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Guardian's E-Strategy Evolves

Carrier moves new development in-house while enhancing Web sites.

As The Guardian Life Insurance Co.'s (New York, $32.4 billion in assets) Internet strategy continues to develop, most of its development is now done in-house.

"As some of the new Net technologies become more mainstream, we are moving...development in-house," says Robin Appelbaum, assistant vice president, corporate digital change management group, The Guardian. "You can't outsource the most glitzy work because your own IT people want to work on it."

The Guardian has rolled out two new sites, both developed mostly by internal IT staff. Guardian Benefits Manager lets client companies administer their benefits programs over the Internet and allows employees to check the status of their claims and other information.

The second site, Group Producer Center, is designed to enhance communications between Guardian and the agents and brokers who sell its group products—including life, dental, vision, medical and disability insurance.

New functionality is on the way for both sites, says Susan Bulavinetz, manager, group sales relationship development, Guardian. "They are asking for the ability to check claims and policy status and we are working that into our next stage" of enhancements, Bulavinetz says.

Enhancing Strategy

The focus on convenience is part of The Guardian's overall e-business strategy, Appelbaum says. "We are using the Internet to make working with us even easier and to make our products more attractive," she says. The Guardian e-business strategy focuses on convenience, operational savings, improved retention of producers and customers, attraction of new business and increasing revenue, Appelbaum adds.

In the future, Appelbaum says, The Guardian will focus on pervasive computing and will roll out some wireless capabilities later this year. "Anytime/anywhere is important," Appelbaum says. "We are rolling out wireless capabilities for the field force."

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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