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12:12 PM
Jim DeVito, Progressive
Jim DeVito, Progressive

Insurers Can Solve Agent Password Complexity Through ID Federation

Independent agents offer lots of value to consumers, but this choice comes with the complexity of managing many passwords and protocols. Here's how one group is working to change that.

Passwords, Passwords, Passwords! You’ll find password management consistently near the top of any list of agent pain points. The choice that independent agents offer is a fantastic value proposition for consumers; however, the ability to offer choice brings with it the complexity of managing the myriad passwords and password protocols associated with each carrier.

In order to address this agent concern, I’ve joined representatives from other insurance companies, vendors and trade organizations to form the ID Federation, Inc. Our mission is to promote information security and identity management for trusted transactions across the financial services and insurance industries for purposes including but not limited to reducing transaction friction, lowering cost and bolstering independent agent access.

Using the guiding principles of:

  • Security
  • Efficiency/Ease of Doing Business
  • Cost Reduction
  • Interoperability, and
  • Standardization
we aim to create and promote the adoption of standards that solve for this complexity.

  1. Federation — Refers to technology used to accomplish our mission of removing multiple passwords
  2. Trust Framework — Also known as operating rules, this document contains the business, legal, and technical rules which implement federation technology
  3. Trust Framework Entity — The entity, ID Federation Inc., owns the Trust Framework documentation and its strategic direction

Our work will benefit independent agents by moving them from the sticky note nightmare of managing multiple password protocols to a simple, secure logon, no matter which carriers or vendor solution they use. Carriers and vendors will be able to lower their help desk operating costs by eliminating frequent password reset requests and authentication issues. Management system vendors will have standardized technical implementations and common legal agreements that enable them to offer products that connect agents to multiple carriers, and by managing authentication for all applications centrally, they can reduce coding and maintenance, and more efficiently scale authentication.

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User Rank: Apprentice
7/24/2012 | 3:12:01 PM
re: Insurers Can Solve Agent Password Complexity Through ID Federation
Four things need to happen to accelerate adoption of federation within the insurance industry:

1. Independent agents need to become more vocal in asking for it. Currently, some are aware, others have even seen a demo, but there is not yet a critical mass of agents demanding this type of functionality from the carriers they do business with.

2. Industry analyst firms such as Gartner, Forrester, Celent and Novarica would be well-served in creating written case studies on this type of initiative. The security aspects are not well known outside of the security community itself and can benefit from analyst insight. Besides, how often do you see insurance carriers collaborating. This could be the reference model for social business going forward.

3. Let's face it, getting the word out for new paradigms takes a lot of energy. Right now, this is based on a coalition of the willing, educated and those willing to do their own homework. Others however may need a lot more handholding as to how all of this works and with a team that has a day job, the current model may not scale in this regard.

4. Leverage technology vendors to aid in the evangelism. Federated identity can be realized using a variety of technologies in a vendor agnostic way but that doesn't mean you don't need vendors. They need to find a way to leverage large IT providers such as HP, Cisco, Accenture and Cognizant to help them further spread the value proposition to others.
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