July 2006


Crossing the Great IT/Business Divide
The successful use of technology is so important, and poor utilization of it is so costly, that insurers must develop a corps of professionals within the enterprise who know how the company works, understand how technology can serve the business' strategic goals and can communicate that to people on both sides of the business/technology divide.

Case Study
A Tight Schedule
OSF HealthPlans eliminates manual errors in batch and claims processing with Advanced Systems Concepts' ActiveBatch Job Scheduler.

Doubling Up Data
GGI develops an in-house solution for enterprisewide business continuity with NSI's Double-Take software.

One on One
Workflow First, Technology Second
Neal Ruffalo, Vice President of Enterprise Technology, ACUITY Sheboygan, Wis.-based ACUITY's ($1.4 billion in assets) technology strategy is to make doing business easier for its 10,000 independent agents and customer service representatives. But Neal Ruffalo, vice president of enterprise technology for the regional carrier, which has P&C and commercial lines of business, believes that placing fancy technology in front of inefficient workflows is putting the cart before the horse. Instead, Ruffalo and his IT team focus on developing systems that support well-designed workflows and not the other way around.

Implementing Advantage
Penn National Insurance is overhauling systems and driving IT initiatives to achieve STP -- and boost competitiveness.

Virtual Roundtable
A Good Investment
Challenged by reduced returns, complex investment vehicles and stringent reporting requirements, insurers are deploying portfolio management systems to track, value and report on their investments.

Security Outlook

Uncovering Crooked Claims
Finding fraudulent claims can be challenging. But with the use of rules-based analysis, data mining and predictive modeling, insurers are waging a war on scam artists.

Names in the News
Jenks Offers Creativity
Over the nearly two decades that Bill Jenks has been a CIO, he has worked for diverse employers, from Northrup Grumman to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to international advertising and media company Publicis Groupe (Paris).

Supporting Thrivent's Growth
Holly Morris has joined Thrivent Financial for Lutherans ($67.5 billion in assets under management) as CIO at a time when the Minneapolis-based financial services company and fraternal benefit society is looking to increase the number of its clients engaged in both product ownership and participation in charitable programs.

Executive News

From The Editor
Market Shifts
There were few surprises at this year's ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum in Las Vegas, which was wrapping up as I&T went to press, but there was evidence of some interesting trends.

Mass. Revision
In an effort to create more-affordable health insurance, the state of Massachusetts has passed legislation that will overhaul the market, requiring carriers to rethink their IT.

Sound Investment
Moderate tech expenditure reduces risk of The Standard's entry into the individual financial planning and investment management space.

Driving Competition
The next competitive push in auto insurance could be driven by usage-based policies.

Foundation for the Future
MassMutual prepares for long-term document handling and a modernized voice and data network.

Cooperative Care
To take care management to the next level, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee brings disease management in-house.

Alliances and Partnerships


Back To Business
RSA Secures Transactions
RSA Security has unveiled two new authenticators for enhancing the security of online transactions between agent and carrier, including the submission of electronic signatures.

The Big (Not So) Easy
The Louisiana Senate Insurance Committee has approved legislation that the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America fears could raise rates for consumers and drive insurers that still are dealing with the effects of Hurricane Katrina from the Louisiana market.

Opening a Gateway
Looking to speed the launch of a new annuity product, West Des Moines, Iowa-based Midland National Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Sammons Financial Group, implemented XAware's Annuity XCelerator, a catalog of SOA-based services that provides a standards-based gateway between the carrier and its broker-dealer network, according to Paul Swenson, second vice president of Midland.

Acquiring Automation
American Capitol Insurance has completed the consolidation of the disparate administration systems it inherited from eight acquisitions in the '90s.

A Successful Submission

July Techwatch

Want a Revolution?
The words "revolution" and "insurance" typically are not thought of in the same context, but that is exactly what IASA is aiming to do with this year's Annual Educational Conference & Business Show, "An Education Revolution."

5 Technologies You Need to Know About
Keep your eye on these innovative hardware and software solutions, which have the potential to change all the rules.

A Better Metric For IT Efficiency
High efficiency and low cost don't always equate with operational excellence.