Archive for November, 2006

29th

Are you looking for a major award? IdeaStar will be raffling one off at the Inter-Company Marketing Group (ICMG) annual meeting, January 31 through February 2 in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Yep! It is a replica of the famous leg lamp prominently displayed in Ralphie’s living room window during the 1983 movie classic A Christmas Story (filmed in Cleveland, by the way!).

So if you are attending the conference, stop by our booth and register. We might tell you a little about IdeaStar’s 2006 major awards, including the Best of PIMA 2006 and A.M. Best E-Fusion 2006 Finalist for the development of interactive insurance Web sites. And you might win THE major award (quite a conversation piece for the office!).

The ICMG conference provides an opportunity for insurance/financial services executives to network and develop business relationships throughout the insurance industry. Or, you can simply gather ideas for enhancing your business.

I’ll also be attending the 33rd Professional Insurance Marketing Association (PIMA) Annual Meeting January 18 through 21 in Boca Ratan, Florida. The theme this year will be Understanding-Connecting-Influencing: Our Challenge to Critically Assess and Respond in a World of Change.

Sorry, IdeaStar won’t be giving away a “major award” at the PIMA conference. But it will be a great opportunity to discuss online insurance applications and the benefits of Web enabling your insurance processes.

Maybe I’ll see you at one of the conferences. Just remember, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”

17th

We’ve been busy at IdeaStar Insurance Technologies. In addition to our staples of online individual health quoting, e-signature applications, and agent portal, we’ve got a couple new products that are taking flight.

Small group major medical quoting and enrollment process: We’re just about ready to launch an innovative Web site for small group major medical quoting, application, rating and enrollment. This seems to be the first of its kind in the United States. (Once again, Cleveland is leading the way!)

The system meets the requirements of new association health plan legislation. It automates the traditionally broker-based process and makes online quoting and enrollment accessible to small groups. Employers with two-to-10 employees, or two-to-50 employees will be able to enroll online with ease and significant cost savings.

This is ground-breaking stuff. If I were a carrier, I’d be thinking of ways to leverage this for other channels of distribution.

Agent licensing has also been generating a lot of interest among IdeaStar clients. Web enabling agent appointment processes for health and life carriers who handle hundreds or thousands of new agent appointments every year not only saves time and costs, but resolves accuracy and completion issues. Integrating third party licensing, vector and background checks into the process ensures a legitimate agent sales force. I understand for knowledgeable licensing veterans that this is also ground-breaking.

By the way, we are also getting ready to roll out our new line of business, Spinfield search engine marketing. We’ve provided the service to existing customers for over five years. But the demand is growing – evidenced by Google’s $50 billion in sales this year. I guess search engine marketing (online marketing that gets targeted buyers to your Web site) is definitely here to stay. We’re adding online marketing staff, designers, a podcast/videocast studio, and a Web site usability study area. I’m really excited about our expanded ability to promote client sites (although I could use less of the nail-banging down the hall!).

Well that’s enough rambling for now. I’m really thinking about turkey next week and who gets the drumsticks. We really do have a lot to be thankful for here at IdeaStar.

7th

First a little side-note on LaBron James and the Cleveland Cavs. Last week I went to the home opener with my son. The “Q” was packed with playoff atmosphere. Great time! Especially since they won a close one. Click on the pictures for higher resolution…

Really like this banner on the side of a building next to the “Q”.

Larry Hughes going down the lane for a dunk at the end of the game!

LaBron icing the game with a finger-roll.

Zach and I as taken by a fan in front of us. We both had a “Witness” t-shirt on!

OK, on to business!

Web 2.0 — know that term. Here’s why:

I first heard the term a couple months ago. Although there seems to be an endless number of definitions, from my point of view for selling insurance online, it means developing communities and leveraging them for sales.

Blogs, podcasts, and those types of things are the early frontrunners for Web 2.0. RSS feeds and Ajax are examples of Web 2.0 technology that will facilitate online communities and help them flourish and grow.

The important point from an insurance standpoint for sales is the creation of online communities. For instance, in the past an alumni association might promote insurance products using their brand through regular mail. Then, with Web 1.0, that expanded to Web sites and maybe e-mail. The point being that Web 1.0 represented the rather straight-forward (yet often bungled) process of Web-enabling the traditional marketing process.

Now with Web 2.0, you have a whole new category of self-forming affinity groups that didn’t exist before, that come and go, and that require a whole different set of marketing approaches. It will be fun watching to see how this develops.

Looks like I need to update www.insurance-technologies.com with some new 2.0 ideas….

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