New Products Introduction Trend Continues At IASA Annual Meeting

By Ara C. Trembly

Denver

Picking up on a trend seen just 12 days earlier at the ACORD conference in Orlando, the IASA Educational Conference and Business Show held here featured multiple new technology products aimed at cutting costs and boosting productivity in insurance and financial services.

While acknowledging that attendance at the conference was “down a bit from last year,” IASA Executive Director Joe Pomilia said the group was “still pleased with the activities.”

Many of the announcements at the conference–held June 1 through 4–concerned technology products designed to help carriers improve IT efficiency and improve service while reducing costs. Several were of interest to the life/health industry.

INEA Corporation unveiled its INEA Performance Management Suite, a financial services performance management system for the insurance industry.

The company claimed the new software will enable insurance companies to deliver “a holistic view of performance and profitability across the enterprise, easily and cost-effectively.”

The product offers the same features as INEAs software for banks but adds features that are specifically important to insurers, said Toronto, Canada-based INEA.

These features include: sources of earnings reporting; embedded value calculation; key performance indicators; planning and forecasting across multiple dimensions; balance sheet planning; sales performance, compensation planning and scorecarding; investment yield and portfolio planning; pricing/reserving models, and statutory capital requirement reporting.

Pricing for the new product is in the $2,000 to $3,000 per seat range, with volume discounts available, an INEA spokesperson stated.

More information is available at www.ineacorp.com.

Coverbind Corporation launched its 101 Document Finishing System (DFS), designed for in-house publishing and electronic printing departments, in-house reproduction centers, office duplicating areas and policy distribution departments.

The new machine can professionally bind documents up to 120 sheets of paper at a speed of 900 documents per hour, said Wilmington, N.C.-based Coverbind. The 101 DFS is a table-top thermal binding system suitable for casual, as well as production use.

According to Coverbind, simple controls guide the operator through every step. The bound documents have “the professional, book-like appearance of documents finished in a commercial bindery.”

Copies are moved along an internal conveyor belt which first heats, then cools each document. “This permits the 101 to finish documents faster than most electronic printers or copiers can produce them,” the company added.

The machine is suitable for binding reports, training manuals, policies, contracts, proposals, annuities, financial reports, tax returns and numerous other documents, said Eileen Pardo, chief operating officer of Coverbind.

The 101 DFS is priced at $4,495, a company spokesperson added.

Systems Union Inc. announced the SunSystems Insurance Financial Portal, a Web-enabled service that provides pre-configured key performance indicators and management report processes for “better business management, decision-making and increased financial transparency.”

The portal is the result of an alliance between Systems Union and Scruggs Consulting, an actuarial and systems firm in the insurance industry, said United Kingdom-based Systems Union. It can deliver cost savings and efficiencies due to reduced implementation, customization and training time.

In addition, the portal is built with technology to streamline financial management functions, such as integrating business processes, consolidating data from multiple environments and delivering real-time information to financial users, the company noted.

“Financial and IT professionals in the insurance sector continue to spend significant time and resources deploying ineffective generic enterprise portal solutions because large vendors are simply selling empty boxes to the masses,” stated Alan Hall, director, Americas Insurance Group, SunSystems. “We have built a specialized portal solution that incorporates the best practices and requirements of many of the worlds leading insurance companies.”

Portal offerings include: a “dashboard” view of the corporation in real time; real-time alerts tied to business goals and activities; pre-configured reports, as well as links to all financial management and analysis software used in the enterprise; and drill down analysis to help identify problems, the company said.

According to a company spokesperson, a “typical” deployment price for the financial portal is $40,000 for new customers. More information is available at www.sunsystemsamericas.com.

Lawson Software announced an alliance with managed hosting provider Velocity Outsourcing, under which it will provide p-c and life insurance carriers with software and computing applications hosted at Verizon data centers.

The outsourcing effort will address carriers needs to “maximize operational efficiencies, manage profitability, provide actionable information to make business decisions and be in compliance with regulatory and statutory reporting requirements,” said Lawson.

By outsourcing planning and installation of the information technology environment, clients realize benefits sooner than in traditional in-house implementations.

According to St. Paul, Minn.-based Lawson, Verizon Information Technologies and Lawson will market their products and services through Velocity Outsourcing. Velocity offers scalable system capacity and the ability to add storage “on demand,” the company said.

Other benefits from Velocity include: lowered costs of changing technologies to adapt to new software solutions; reduced cost for specialized IT personnel; and improved predictability of IT costs, said Lawson.

Further details are available at www.velocityoutsourcing.com, www.verizonIT.com and www.lawson.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, June 23, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.