Amazingly, after so much struggle to succeed with internally-developed Web portals for independent agents, yet another significant health insurer crashed and burned on an internally developed agent portal. This time, over $1 million was spent on a team of 8-10 developers over 12 months, on a system which agents have generally panned. The site has poor aesthetic qualities and a serious lack of intuitive design.

Tell me this: How can a team of AS400 programmers be expected to design and develop an A+ Web portal? You can have all the data in the world telling you the exact functionality desired by the field. But in the final analysis, you have to develop a “restaurant” that agents will be excited about eating at every day — one that will be extremely efficient, no extra steps and clicks — and one that will be 100% accurate. The latter is a heck of a lot easier than the former. How this carrier expected something beyond a C+/B- site is beyond comprehension.

Unfortunately, that’s what they got — a C site. Good luck salvaging that operation. Next time, outsource to a proven Web developer and leave the internal folks to focus on their specialty!