Archive for September, 2007

28th

Susan Hussar, Hartford Life, recently visited IdeaStar and had some compelling insights to share about the future of Web Marketing. I especially appreciate the connections she makes with her recent trip to South America. Susan and her husband went to visit a few exchange students they hosted a few years ago. It’s interesting to hear her thoughts on South America and the cultural applications of the Internet.

She also has some reinforcing thoughts and exhortations for fellow insurance marketers in the affinity space. Be sure to stay to the end and hear Susan’s thoughts on PIMA.

Susan, thanks for sharing. You are a great ambassador for the industry, for the Web, and for the USA!

Susan Hussar, past PIMA chair with Jim Larson, Prudential, her successor at PIMA

Click here to hear Susan’s thoughts on the future of the Web for insurance

25th

This weekend I will be attending the 3rd Annual Podcast and New Media Expo in Ontario, CA. I know… California. Hey, I’ve got to keep up with this emerging media, right!?! Btw, I’m getting approval on Episode 18 right now — it’s a good one.

Even though I am not a major player in the big scheme of things, I hope to pick up some good tips. I will travel out there with 4 of my fellow IdeaStar employees. Joining me will be Brent Williams, our Creative Director, Jeff “JDo” Dolsen, our Multimedia Designer, Laurel Baldwin, my Sales counterpart, and Mary Fisher, our Communications Manager.

Unfortunately I will be pretty busy for 3 full days while I am in Southern California, but I will do my best to try and find some good photo ops. I will also be podcasting, even if I have to do it solo!

Most popular picture from last week:

See more…

Powder Puff Football Game, Seniors v. Juniors!

25th

By Mike Wise, VP IdeaStar Insurance Technologies

I spent some time last week judging entries for A.M. Best’s E-Fusion Awards. For those who are not aware this award “is designed to highlight outstanding, resourceful use of technology as applied to business strategy in the insurance industry.” We were A.M. Best’s E-Fusion Awards. For those who are not aware this award “is designed to highlight outstanding, resourceful use of technology as applied to business strategy in the insurance industry.” We were finalists in 2003, 2004, and 2006! This year’s entries are being judged online through webcasts. It’s a new thing.

I found there to be some very fascinating projects this year. One complaint that I did have was that several entries seemed to be written by the IT people without help from marketing. The writing style made it much more difficult to read and understand, with too much technical lingo, and I’m pretty technical (well, at least I think I am!). My advise would be to have someone in marketing or communications re-write the responses in somewhat simpler terms before submitting the entries.

It was also different and interesting to judge the entries virtually. This threw into the mix the possibility for technical issues, such as some of the demo sites being down — a little frustrating. For me, missing the face to face interaction is disappointing since I am more of a “people person.” But I understand a lot of the typical E-Fusion folks that would travel to the conference are not as enamored with networking and cocktail parties. So virtual works for them. Geez, what does that say about us?!?!?

Otherwise the experience was quite enjoyable thus far. The Finalist presentations are coming up in October. I’d encourage anyone to log in and watch the presentations, either live or in the archives. It’s free after registering.

Click here for updates and links..com/about-us/awards.aspx” target=”new”>finalists in 2003, 2004, and 2006! This year’s entries are being judged online through webcasts. It’s a new thing.

I found there to be some very fascinating projects this year. One complaint that I did have was that several entries seemed to be written by the IT people without help from marketing. The writing style made it much more difficult to read and understand, with too much technical lingo, and I’m pretty technical (well, at least I think I am!). My advise would be to have someone in marketing or communications re-write the responses in somewhat simpler terms before submitting the entries.

It was also different and interesting to judge the entries virtually. This threw into the mix the possibility for technical issues, such as some of the demo sites being down – a little frustrating. For me, missing the face to face interaction is disappointing since I am more of a “people person.” But I understand a lot of the typical E-Fusion folks that would travel to the conference are not as enamored with networking and cocktail parties. So virtual works for them. Geez, what does that say about us?!?!?

Otherwise the experience was quite enjoyable thus far. The Finalist presentations are coming up in October. I’d encourage anyone to log in and watch the presentations, either live or in the archives. It’s free after registering.

Click here for updates and links.

Copyright © 2007 Mike Wise
All rights reserved.
20th

I was recently in NYC for a consulting project related to Japan’s deregulation of utility companies who can now sell insurance and financial services. (Pretty big opportunity in Japan.) While I was there, I was also able to meet with a few insurance companies located in the NYC area. I am still amazed to hear that a few prominent life insurance companies are not using e-signature to its full potential. Geez…

I mentioned this in the consulting project meeting I was in and thought to reiterate what I feel are the critical points to be successful online in the insurance industry today:

  1. Product benefits and pricing
  2. Marketing and communication
  3. Web site and the enrollment process

In that order! The Web is not a panacea, just an enabler.

One of the major insurance companies that I met with in NYC, still has no e-signature policy! It has been seven years since the ESIGN Act went into effect (6-30-2000). People on the Web are using the e-signature process for so many other products these days, let alone insurance. Hopefully they will realize the importance of this opportunity before it passes them by.

On another note, I mentioned that I was going to have the opportunity to visit Ground Zero on 9/11/2007, the sixth anniversary of the tragedy. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The area was covered with flowers and memorials. At the same time it was great to see the subway reconstruction and the plans for the new Freedom Tower which will be 1776 feet tall and is projected for completion by 2011.

Misc pictures from Ground Zero (click the image to enlarge)…

Notice what makes up the ‘windows’… It’s pictures of those who perished.

Double spot-light that has been a fixture… You can just barely see the adjacent building.

Click here to see more from Ground Zero…

A couple more pictures from NYC…

NY Stock Exchange (click to enlarge). I was impressed by the patriotism.

Had lunch on Stone Street – fascinating place…

18th

Joan O’Sullivan, Managing Director, and Mark Poole, SVP/Director of Marketing, both with Marsh U.S. Consumer, which operates through the Marsh subsidiary Seabury & Smith, Inc., graciously agreed to share their thoughts at the 2007 PIMA Summer Conference. It seems rare to get these two industry veterans in the same place at the same time with enough time to consider a few questions.

The subject at hand again is the future of the Web within the Life and Health insurance market. Where are we headed, what’s the opportunity, what are the barriers, and how do we overcome them in order to maximize the potential? I find Joan and Mark’s thoughts appropriate to the current situation we face. And I hope their exhortations are heard by the industry – outsourcing Web development to experts within the field is critical to success. While not intending to disparage internal IT resources, the issues Mark and Joan raise clearly articulate the rationale for outsourcing.

Interesting stuff…. Joan, Mark, kudos to you for braving new territory. Thanks for sharing.

Joan O’Sullivan, PIMA veteran and innovator

Mark Poole, tech savvy, energetic, courageous.

Click here to hear Joan and Mark’s thoughts on the future of the Web for insurance.

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