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Allianz of America Expands AT&T Network Services Agreement

Allianz of America's expansion of its network services agreement will foster greater operational unity between its Fireman's Fund and Allianz Life companies.

Preparing the way for greater unity between its Fireman's Fund and Allianz Life entities, Westport, Conn.-based Allianz of America (AZOA), a member of Munich-based Allianz Group (US$140 billion in revenue), has expanded its existing relationship with AT&T (Basking Ridge, N.J.) through a four-year contract for managed network services worth more than $70 million. The new agreement will expand the efficiencies of scale realized on the existing relationship between AT&T and Fireman's Fund and will build upon a shared services model established early this year between the Novato, Calif.-based AZOA P&C company and its Minneapolis-based life insurance counterpart, Allianz Life, according to Oliver Bussmann, AZOA CIO.

"We have a very good relationship already in place with AT&T that has helped us to uplift our network technology to state of the art," Bussmann comments. "It will also help us bring our businesses together from a cross-selling perspective and to support our growth."

Efficiencies of Scale

The new agreement will increase efficiency across the AZOA entities by about 20 percent on average, Bussmann asserts. The new contract also will enable AZOA to accelerate its plans to establish a converged IP network infrastructure across the entire organization, he adds. Currently, Fireman's Fund has a converged network, while Allianz Life has separate voice and data networks.

"We're no longer two entities; we have much greater scale by combining voice and data volume together," Bussmann says. "This will generate both greater efficiency and synergies for both companies." Among those synergies, according to Bussmann, will be marketing and service improvements enabled by a shared IP network, such as the ability to seamlessly transfer service calls among the life and P&C companies for customers who have policies with both.

The agreement also sets the stage over the longer term for both internal and external communications improvements, including special services to selected distributors, Bussmann continues. "This partnership will help us not only by enabling the companies to come together for better servicing our clients, but in the end, it is also to use this technology provider to reach out to our independent agents to give them better support and services," he elaborates. Those services likely will include videoconferencing "so that agents can dial in and speak to a customer service representative in person in a way that is much better than calling someone over the telephone," Bussmann notes.

By proving its regional capabilities through the relationship, AT&T has an opportunity to pitch services of a more global nature through work with AZOA's parent company, Bussmann acknowledges. He adds that the present contract also is open for other Allianz entities beyond the insurance business. "That means Allianz Global Investors and other Allianz entities in the U.S., other lines of business, also have the opportunity to utilize the AT&T master agreement," Bussmann explains.


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Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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