Insurance & Technology is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


02:43 PM
Connect Directly

UnumProvident Launches Next-Gen Enrollment Platform

Supplemental benefits carrier UnumProvident has begun rollout of, its next-generation, Web-based application that provides a common platform for enrollment for all of the work-site marketer's products and enrollment strategies.

Supplemental benefits carrier UnumProvident (Chattanooga, Tenn.) has begun rollout of, its next-generation, Web-based application that provides a common platform for enrollment for all of the work-site marketer's products and enrollment strategies. improves on the carrier's earlier Plane system by eliminating manual processes and effecting rapid collection of enrollment data in a central database. The new system will be used during face-to-face enrollment sessions, through call center interaction and via employee self-service over the Internet.

While the Plane system could be used to enroll employees across a similarly wide range of product offerings, it only functioned well in a face-to-face, laptop-enrollment scenario according to Rosalind Connor, assistant vice president of enrollment services, UnumProvident. " will allow us to go to the same customer -- including within a one-on-one enrollment strategy -- but also efficiently support employees who are unable to meet with enrollers by enabling them to take those employees to our call center, or even through employee self-service, because it's a browser-based application," she says. also eliminates enrollers having to send electronic files of their enrollment work, or even physical diskettes. Any changes required by employee customers subsequent to enrollment would have to be made with the same enroller, on the same laptop, repeating the same upload and synchronization process. Since data is centralized within the system, employees can deal with any enroller or contact center operator, as well as having the option to make changes via Web self-service. "After an employee goes home to discuss the enrollment with their spouse, they could call our contact center and it would already have the information. Whereas before, the contact center wouldn't have access to that information because it resided on the laptop," Connor says.

"What we've created with this new process is a way for enrollers to just push a button, which will synchronize the data and get it up to the place where we can process it," explains Steve Meller, assistant vice president, enrollment technologies. The platform is built so that it can be adapted to "sniffing out" a wireless connection, according to Meller. "If the connection is there, we will seamlessly start sending data, and the user won't even be aware that it's happening," he adds.

The system's functioning in an "occasionally disconnected" mode presented difficult technology challenges, according to Meller. "There's some difficulty any time you want to allow a Web-based system to work disconnected from the Web," he says. "To address these challenges we've stuck to standard Microsoft [Redmond, Wash.] technology; we use a .NET application framework and we run a Web server on the laptop. We use Web services technologies for when a computer is connected to the Internet to synchronize our data and provide updates."'s employee self-service is currently up and running and other major pieces will launch this fall, including contact center integration. UnumProvident says it will be able to provide core benefits products enrollment on the system by early 2006.

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

Register for Insurance & Technology Newsletters