Dispatches from the E-Commerce Frontier.
The insurance industry runs on data, creating the need to handle it more efficiently and cost effectively. That makes electronic commerce an ideal venue for its products and services--everything from selling policies to claims management.
There's no one right way to profit from the Internet. Insurers need to create on-line products that are designed differently, stripped down to their basics and priced at a discount. They need to create an attractive work environment for the members of their technology team. And, because the leading competitors haven't found a winning model yet, the playing field is wide open, according to speakers who participated in A.M. Best Co.'s 12th annual Insurance and Information Technology Conference, "Continuing the E-volution," in Baltimore Oct. 17 to 19.
Some insurers have begun reaping cost savings from their forays into e-commerce. Conference attendees heard how:
* Allstate Insurance Co. saved $100 million with a new computer system that simplified the way the company keeps track of its finances.
* United Healthcare reduced its business cycle time with selected brokers from 30 days to 3 days with a new extranet.
* Reliance Insurance Co. achieved a 59% reduction in its paid-loss overpayment by using a new technological approach to its claims handling process.
Full conference coverage follows. To view the articles and photographs of the speakers online visit www.ambest.com.