Blog


Peak Hurricane Season Arrives
August 27, 2008 @ 08:46 AM | By Anthony O'Donnell

A second tropical storm is in currently in the neighborhood, as former Hurricane Gustav was weakened by slamming into the unfortunate island of Hispaniola. However, Gustav is predicted to gain enough strength to qualify as a hurricane again by tomorrow and is headed toward the Gulf Coast. It remains to be seen whether the storm's path and intensity will be enough to call claims executives back from their vacations.

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Liberty Mutual Agency Markets: A Business Perspective
August 26, 2008 @ 15:56 PM | By Nathan Conz

If you're a subscriber to the print edition of Insurance & Technology, you have likely received the September 2008 issue that mailed recently. Contained within the September issue was a Carrier Confidential feature on Liberty Mutual Agency Markets, the Liberty Mutual Group business unit responsible for the Ohio Casualty and Safeco integration efforts. Not contained within that article though, were comments from Joe Gilles, an Agency Markets executive vice president. As manager of finance, actuarial and administration, Gilles was in a unique position to discuss Liberty Mutual Agency Market's IT environment and philosophy from a business perspective. Excerpts from my conversation with him are below.

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Explaining Coverage to the Consumer
August 18, 2008 @ 18:47 PM | By Anthony O'Donnell

The next step for efforts such as Allstate's "Coverage Checkup" will be for them to rise from being a gimmick to attract customers to being a standard service by which insurers can further differentiate themselves. This service will likely develop as have others in the e-commerce realm, appearing early on in the form of tools in the hands of CSRs and distributors, and later as self-service functionality available through the carrier's customer portal.

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Need to Speed up U.S. Broadband
August 18, 2008 @ 18:17 PM | By Anthony O'Donnell

The speed at which Americans access the Internet has declined from first place to 15th since the network came into existence, according to Speed Matters, a Communications Workers of America union (CWA) non-profit outlet that just published its second annual state-by-state survey of broadband speeds. InformationWeek's report on the survey noted that while the median download speed enjoyed by Americans is 2.35 Mbps, Japan's speed is 63.6 Mbps. That decimal point is not misplaced.

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Passwords Are Dead, Long Live Passwords
August 12, 2008 @ 17:09 PM | By Nathan Conz

To someone who just wrote a cover story on single sign-on technology, the theme of a recent New York Times article was pretty out-there. It suggested that it was time to abandon password-based log-on procedures all together in deference to a authentication model that relies upon cryptographic "handshakes" between computers.

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Mapping the World of Risk
August 12, 2008 @ 17:03 PM | By Anthony O'Donnell

Risk atlases can be useful to companies in all industries seeking to expand their geographical footprint. These resources can also be valuable to insurers as the industry globalizes further, or simply as P&C companies consider selling lines of business covering executives who travel to places like Colombia or Pakistan.

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When Good Isn't Good Enough
August 05, 2008 @ 18:34 PM | By Nathan Conz

I've written enough articles on transparency tools, mobile-enabled provider search capabilities and physician rating systems that, as an insurance technology journalist, I feel that the health industry is in a pretty good place with their consumer-facing web sites. However, as a consumer, I know that the industry still has a long way to go. Health insurers' web sites are still, in many ways, limited. At least in my experience, I've found basic tools such as provider networks directories to be out of date and incomplete. Has functionality improved drastically over the past five years? Sure, but, as start-ups like ZocDoc.com show us, there's so much more than can be done.

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