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--> Zurich North America and Preferred Concepts, LLC have rolled out nationally; --> Travelers Property and Casualty received the inaugural Pinnacle Award for outstanding leadership; --> Progressive Insurance will use IVANS' Transformation Station...

Schaumburg, IL-based Zurich North America's Excess Casualty profit center and Preferred Concepts, LLC (New York), have rolled out nationally (, an online platform where insurance professionals can quote, bind and issue commercial umbrella policies from their desktops. is designed for agents and brokers with small- and middle-market clients operating in the construction, hospitality, manufacturing, real estate, restaurant, retail, service and wholesale industries. Stuart A. Farber, president, Preferred Concepts, says that since the site became available on a limited basis to agents and brokers earlier this year, many registered producers have already benefited from the offering. "What would have easily taken five to six hours over the course of several days to complete now only takes approximately 15 minutes online from start to finish," according to Farber.

Travelers Property and Casualty (Hartford) received the inaugural Pinnacle Award for outstanding leadership in advancing the independent insurance agent's quest for efficient workflow from the Applied Systems Client Network (ASCnet), the user group of Applied Systems' (University Park, IL) agency management technology. ASCnet gave Travelers the award for "helping Applied Systems users, as well as the independent agent system as a whole, achieve new heights" by being the first to implement a real-time interface with IVANS' Transformation Station, which leverages ACORD XML standards and the Internet to reduce the time and expense for both the carrier and the agency, according to Pete Anderson, president of ASCnet. Other. ASCnet's Interface Committee also presented awards to Auto-Owners (Mt. Pleasant, MI), for Upload Carrier of the Year; Ohio Casualty (Fairfield, OH), for Download Carrier of the Year; and CGU (Montreal), for Canadian Download Partner of the Year.

Transactions processed year-to-date by the AnnuityNet, Inc. (Herndon, VA), platform passed the 100,000 mark last week—the first time ever for the annuity industry and a record for automated annuity transactions over the Internet, according to AnnuityNet. The 100,000 transactions processed include new sales of fixed and variable annuity products and so-called 1035 exchanges of annuity contracts, as well as all investment transactions in variable annuity sub-account funds for annuity products maintained on the system.

Columbus, OH-based Progressive Insurance will use IVANS, Inc.'s (Old Greenwich, CT) Transformation Station to provide real-time insurance transactions to its independent agents. The first transaction that Progressive will make available to agents is access to billing information, using ACORD (Pearl River, NY) XML standards. Agents will be able to access their billing information directly from their agency management system and the first agencies that will have access are ones with Applied Systems' (University Park, IL) agency management system.

Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

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