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Laggards No More

Since the first online purchase occurred some 10 years ago, e-commerce has grown into a $140 billion business.

Since the first online purchase occurred some 10 years ago, e-commerce has grown into a $140 billion business. Much of that growth has been fueled by online banking, which has emerged as one of the most popular types of online transactions. Conversely, online sales of insurance have not only been slow to get started - they've been pretty much a non-occurrence.

But to dismiss insurers as e-commerce laggards would be to ignore the fact that their distribution models have been transformed dramatically in the past decade - thanks in large part to e-commerce. These changes have been driven by market forces such as globalization, regulation and shifting demographics, as well as a host of new, improved and emerging technologies, including Web services, wireless/mobile, content management and business intelligence systems.

In today's truly multichannel distribution environment, agents might not be as dominant as they were 20 years ago, but they probably are more effective and productive than ever before.

The Web is providing an essential resource to distributors, customers and carriers in terms of all kinds of product and market information, account status, pricing and coverage options. This, in turn, makes it easier for insurers, agents and marketing partners to take advantage of market opportunities in a quick and efficient manner.

This edition of Connected Enterprise reports on the insurance distribution revolution and details the ways some of the industry's leading players are achieving the transformation. Visit to learn more about the drive to achieve integrated, "straight-through" sales/distribution processes in insurance and to register for the June 15 webcast, "The Connected Enterprise: Enabling Distribution."

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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