Well, we had a great time at the Inter-Company Marketing Group Annual Meeting in Phoenix this past week.ICMG is all about strategic alliances between insurance companies and distributors. NETWORKING is the main activity.

The focus this year was Insurance Strategic Alliances….The Power of Partnership. From my perspective there were a lot more people looking for technology partnerships than in years past.

Our company, IdeaStar is a full-service Web development firm which designs, programs, promotes and manages leading-edge Web sites and e-business applications – especially for the insurance industry. We were exhibiting at the conference.

What was the buzz? It seems that the stranglehold of the inhouse IT department is waning. Several people stopped by our booth and mentioned they can now talk to us about outsourcing Web development and hosting.The top brass, it seems, are finally realizing that IT is best focused on back-office stuff, not marketing sites. There is a lot more to selling insurance online than simple Web pages. I remember one guy in particular who was so pleased and excited because the company president had finally said, “Get this done and do it outside.” Another company has hired a senior vice president of e-business. Seems like a lot of good is starting to happen for health and life insurance e-business.

I spent a lot of time telling people about e-signature and all the different products IdeaStar has Web-enabled career-to-date. We’ve done health products, life products, senior products like Med Supp and Part D, and property and casualty. Search engine marketing is another area which anybody who is selling insurance online needs to be aware of.

The next ICMG meeting will be in about a year in Naples, Florida. I hope to be giving a presentation then.

Oh and by the way, the trail ride was fun too…