MASSMUTUAL UPGRADES PRODUCT MACHINE SOFTWAREThe disability income insurance area of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual), Springfield, Mass., upgraded to version 3.1 of Product Machine, a set of tools designed to enable users to build, design and publish products.

Product Machine is distributed by New York-based FJA-U.S., a technology provider with expertise in actuarial science, business and technology.

MassMutual licensed the Product Machine in 2001 to support product modeling of disability products. In addition to improving MassMutual's modeling capabilities, this implementation shortened the time and cost of bringing products to market, the company reports.

EMPLOYERS DIRECT TO USE NEW PORTAL

With the goals of improving customer experience, lowering insurance premiums and improving its bottom line, Employers Direct Insurance Co., a specialty direct writer of workers' compensation insurance will use Liferay Portal 4.1.1 technology, says the company.

The Agoura Hills, Calif.-based Employers Direct, which sells insurance directly to California business and industry with no independent agent or broker, will use the Internet to create value for customers and lower administrative overhead.

The carrier will use Liferay Portal's Web publishing, document management, authentication and user management capabilities. LifeRay is based in Los Angeles.

FHM INSURANCE CUTS DEALWITH TROPICS SOFTWARE

FHM Insurance Co., a Jacksonville, Fla., provider of workers' compensation insurance, selected policy administration and Web-based agency products from Sarasota, Fla.-based Tropics Software.

Putting the systems in production in March to accommodate its expansion into the state of Georgia, the company plans to install Tropics' Web-based agency application processing/quoting and inquiry/ reports, Web-based insured inquiry/ reports and online payment.

Processing of Florida policies is slated for October 2007 after the legacy data is converted into the Tropics system.

IRISH LIFE TO IMPLEMENT MASTER DATA MGT. SYSTEM

As part of the company's IT upgrade strategy, Dublin-based Irish Life will work with IBM, Armonk, N.Y., to implement its master data management software system and information server.

Using IBM Information Server and WebSphere Customer Centre 7.0, Irish Life expects the IBM system to connect all existing customer business into a single view.

By having a 360-degree view of its one- million-plus customer relationships, Irish Life plans to identify suitable products for its customer base, the company reports.

EXSTREAM DIALOGUE PUT INTO PLAY BY CARRIERS

Anadolu Insurance Co. (Anadolu Sigorta), an 82-year-old Turkish provider of multi-line, non-life products, will use Dialogue enterprise personalization software from Exstream Software, based in Lexington, Ky., to create primary insurance documents such as policies and premium receipts, enhance the overall design of its communications and reduce costs for document production.

The new interactive system will be used by close to 3,000 agents to generate policies online.

Cincinnati-based P&C provider Great American Insurance Co. selected Dialogue as a common platform to streamline complex document production processes for delivery of timely and effective communications to its client base of independent agents and brokers.

Using Dialogue, Great American is moving from a legacy forms processing environment to service-oriented architecture to produce complex insurance documents in real time. The new process is designed to ensure greater accuracy and eliminate time-consuming manual processes.

FIREMAN'S FUND SELECTS ACCENTURE'S TECHNOLOGY

Novato, Calif.-based Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. and Accenture, New York, will jointly implement Accenture's Claim Components Solution, a newly upgraded technology system to process commercial, personal and specialty lines claims.

Through the automation of routine tasks, the system's Web-based technology is designed to help Fireman's Fund improve the efficiency of claims handling, from first notification of loss through closure.

This latest version of the software includes an enhanced user interface and dynamic question and answer architecture, Web services framework, and Microsoft .NET 2.0 technology.

TWO CARRIERS ROLL OUT COMMERCIAL AUTO SYSTEM

Two commercial auto insurers implemented policy administration and claims software from Maple Technologies, Manalapan, N.J.

New York-based commercial auto liability insurer Fiduciary Insurance Co. of America, which services New York's livery industry, will use the Aspire Information System from Maple Technologies, a real-time, Web-based automation backbone, to process a high volume of policy renewal transactions electronically and over the Internet. Through Fiduciary's producer-level deployment, brokers will be able to service their clientele efficiently through Aspire's real-time capabilities, by issuing FH1 vehicle identification cards, policies and New York City Taxi & Limousine certification documentation instantaneously.

Maple also plans to work with Pinelands Insurance Co., a risk retention group insurance carrier that provides coverage for the public auto industry (taxis) in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, on a 90-day speed-to-market customization project to support the carrier's multi-state commercial auto business platform.

HARDY INTEGRATES AIR'S CAT MODELING

Hardy (Underwriting Agencies) Ltd., a specialist insurer and subsidiary of Hardy Underwriting Group plc operating within Lloyd's of London, has licensed a catastrophe risk management system from Boston-based AIR Worldwide Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Insurance Services Office Inc.

