Close Close

Financial Planning > Tax Planning

Insurance Accounting Apps Allow Detailed Drilling Of Financial Data

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Accounting system packages available in a variety of platforms allow insurers to keep essential financial data in one place and to retrieve and work with it in many ways.

Executives can ask questions that drill deep into the data, produce made-to-order reports and generally retrieve the exact information needed for financial statements, presentations and sales analyses.

While some systems are designed for very specific applications, most systems, however, have enterprisewide applications. Among available systems are the following:

o Wings, from Eagle Technology Management, Marion, Iowa, is a financial reporting platform. Using an insurance company’s financial database, the program produces forms for a variety of uses, from formal financial reporting and compliance statements to tax returns.

Once deployed, Wings can be accessed from any computer or location that corporate security policy permits, says vice president Layton Olson. It automates the collection, preparation and delivery of statutory accounting statements, state-required compliance forms and tax returns.

Data is provided primarily by company accounting and taxation functions, with contributions from such units as actuaries, investment management and reinsurance, the company notes.

Wings is a Web-based package that uses a Microsoft. NET framework, says Eagle.

Training is relatively fast, because the program mimics Microsoft Office, specifically Outlook and Excel. “The vast majority of users self-train,” says Olson, who adds that because it is a server-based application, it can be installed in 45 minutes.

Pricing starts as low as $650 but goes up based on such factors as the number of modules purchased and statement type produced, number of filing entities a carrier has, and the number of states in which the carrier writes business.

Further information and online tutorials can be found at .

o Fiserv Financial Solutions, a product of Fiserv Insurance Solutions Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is designed to serve insurance carriers’ needs for accounting, general ledger, accounts payable and financial statement writing, along with such tasks as check disbursement, the company says.

The product allows executives to review financial statements on their desktops and see where the numbers are coming from, says Fiserv spokesman Darren Graves.

The Windows-based program comes in two versions: PRO, for larger carriers, can take three to six months to install, and PTE, for smaller companies, takes one to four months to be up and running, Graves says. Training, done on site by Fiserv consultants, can take from eight to 25 days.

Costs for the program range widely, depending on number of users and locations and other requirements, but typical prices range from $20,000 to $200,000, the company says.

Further information can be found at .

o SunGard Insurance Systems, Alpharetta, Ga., offers EAS–Enterprise Accounting System–for insurers and their affiliates. It offers central storage of company financial data and automates general ledger, budget, cost allocations, accounts payable, accounts receivable and statutory statements.

EAS is one part of SunGard’s iWORKS product family, and it offers a modular structure that can be scaled to a range of carrier sizes, the company says.

Greg Ford, a SunGard vice president, says EAS originally was designed by five insurers to provide an automatic feed to an electronic filing system they designed for quarterly and annual financial statements. It can be used by start-up carriers or large insurers with multiple divisions.

The product automates and keeps audit trails of financial data and sends information from general ledger to over 80 statutory reports, multiple use accounting bases, says SunGard.

SunGard says it will install the system as an in-house Windows-based arrangement or will service it as an application service provider. Implementation, on average, takes three to four months, depending on applications used. Training, provided in-house or in SunGard’s offices, typically takes two to three days.

Price depends on many variables. The basic module is offered for as little as $30,000, but ultimate costs depend on the number of modules used as well as number of users.

More information can be found at .

o LTC Economic Impact Planning Model is designed for Long Term Care insurance carriers and agencies, according to LTCi Decision Systems Inc., which offers the service. For planners, it provides a set of numbers that can be used to identify or calculate the economic impact of care on family wealth.

“It helps the planner better understand the impact of LTC insurance benefit design choices,” says Ralph Leisle, president of Irvine, Calif.-based LTCi, which manufactures the software.

The program currently is configured as a Windows program for PCs using Microsoft Access, but the company plans to introduce a Web-enabled version of LTC Economic Impact Model within six months. The typical learning period for those familiar with Access is a matter of minutes, Leisle says.

Use of the program simplifies the initial contact with a prospective LTC insurance client. “The market is changing rapidly to where the professional planning community has to begin addressing it,” says Leisle. “This software simply is taking whatever long term care benefit scenario makes sense to the advisor and compares one choice vs. another, such as whether to self-fund or share the costs with an insurance company.”

In addition to financial planners and LTC professionals, users include attorneys, CPAs and estate planners, Leisle says.

Training is built into the program, but phone assistance also is available to users at no extra charge. Time to learn the system will be typically two hours, or the time it takes to use it with two to three LTC cases, Leisle says. “Most producers with any kind of financial knowledge can learn it intuitively,” he adds.

An initial 18-month subscription to the service, which is downloaded from the Web, is $299, and annual renewals are $99. Updates are provided at no additional cost to current subscribers, the company says.

More information can be obtained from .