June 20, 2004 by Canadian Underwriter
Brokers should have more technology options coming their way for web-based interaction with insurers, but those systems need not be exclusive of the CSIO portal, attendees of the Toronto Applied Systems Client Network (TASCNet) conference heard recently.
While Applied Systems is building interest in its online WARP system, the CSIO also took part in the two-day educational event to help brokers understand their options.
“We’re very committed to CSIO,” says Applied Systems Canada CEO Greg Purdy. He believes there is a future role for the portal in Canada, and also for WARP. “I expect the industry will have a collections of ways for brokers to interact with companies.”
In fact, CSIO acting general manager David Patrick says that future may yet be intertwined. Patrick maintains that if a solution arises for future stages of the portal which makes business sense, CSIO will look at it, and the organization is “seriously considering” WARP as a source for future functionality beyond the portal’s phase I quoting.
WARP, which operates in the U.S. as Transformation Station, is in test phase in Canada with two insurers.
Whether talking portal or BMS, speakers say there is both promise and limitation in any available solutions.
Chris Gory of Insurance Portfolio has been testing the portal in his brokerage for 14 months and says it has proven easy to use and reduces errors by ensuring all required information is provided at each step. The portal is also maintenance-free and does not require time-consuming updating. That said, he says CSIO continues to work on improvements to deal with suggestions given by those brokerages taking part in testing and early rollout.
Advancements in broker technology have been hampered in many respects by the development of proprietary insurer web sites, however, says John Belyea of Creighton and Co. His office currently faces several different levels of insurer interaction. Some insurers have proprietary sites onto which brokers must logon individually with varying levels of functionality, leaving him to note that it is sometimes still easier to phone the insurer than to use their site. Other insurers are still working in a traditional EDI environment with old forms.
Whatever the future holds, he explains, he wants to be able to maintain the functionality of his broker management system (BMS). For example, the retention of client history (phone calls, emails, etc.) in the BMS is key in defending against errors and omissions claims.