Products address a tighter regulatory environment

With tax filings becoming more complex, and state and federal regulators finding new ways to complicate things for those who work in insurance company financial departments, many software manufacturers are responding with new products and new features on existing ones.

For example, Fiserv’s PRO Financial Systems (latest Version 4) is designed for today’s tighter regulatory environment and greater transparency as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners draws closer to adopting provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, says Barb Wild, marketing communications representative based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The suite of software programs encompasses products for general ledger that manage company financial data by way of a user-definable chart of accounts structure, multiple sets of books, and unlimited companies and currencies. In addition, there are products for accounts payable, accounts receivables and fixed assets, Wild says.

Another product, Fiserv Advanced Billing v.2, offers accounts receivable and payable import interfaces that have been enabled as Web services for those insurers needing real-time access and interoperation with .NET- and J2EE-based systems. Version 2.0 also offers additional functionality for processing reinstatements, renewals, cancellation rescinds and interim notices, says Fiserv marketing representative Ann Fawley, based in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Fiserv declined to disclose prices for the products.

Eagle Technology Management, Marion, Iowa, offers WINGS annual/quarterly statutory reporting software, the latest version of which is 2.0.5. Latest features include the ability to interface directly to client developed Excel spreadsheets, and automatic and real-time cross-checking. It is available on disk or via a hosted online service, says Layton Olson, senior vice president.

Benefits of WINGS include that it is a controlled, auditable platform that can process at high speed over the Internet, says Eagle. It connects all users and reporting locations to one server-based platform for NAIC reporting. WINGS is priced at $875 and up, Olson says.

The latest product this year for Eagle Technology Management, Olson continues, is an integrated library of state-specific filing forms. Called State Filing Express, it consists of two filing products, one stand-alone and one that interfaces to WINGS annual statement software. The State Filing Express product is priced at $595 and is designed for insurance accounting and compliance professionals.

The latest version of the Terrace Agent & Broker System, Version 1.9.3, is a full management system for wholesale brokers, MGAs, benefit brokers and retail agencies supporting prospecting, market requests, quoting, policy generating, and policy creation, says Todd Ziesing, spokesman for the Oakland, Calif.-based Terrace Consulting Inc.

The five-user starter system is priced at $13,000. Additional users can be in increments of five. “Terrace is an open, flexible package which supports custom document generation as well as integration with e-mail and Microsoft Office,” Ziesing says. “The system is designed to scale from one to thousands of users in one to many remote offices.”

Balance Consulting, Ann Arbor, Mich., offers through its Manchester Software products to ease the burden of IRS 1099 reporting, making it as penalty-free as possible, says Mary Kallewaard, marketing director.

The two latest versions are TY2005 Manchester Prime and TY2005 Professional.

Prime is for the large life and property insurance companies. It assists companies in complying with IRS requirements for filing 1099 forms for all payments other than wages and salaries. The program supports Taxpayer Identification Number compliance documentation systems to ensure each payee is matched with the correct TIN.

Professional is for the smaller volume filer. It includes built-in validation rules based on the penalty-avoiding procedures.

Both programs include purchase card payment analysis leveraging the merchant coding system for tax reporting, along with printing of statements for states and localities with specific additional reporting requirements.

Kallewaard says Manchester’s license pricing is based on the number of users and return records and starts at $599, which includes up to 5,000 return records.

Advance commission tracking is one of the main features offered in the latest version of CommissionsDue v.4.0 from Captiva Systems Inc., Miami, Fla.

The product serves both life and health agencies and helps personnel find missing and incorrect commissions. “In addition, it will also analyze your production and forecast future earnings by carrier, product line and producer, and even by client,” says Jim McCallion, senior vice president.

The price is $1,495.

The latest version of Captiva’s AgencyWare 2.2 features an RFP Process Wizard and a side-by-side benefit and rate comparison for group benefits. In addition, there is a client service case tracking system and it can be fully integrated with CommissionsDue for commission management.

The product is aimed at both life and health agencies in both the group and individual sectors.

Benefits include the ability to share information between producers, CSRs, managers and clients, McCallion says. “In addition it will also keep a complete history of all service issues, sales opportunities, phone calls, notes, past coverages and rates all in one place,” he adds.