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News & Commentary
Content posted in April 2012
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Travelers Opens Portal for Surety Bonds
News  |  4/30/2012  | 
The Click portal is designed to streamline and simplify surety bonds purchase and issuance for agents and brokers.
Insurers Must Temper Mobile Euphoria with IT Security Realism
Commentary  |  4/30/2012  | 
Insurers' mobile-focused consumerization is a heartening development, but they need to scrupulously examine the new information security exposures that mobile creates within their business processes.
Humana Profit Falls by One-Fifth
News  |  4/30/2012  | 
Humana Inc posted a 21 percent decline in quarterly profit on Monday, missing Wall Street's target, as higher medical benefit costs weighed on the health insurer's results. Its shares fell 3.5 percent in premarket trading.
Farmers and Mechanics Mutual of W.Va Selects Insuresoft's Diamond Suite
News  |  4/27/2012  | 
The insurer cites the vendor's combination of modern, multi-line solutions and knowledgeable staff in the selection of the Insuresoft suite for driving greater ease of business for distributors.
Health Insurers' Customer Communications Is Fractured
News  |  4/27/2012  | 
Most health plans say they want to improve customer communications, but they have not developed IT systems needed to send reminders to patients to take meds or start exercising, IDC Health Insights reports.
Why Did Health Insurers Get a Head Start in Emulating Retail?
Commentary  |  4/27/2012  | 
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida opened retail stores three years ago, and several other health carriers told I&T about their admiration for the retail channel. What's driving this innovation in that line of business?
Hartford Sells Off Individual Annuity Operations
News  |  4/27/2012  | 
Hartford Financial Services Group Inc said on Thursday it will sell its individual annuity operations to Forethought, a Houston-based financial services company.
Insurers Dodge a Bullet on Q1 Catastrophes
Slideshows  |  4/26/2012  | 
Although insurers’ exposure to costly catastrophes in the first quarter of 2012 was much less severe than what they experienced in the same period a year ago, they are facing new and complicated challenges in areas as diverse as healthcare claims, mobile security and domain/brand protection. Here’s some of what was top of mind for the industry this past week.
Verisk and TransUnion Launch New Version of A-PLUS Auto Loss-History Database
News  |  4/26/2012  | 
A-PLUS 2.0 offers new patent-pending household-based search technology from TransUnion, and provides a new "alert" feature that can greatly streamline the quote process for web, call centers, agents, and back-end underwriting systems.
Transamerica Exec Says Options Abound for Securing Mobile Apps
Commentary  |  4/26/2012  | 
Michael Babikian, EVP and CMO of Transamerica Brokerage, the distribution arm of the life insurance carrier, says that there are ways to ensure producers' personal devices are secure.
Westfield Insurance Adopts Guidewire Claim System
News  |  4/26/2012  | 
The insurer identified ClaimCenter as system that could best help support its growing commercial business, create operational efficiencies through the consolidation of disparate systems, and address the need for higher quality data in its pursuit of improved analytics.
US Health Insurers to Pay $1.3 Billion in Rebates, Study Finds
News  |  4/26/2012  | 
U.S. health insurers will pay $1.3 billion in rebates to consumers and employers this year under a provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law that penalizes plans that devote too little of their premium revenues to health services, an independent study showed on Thursday.
What Gets in the Way of Life Insurance Sales?
Commentary  |  4/25/2012  | 
Research indicates that consumers are scared off by cost concerns. What can the industry do to fight that?
Lincoln Financial Selects Andesa Services Portal System
News  |  4/25/2012  | 
Andesa Services' Participant and Policy Owner System (POPS) will be integrated with existing Lincoln technology platforms, providing enhanced functionality for distributors, plan sponsors and plan participants.
Two MassMutual Tech Execs Get Promotions to Senior Vice President
News  |  4/25/2012  | 
Two MassMutual tech execs promoted to Senior Vice President; Sri Dronamraju, who also services as Chief Information Risk Officer, is named SVP, Enterprise Technology; Scott Palmer is named SVP Retirement Services division, reflecting his contribution to the unit's growth.
