Canadian Underwriter

CSIO role in future portal development uncertain

April 24, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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At today’s agm for the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) attendees learned that the industry association is looking at different options for the development of future phases of its broker-insurer portal project.
With the first phase of the portal, a web-based interface for insurers and brokers, about the move from testing into launch, the CSIO’s future role in unclear.
CSIO chairman Howard Moran says, “There is general recognition that the inherent structure and the level of expertise within CSIO inhibits the ability of the organization to proceed with portal development beyond the introduction of the first phase of the project.” However, Moran gave no clear indication of how the project would proceed without CSIO’s involvement in the future phases that were outlined over the past several years. In its first phase, the portal offers only some services, such as quoting, for specific lines of business, namely personal lines.
“Those who have been associated with the project from the outset are of the realization that henceforth the project must take another direction if this segment of the industry is to transact its business in the most efficient manner,” he continues. “In this regard your board [the CSIO board] is weighing a number of options that would see the portal initiative carry forward keeping in mind the best interests of brokers and insurers.”
Last year, the portal project costs grew to more than $3.3 million, taken from the “portal project fund” established earlier. Then as now, CSIO insists funding is available to see the portal’s first phase launched and subsidized until it becomes profitable. However, the fund’s balance at yearend 2002 is more than $3.4 million in the red.
The agm announcement follows the departure of CSIO president Klaas Westera earlier this month. He was replaced in the interim by director of portal operations Marshall Lee, now “general manager”.
Lee points out that beyond the portal, CSIO achieved other milestones this year, specifically with regards to maintaining and updating industry standards, resuming control of CSIOnet and adding a CSIO Helpdesk, and enhancing the organization’s website.
The agm also marks the retirement of chairman Moran after five years.

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