November 1, 2000 by Canadian Underwriter
The Centre for the Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) is taking action in its quest to develop a single-entry portal for brokers.
At a recent Insurance Brokers of Toronto Region luncheon, CSIO president Klaas Westera says that a portal was necessary to allow brokers seamless access to insurance companies, including rate comparisons. Now, CSIO is reviewing proposals from technology vendors to create such a portal. Westera says companies using the Internet for direct sales are ignoring the fundamental value of broker distribution, and the potential to put this value to work through technology.
A recent survey of customers visiting insurance websites shows that most visitors left unsatisfied, he says. Frustration with the websites and the inability to find what they were looking for caused almost 90% of customers to abandon online insurance buying. However, Internet use is growing, particularly in the business-to-business (B2B) market, he notes. In fact, 95% of e-commerce is B2B. Brokers have the potential to both take advantage of the speed and convenience of the Internet, while also capitalizing on their added value position, offering choice, knowledge and personalized customer service.
Westera sees XML as the new standard in information exchange, and predicts “it will probably replace EDI (electronic data interchange)”. CSIO has announced a partnership with ACORD, its U.S. counterpart, to harmonize XML standards for the North American market.
CSIO is also at work on standardizing user interfaces, Westera notes. So far, billing inquiries, status inquiries and notice of loss interfaces have been completed, and almost all commercial lines standards are complete. Computer versions of CSIO forms, in PDF and PCL5, are now available.
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