The London-based insurer will use the system to enhance the underwriting process of its managed syndicates and to manage global catastrophe risk.

Hardy, which writes a broad range of business, including both treaty and direct & facultative (D&F) business, will use AIR's CLASIC/2 and CATRADER to estimate catastrophe loss potential at a highly detailed level to support a growing D&F business in the United States, the Caribbean, and the Asia-Pac regions as well as treaty business in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean.

CHUBB SIGNS WITH CSC, INSTALLS CLAIMS DISPATCH PLATFORM

The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, headquartered in Warren, N.J., signed a 10-year contract with Computer Science Corp., (CSC) El Segundo, Calif., for its P&C insurance business process outsourcing (BPO) services.

Under the terms of the agreement, CSC will provide Chubb with services such as document imaging, independent bureau and National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) reporting, and business intelligence and management reports.

Chubb is also enhancing its Masterpiece Auto Preference Services with a new auto claims dispatch platform. Developed by Rochester, N.Y.-based Scene Genesis Inc., the SceneAccess platform will electronically link Chubb and its network of preferred auto body repair shops, expediting the claim settlement process. When a car is dropped off at a repair shop, all the information about the vehicle and the customer will be available through the shop's computer system.

HARFORD MUTUAL INSTALLS CGI GROUP RATING PRODUCT

The Harford Mutual Insurance Co., a Bel Air, Md., provider of commercial and personal lines products, chose CGI Group Inc., Montreal, to implement its insurance rating solution, Ratabase.

Ratabase is designed to enable insurance carriers develop the algorithms, rate tables and logic for insurance rating and automated underwriting applications.

This logic can be built once and deployed to an end-user application on most platforms. Ratabase will be integrated into Harford's applications and used to rate business in the eight states in which they write business. The Ratabase software productivity tool suite

OHIO NATIONAL CONNECTS THROUGH AGENT PORTAL

Ohio National Financial Services, a Cincinnati-based provider of insurance and financial services with more than 50,000 representatives across the United States, is using Vignette's Web solution for its ON-Net producer Web portal.

Ohio National selected Austin, Texas-based Vignette to help manage and organize extranet content to comply with regulations and to build relationships and communication channels with sales associates, says R. Allen Bowen, Ohio National senior vice president, information systems.

The insurer uses Vignette to organize large quantities of unstructured data, including forms, marketing materials and product information. That content is delivered to sales associates via the customizable ON-Net Web portal. The portal reduces the time spent on search and discovery of important information, enabling representatives to provide quicker, more personalized customer service

IDENTITY THEFT RESOLVED WITH HELP FROM VENDOR

Two insurers announced plans to add identity theft resolution to their homeowners policies with the help of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Identity Theft 911. If customers of Columbus, Ohio-based Motorists Mutual Insurance Co. or Bloomington, Ill.-based Country Mutual Insurance Co. have their identities stolen, Identity Theft 911 will step in to clear up debts and restore normality, the vendor says.

"The services provided through Identity Theft 911 offer a personal advocate who works one-on-one to direct and assist policyholders through the challenges of identity and credit restoration," the company says. Customers also can have lost or damaged documents re-created after a fire, hurricane or flood.

"The issue of identity theft is of growing importance to our customers," says Grady Campbell, vice president, P/C marketing at Motorists Mutual.

FIREMAN'S FUND GETS HELP WITH AUTOMOBILE CLAIMS

Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., Novato, Calif., has a three-year agreement with Oldsmar, Fla.-based eAutoclaims Inc., a provider of managed collision repair services and insurance claims processing technology, to use the company's Guaranteed Repair Network, Audit Pro Re-inspection tools and ASP tools for the insurer's national class repair shop network.

Under the agreement, physical damage auto claims submitted to Fireman's Fund will run on eAutoclaims' platform eJusterSuite. eAutoclaims technology and services will streamline appraisal assignments and accelerate the claims process, the vendor says.

Fireman's Fund's appraisal desk reviewers and automobile claims adjusters will have the ability to review and respond to all estimates in real-time, thus avoiding delays and minimizing the time spent during the final review process of filing and completing a claim, says Jeff Dickson, eAutoclaims president and CEO.

ONEBEACON CHOOSES CODE RED BUSINESS CONTINUITY PROCESSES

Boston-based OneBeacon Insurance Group, which offers specialty and segmented commercial and personal insurance products, will work with Code Red Business Continuity Services LLC, Cranston, R.I., to help small and mid-size commercial insurance customers with disaster-recovery planning.

Code Red's services include pre-incident planning, emergency preparedness and business continuity planning. To deliver these services, the company employs experts from the public and private sectors with skills in dealing with fire, security, terrorism, facilities, hazardous materials and information technology.

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