Wow! What a week. There’s been a lot going on here at IdeaStar Insurance Technologies. Here are some of the high-points.

Hurricane Katrina: I’m happy to say that IdeaStar is “ponying up” some funds for relief through the Red Cross. Personally, I went through my stuff at home and ended up with nine big leaf-bags of clothes, bedding, and stuff to ship down there. The problem with submerged flooding is EVERYTHING gets ruined, so they need it all. I find it puzzling that you don’t see the same public reaction to this that we saw for 9/11 and wars, etc. Where are the “God Bless America” window stickers and such? Hmmm.

From an insurance standpoint, it’s great to read that the State of Louisiana is requiring insurers to honor their commitments for all insurance claims, whether they be health, casualty, real estate, etc. — even though the policy holders have moved, are out of work, and/or may be out of network. Those insurance companies that are Web-enabled are having an easier time serving their customers. Disasters like this reinforce the value of the easy access to policy holder information when paper documentation is lost.

Other items of note that kind of reinforce previously mentioned trends:

A promising customer: I had a great conversation with the representative of a medium-sized life insurance company out of Kansas City. The company is “revamping its Web strategy” with an eye toward e-signature processes. They have a senior marketing official leading the charge with Web Dev in his title – part of a growing trend in Insurance marketing.

Another prospect: A newer company wants to take on the Progressive’s and Geico’s in the direct-to-consumer auto insurance industry with aggressive Search Engine Marketing. This company is really fortunate to have an Internet marketing manager that not only knows insurance and sales, but also the Search Engines. She is one of the first people I’ve met with that mix of competencies, and that bodes well for her company…

Good news: IdeaStar has entered the PIMA Marketing Methods Competition 2005 in the Web Site Category. Our entry is a joint venture between Hartford Life, Union Labor Live, Union Privilege and AGIA as the third party administrator. We’re up against some very worthy competitors, but we are very proud of the success of the site and the future potential it represents.

The judging takes place the week after next and the winners will be announced at the MarkeTTech Symposium, Nov. 13 through 15 in Pittsburgh. As I mentioned earlier, I will be a speaker at the conference, and will be discussing the ins-and-outs of I encourage all insurance marketers to attend.

Plus, the Browns are playing the Steelers the opening night. I can get you a ticket, but you have to wear a Browns shirt (and sign a waiver on potential dismemberment)!!!

Blogs DO work: Just in case anybody wonders, blogs do work to help create awareness of whatever you are promoting. As testimony to that, I received two calls this week from promising targeted prospects who found my blog through a Google keyword search using a keyword I’m optimizing on. They will be coming out to IdeaStar to see how we might partner with them on Medicare Part D projects.

Take-aways: Rethink your Web strategy, crank-up your Web development — new players are coming, get your blog in place, and go through your closets looking for things to donate to Katrina victims. They need EVERYTHING.