Social Media Success: South African Insurer Santam's Viral "Touché" Advertisement
Commentary  |  4/25/2012  | 
Fast food restaurant Nandos, known for its cheeky advertisement parodies, punked Santam's original ad, only to be pwned in a sequel.
How Involved Will Governments Be In Tracking Down Life Beneficiaries?
Commentary  |  4/24/2012  | 
The controversy over use of the Social Security "death file" has led to New York opening a website on which people can search for lost or forgotten policies.
FICO Debuts New Fraud-Fighting Solution
News  |  4/24/2012  | 
The FICO Claims Fraud Solution detects and prioritizes fraud incidents using predictive models, business rules and link analysis.
Falcon Insurance Selects 4Sight BI
News  |  4/24/2012  | 
The company also recently picked a new core systems platform.
MetLife Settles for $500 Million in Unpaid Claims Investigation
News  |  4/24/2012  | 
MetLife Inc, the largest life insurer in the United States, will pay nearly $500 million to settle a multistate investigation into unpaid claims for dead policy holders, state regulators and the company said on Monday.
8 Probes into Insurers' Use of 'Death Master' File Still Active, NAIC Says
News  |  4/24/2012  | 
There are still eight active investigations underway into insurance companies' usage of the Social Security "Death Master" file, the president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said on Monday.
Guardian Appoints Distribution Executive
News  |  4/23/2012  | 
Kevin Benjamin will lead Career Agency Distribution for the life insurer.
Liberty Mutual Group Benefits Provides Mobile App to Manage Absence
News  |  4/23/2012  | 
Employees of Liberty Mutual Group Benefits customers can submit their absences through their smartphones.
ICANN System Glitch Delays "Big Reveal" of gTLD Application Information
News  |  4/23/2012  | 
Insurers and other applicants must be ready to begin a massive review task to defend their brands from potential abuse of generic top level domain name abuse.
Gamification Boosts Employee Health Behavior, Blue Shield Argues
News  |  4/20/2012  | 
Blue Shield of California finds social apps and rewards engage its employees in wellness programs, sees potential for its insurance customers.
The Hartford Reaches $24 Million Settlement with N.Y.
News  |  4/20/2012  | 
Hartford Financial Services Group Inc will credit $24 million back to New York holders of accidental death and dismemberment policies under a settlement with state regulators, the New York Department of Financial Services said on Thursday.
Consumer-Directed U.S. Health Insurance Surges
Commentary  |  4/20/2012  | 
There may not be a consensus in the nation's capital on how to control the cost of health care, but businesses and their employees are not sitting around waiting for clarity. They are voting with their wallets for one approach that's already available: Account-based health insurance plans, which offer lower premiums in exchange for high deductibles.
Managing Expectations in Real Time: The Talk of the Week in Insurance
Slideshows  |  4/19/2012  | 
I&T takes a look back at this week's best commentary.
UnitedHealth Benefits From Fewer-Than-Expected Claims
News  |  4/19/2012  | 
UnitedHealth Group Inc posted a higher-than-expected 3 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, benefiting from an increase in membership across its health plans and lower-than-expected medical claims.
Travelers Reports Strong Results As Rates Rise, Losses Fall
News  |  4/19/2012  | 
Property insurer Travelers Cos Inc blew past Wall Street earnings estimates for the first quarter and raised its dividend 12 percent as natural disaster losses declined and insurance rates continued to rise after years of weakness.
Inside a Claims Management Company's Tech Strategy
News  |  4/18/2012  | 
The mantra of Crawford & Co. CIO Brian Flynn: Do things better, faster, and cheaper, with a focus on innovation.
Consumer Auto Claims Satisfaction Dropping: J.D. Power & Associates
News  |  4/18/2012  | 
In contrast to a recent report on property claims, the consumer research firm finds that policyholders are more dissatisfied with auto claims than they have been in months.
Consumers Don't Fully Trust Health Insurers on Social Media: PwC
Commentary  |  4/17/2012  | 
However, people are slightly more likely to share positive interactions with insurers than negative ones.
