Direct Writers And Reinsurers Looking For That Perfect Match
Online dating services are not the only Web-based initiatives attempting to unite disparate partners seeking a long-term relationship. Life insurers and reinsurers are currently exploring new ways to connect in cyberspace. The process, however, has not been a romantic walk in the park. So whats keeping these two crazy kids from finally getting together online?
According to Paul Heinrod, president of eReinsure, New York, a Web-hosted applications provider for the reinsurance market, the industry focus was stuck on the property and casualty market, only recently shifting to the life and health side of the business.
“The issues are simple: being able to process things efficiently, reducing cycle time, reconciling premium issues, streamlining operations” says Heinrod. “But only a limited number of Web-based solutions have been rolled out.”
Heinrod says eReinsure is beginning to explore opportunities on the life and health side of the business.
Terry Pahl, CEO of e-Nable corporation, an MIB Group subsidiary in Westwood, Mass., that provides underwriting support system solutions to the life insurance industry, says the delay in getting reinsurers and life carriers together online is because reinsurers do not suffer from the same legacy problems as life insurers. The legacy dilemma leaves companies to weigh the benefits of continuing with their current systems or opting to develop new platforms.
“Utilizing Internet technology effectively has been a challenge for the primary life insurers due to the very real issues surrounding both the nature of securing medical information for underwriting purposes and the enormity of the legacy system problem,” says Pahl.
On the other side, Pahl says that “reinsurers, acting as early adaptors in areas such as real time pharmaceutical information as well as having the luxury of very little in the way of legacy issues, have been able to more quickly take advantage of the technology now available in order to bring real-time technologies into play.”
Despite the ability to deliver data electronically, “getting the data correct” is not as simple as it sounds. Pat Bresina, vice president for marketing and communications at Transamerica Reinsurance, Charlotte, N.C., says, “Data formats remain a big problem due to a lack of data standardization.”
Bresina acknowledges that industry working groups have been formed to address standards for electronic submission, operating within organizations including the American National Standards Institute and the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development. The goal, she points out, is to leverage the information technology advances made within the life industry at large by the ACORD Life Insurance Data Model.