Archive for June, 2006

29th

The Professional Insurance and Marketing Association Summer Conference is coming up in a few weeks – July 27 through 30 to be exact – and I’ll be there. This year’s event will be at the sunny Silverado in Napa, CA.

The conference theme is Product Strategies in a Maturing Industry. The educational forum will focus on products and related industry developments. Throw in some excellent business development/networking opportunities with leaders in the association insurance marketing industry, and you’ve got the makings for a great conference.

I’ll be meeting with fellow MarkeTTech Symposium co-chairs, putting the finishing touches on the October conference in Chicago. It will also be a good chance to meet with at least three new clients relative to projects in development. Looking forward to chatting with various folks about our new group major med site, about a new MIB (Medical Information Bureau) integration, expanded online agent licensing systems functions, and other hot new stuff from IdeaStar.

Give me a call at 216-674-1600 ext. 116 if you would like to discuss Web-enabling insurance processes at the conference.

Oh yeah… I’m also looking forward to some rest and relaxation with my wife sans kids, and visiting a few of the local wineries. I promise to capture a few meaningful pictures. I can’t promise Laura Bush again, but I’m sure something interesting will surface. :-)

22nd

Here’s something I’m excited about: I’m involved in a really cool project helping a big, multi-line carrier to Web-enable its agent contracting and appointing process. This will solve about 10 major problems with the carrier’s current offline process. Further enhancing ROI, it’s also going to be a potential solution for clients for whom this carrier does agent administration for.

The top 10 issues are:

  1. Incomplete paper work
  2. Appointment fee collections
  3. The integrity of agent hierarchies
  4. Automating background and licensing checks
  5. Contracting thousands of existing Med Supp agents for Part D

Items 6-10 relate more to carrier-specific fixes that will reduce costs and improve efficiencies.

It’s going to be a great site. I hope to nominate it for an AM Best EFusion award next year. By the way, I got the green light to nominate another client site for EFusion 2006. More on that later.

Favorite pic from the weekend: You might have heard that Cleveland had some of the worst flooding in recorded history last Thursday. I heard that the Cuyahoga River crested at its highest level EVER. So a golf fund-raiser scheduled for Saturday in the worst-hit community was in jeopardy. But Saturday dawned absolutely crystal-clear — great conditions for golf (and photography!). So among others, I got a great shot of my playing partner trying to drive the greeen on a short Par 4. It’s hard to see, but the ball is in view east of the pine tree and north of the club head. It will make a great poster — especially in the dead of winter!

22nd

Earlier this year I mentioned 2006 will be the year for online small group insurance. So far, it has been, with more projects on the horizon.

IdeaStar Inc. just launched its first interactive Web site for small group major medical. The site allows a small group representative to enter the group profile and employee census information and receive a preliminary quote from the carrier. The group can then apply for that quote with an automated process. The application process includes functionality which allows employees to enter their protected health information into a private area of the Web site not visible to the employer. The application information is then transmitted to the carrier for a “manually automated” rating process. The final rates are then communicated back to the group for acceptance.

So this is a first step towards consumer-driven health insurance in the small group major medical insurance market. It seems to be the first of its kind in the nation. And it all ties into the Association Health Plan legislation that is currently on the drawing boards.

Notice there was no mention of an agent or a broker in the process. While there is provision for agents and brokers in the process, they are not required. In the short term, this makes it feasible for the small group to get a quote and apply without an agent in a time- and cost-effective manner. In the long run — and I could be way out in left field on this — I see this functionality applying to larger groups and continue to grow in the small group market.

It will be interesting to see how things shake out. I’m currently in discussion on a small group dental plan Web site which would launch in the final quarter of 2006. We’ll see what happens with that as well.

12th

I had an outstanding trip to Des Moines last week. More details later because it’s a great story, but suffice to say that Mark Seghers with ASK Consulting puts on quite a great e-business symposium. This particular carrier was indeed lucky to have such a breadth and depth of available talent in one place at one time. And he timed it so that we got out of there just before the International PORK Expo hit town!

My laptop crashed on the way home, so I lost the pictures I took in Des Moines. Perhaps I’ll be able to retrieve them later. But on the way home as I waited for a stand-by seat in Chicago, I had the urge to snap this picture. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but this traveler was sitting near these two boys telling what must have been great stories. The looks on the boys’ faces are priceless. Notice the dad in the background reading the paper, and the teenage older sister with her headphones on reading a magazine. I love America!

Archives to 2005