May 1, 2004 by Canadian Underwriter
Bob Fitzgerald, chairman of the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO), says that the realization of a single-entry, real-time technology solution in information exchange between brokers and insurers is critical to the future success of the property and casualty insurance industry. Speaking at the centre’s 2004 annual general meeting (AGM), Fitzgerald points out that substantial advances, in terms of both technology and industry support, have been achieved over the past year. He refers to the long-standing release of the CSIO’s “first phase” company-to-broker intranet portal.
Fitzgerald notes that the centre now has 328 brokers interested in participating in the portal. “The broker associations [in drumming up support] have done a wonderful job, really unbelievable work, in unlocking the potential of the portal. There’s a lot of passion, a lot of energy to see this through. We’re in the final strokes, we’re at the 20-mile mark, and we’re breaking through the wall.”
However, Fitzgerald admits that the CSIO has much work ahead, not only in development of the industry’s intranet portal, but in its other mandate of setting technology language standards. “There’s much work to be done in further advancing the broker channel.” Furthermore, he notes that the centre is currently engaged in bringing about a “more robust” and open style of governance of the organization’s activities. Despite cost over-runs, he points out that insurers committed to the development of the portal have been willing to step forward with additional funding. The CSIO’s 2003 annual report indicates a negative $5.3 million under “liabilities and fund balances” for last year compared with a negative $3 million for the year prior. Notably, the “project portal deficit” pegged at the end of the 2003 financial year stood at $6.5 million.