New Great-West Life App Lets Members Submit Insurance Claims
News  |  4/17/2012  | 
The new GroupNet Mobile app provides secure mobile access to personalized coverage information, allows online submission of healthcare claims, and provides the location of the nearest healthcare providers with access to Great-West Life's Provider eClaims through a built-in GPS-based mapping tool.
Canadian Insurers Use Technology to Battle Cross-Border No-Fault Fraud
Commentary  |  4/17/2012  | 
Insurers are gaining more control over the auto claims process through standardized formatting and transmission of treatment plans and medical billing, plus fraud-detection technology.
Image Gallery: 5 Steps to Customer-Friendly Online Insurance Quotes
Slideshows  |  4/16/2012  | 
The user experience experts at Corporate Insight offer five ways to generate a customer-friendly online insurance quote and evaluate six carriers' websites based on the consultancy's top best practices.
Of Worms and Monkey Wrenches: The Need to Standardize Policy Admin System Business Rules
Commentary  |  4/16/2012  | 
Have the business rules that enables the flexibility and configurability of today's policy administration systems become little more than a second kind of code that we have to manage along with the first?
Dispatches from the Weekend Tornado Outbreak
News  |  4/16/2012  | 
This weekend's tornadoes wreaked havoc within the traditional Tornado Alley, with Woodward, Okla. taking the brunt of the force.
More From Prudential's Joe Hayes: What's the Biggest Challenge in Benefits Administration?
Commentary  |  4/16/2012  | 
Shortly after taking over the top technology post at Prudential Group Insurance, CIO Joe Hayes presided over a study of how employers use technology to deliver benefits. Find out what surprised him the most in that research.
Cultural Factors Key Challenge for Risk Management Implementation in Emerging Markets: Aon Risk Maturity Index
News  |  4/16/2012  | 
Cultural factors key challenge for risk management implementation in emerging markets: Aon Risk Maturity Index
Travelers Enhances Risk Management Suite with New Risk Analyzer Dashboard
News  |  4/16/2012  | 
Travelers enhances risk management suite with new Risk Analyzer Dashboard, unveiled at RIMS 2012, designed to help customers more efficiently analyze loss trends.
Successful Claims Strategies Must Address New Customer Attitudes and Expectations
News  |  4/16/2012  | 
Winning and retaining policyholders often comes down to providing a superior claims experience. But meeting consumers' changing needs and expectations requires insurers to reinvent the claims operation, says Accenture's Michael Costonis.
Insurance Companies Look to Online Retailers as Role Models
News  |  4/16/2012  | 
The consumerization of technology has changed how consumers interact with businesses, and online retailers have led the way in providing the kinds of real-time, personalized transactions that customers have come to expect. Insurers can learn from the retail customer experience to improve their own customer satisfaction.
3 Keys to Turning the Potential Pain of Consumerization Into Pleasure
News  |  4/16/2012  | 
Consumer adoption of mobile, social media and other new technologies requires insurance CIOs to recast their technology architectures and reassert their strategic role. I&T offers three keys to turning consumerization into a competitive advantage.
CFPB Warns U.S. Financial Firms About Contractors
News  |  4/13/2012  | 
U.S. financial institutions may be held accountable for the actions of the companies they contract with for services such as telemarketing or product development, the new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said on Friday.
IBM to Acquire Varicent to Broaden its Analytics Portfolio
News  |  4/13/2012  | 
IBM did not disclose the terms of its agreement to acquire the Toronto-based compensation and sales performance analytics software vendor.
Talk of the Industry: Who Said What in Insurance and Technology This Week
Slideshows  |  4/13/2012  | 
People in the insurance and technology industries have been debating everything from social media analytics to regulatory uncertainty to policy administration modernization challenges. Insurance & Technology gathered some of these words of wisdom, concern and inquiry about some of the week’s most interesting developments that could influence the insurance business.
Highmark Pilots Telehealth with Goal of Reducing ER Visits
News  |  4/12/2012  | 
The western Pennsylvania-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurer now offers some members option to consult with doctor via Internet when they are experiencing a minor illness.
UHC Launches Bilingual Mobile Site
News  |  4/12/2012  | 
The site aims to improve health literacy among U.S. Hispanics by offering content in English and Spanish.
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