help support new product development and administration and to help manage its group life, disability, dental, vision and voluntary product offerings. According to Doug Fick, CIO for the Specialty Benefits Division of the Principal Financial Group, "We continually adapt our computer technology platforms to meet or exceed industry demands and to facilitate our aggressive growth strategy. Because of [Wayne, Pa.-based] SunGard's proven reputation, flexible application and quality products, we look forward to iWORKS COMPASS supporting us in achieving our service goals and growth strategy."

INSURER MANAGES AUTO RATES WITH NEW SYSTEM

Access Insurance Co., a division of Atlanta-based Access Insurance Holdings Inc., implemented the InsBridge rating, rules and underwriting system from Skywire Software LLC, Frisco, Texas. The insurer is using InsBridge to create, deploy, and manage its complex rates for its Personal Auto line of business. "InsBridge's scalable architecture and technological advancement easily handles the intricacy of Access's complex rating attributes associated with non-standard auto insurance," says Peggy Klein, CIO, Access Insurance. "Specifically, Access utilizes a unique driver assignment program, and InsBridge allows business users to create and manage these complicated rates without the assistance of IT." At press time, Skywire announced its planned acquisition of Docucorp Interna-tional, Dallas (see page 13).

PENN MUTUAL AUTOMATES RECONCILIATION PROCESSES

Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., Horsham, Pa., selected Norcross, Ga.-based CheckFree Corp.'s Accurate NXG reconciliation and exception-management solution to automate the company's cash and securities reconciliation processes. Penn Mutual's investment management and treasury operations divisions will deploy the system in the hope it will enable the firm to improve operational intelligence, gain a single enterprisewide view of its reconciliations, increase efficiency and better manage operational risk across the organization. Accurate NXG will reconcile positions and trading activity with internal accounting, trading and risk systems and confirm positions with custodians. Penn Mutual hopes to eliminate internal proprietary reconciliation processes, which were not sufficient for auditing purposes, and improve the investigation and resolution of transaction errors.

INSURER CHOOSES PLATFORM TO PROMOTE PRODUCTS

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual) selected Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Insurance Technologies LLC's ForeSight to enable financial professionals to illustrate the features and benefits of proprietary deferred and immediate annuity products issued by Springfield-based MassMutual. The Internet-based ForeSight platform will also include modules for presentations and asset allocation. "Insurance Technologies' ForeSight is a convenient educational tool that will be mutually beneficial to producers and consumers," says Will Luckert, head of annuity sales operations, MassMutual. "ForeSight enables us to offer a comprehensive and flexible online resource to illustrate our growing selection of annuity products."

TUSCORORA WAYNE SELECTS AGENCY SYSTEM

Houston-based Connective Technologies Inc. announces their TEAM-UP Download contract signing with the Tuscarora Wayne Group of Co.s, Wyalusing, Pennsylvania signed a contract to use TEAM-UP Download to promote ease-of-use and serviceability of the group's independent agencies. Jay Chadwick, president and CEO of the Group, says: "We're excited about implementing the robust functionality and straight-through processing capabilities of the TEAM-UP Download product, making it easier to do business and further enhancing our relationship with an outstanding agency force." Features, such as single-policy, real-time archival retrievals by the agents, improved group management distribution and tracking that ease and accelerate the registration process for agencies and carriers, have been implemented with TEAM-UP's SOA to fit into carriers' agency portals.

HEALTHMARKETS CHOOSES MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO CONTRIBUTE TO SOA

Haley Systems Inc., Sewickley, Pa., today announced that HealthMarkets, a North Richland Hills, Texas, provider of affordable health and life insurance for individuals, the self-employed, small businesses and students, has selected its Business Rules Management System (BRMS). Among the key reasons for selecting Haley were the system's platform independence, English authoring and support for a service-oriented architecture (SOA) capability in both the runtime and authoring environments. HealthMarkets intends to use Haley in an SOA environment to achieve a shared business rules repository that will reduce duplicate business logic throughout multiple applications. By adopting Haley's BRMS, HealthMarkets hopes to improve speed-to-market as well as agent and customer experience at the point of sale.

FAMI DEPLOYS BUSINESS RULES MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Farmers Alliance Mutual Insurance Co. (FAMI) is deploying QuickRules BRMS technology from YASU Technologies Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., as part of its new "Endorsement Management" systems. The current endorsements management system is paper-driven, and all decisions need to be executed manually. FAMI hopes to automate decisions as well as the decision-making logic to ensure that FAMI Agents have online access to the FAMI product line. FAMI, based in McPherson, Kan., chose the technology based on nuances offered in the QuickRules BRMS platform, especially the out-of-the-box support for ACORD standards. The extensive support for J2EE application servers, as well the different rule formats supported, were also critical factors in choosing the QuickRules BRMS technology, according to Andy Edwardson of FAMI. FAMI expects to go live with the new endorsements systems by March, 2007.

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