National Underwriter - Five Obstacles To Becoming Customer-Centric: According to Siebel Systems Inc. in San Mateo, Calif., "most organizations approach customers from an ‘inside looking out’ perspective, rather than from the customer’s ‘outside looking in’ perspective." Five major obstacles typically stand in the way of achieving this customer-centric orientation, the company said: • Information silos. Customer data is scattered throughout the organization in discrete areas or "information silos" based on product or line of business. "This gives organizations a highly fragmented and incomplete view of their customers," said Siebel. • Disconnected channels. In many organizations, information channels are not synchronized, which could result in a disjointed and unsatisfying customer experience.
Tuesday, March 05, 2002
 
Claims Magazine - Much has been made in the press in recent years about the potential impact of an aging population in the U.S. Politicians, columnists, commentators, and pundits have all speculated about the effect of an aging population on Social Security benefits and taxes, the demand for retirement housing, and investment yields and strategies. There has been little comment, however, on the impact of aging on our workforce, especially as it relates to workers’ compensation. Are older workers a liability or an asset? Will our society be burdened by the cost of supporting a large retirement population or will people continue working to much later ages? If they do retire later, will that bring extra costs and burdens to the workers’ compensation system or can any exposures be managed with a reasonable level of workplace customization?
Tuesday, February 26, 2002
 
National Underwriter - The question of performance-based compensation for adjusters was initially discussed in my column of Sept. 10, 2001. The question arose from a former adjuster, who wrote: "I believe the adjuster has to be free of financial interest in the outcome of a claim or there can be no confidence in the fairness of the system." We concluded that the comment was directed at bonus or incentive compensation, not at merit systems to evaluate insurance company adjusters for regular compensation and pay raises. Two types of performance-based systems were identified--those based on results, and those based on activities.
Monday, February 25, 2002
 
Insurance Information Institute - Many policyholders have seen the price they pay for auto and homeowners insurance increase over the past year. In 2001, the average cost of insuring cars and homes both rose by six percent nationally. Similar increases are projected for 2002. The increases may have taken some policyholders by surprise given that they came after several years of flat to decreasing prices. While these increases translate into a relatively modest $40 for the average homeowner and $45 per vehicle, many policyholders are understandably concerned about higher insurance costs and have been left wondering why their premium rose and what they can do to keep costs down in the future.
Thursday, February 21, 2002
 
Claims Magazine - Ready to curl up with a good book? Want to advance your knowledge of risk management? Great! You can kill two birds with one stone (or heavy book). Your author annually ventures a humble (and admittedly subjective) opinion on the best risk management books to come out over the past year. This time is no exception. A drum roll, please, as I open the envelope. And the winners are, in no particular order: The Three Faces of Executive Liability by Richard Clarke, Academy of Producer Insurance Studies, P.O. Box 27027, Austin, TX 78755-2027, 800-526-2777, $25 + $2.50 S&H. The author, an executive with Palmer & Cay in Atlanta, also wrote the excellent 1994 book, Maximizing Coverage — Minimizing Costs. Clarke’s newer book focuses on the exposures, coverages, and risk management aspects of directors and officers, employment practices liability, and fiduciary liability.
Thursday, February 21, 2002
 
Insurance Journal - A report in P.R. Newswire said the U.S. property & casualty insurance industry -- suffering from declining investment returns and unprecedented claims from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- could retain $30 billion annually through aggressive transformation of the way it processes insurance claims, according to global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, a subsidiary of global services leader EDS. A.T. Kearney conducted the study following its effort to understand the impact of the attacks on the insurance sector as part of the New York City Partnership‘s Economic Impact Study. The analysis indicates insurance companies could possibly emerge from the near-term fallout stronger, provided they embark on concentrated efforts to better underwriting results and enhance operational performance.
Sunday, February 10, 2002
 
Claims Magazine - Here’s a stumper for the next time you’re in the midst of a cutthroat game of movie trivia: What on-screen profession do Woody Allen and Ronald Reagan have in common? None other than that of a claims adjuster. Woody Allen’s recent Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001) continues a tradition of adjusters in film that goes at least as far back as Reagan’s 1939 film, Accidents Will Happen, in which Reagan tracks down an organized insurance fraud ring while trying to appease his wife who is discontented with the small paycheck he receives for the work he finds so interesting (the more things change…). Claim adjusting is quietly becoming a hot profession in Hollywood, as no less than six films in the past few years
Tuesday, February 05, 2002
 
National Underwriter - Because an individual's credit is "very personal in nature," the use of that information is "an issue fraught with a lot of misunderstanding," observed Roger H. Schmelzer, vice president, regulatory affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. "That makes it dangerous as people get emotional about things," he added. David F. Snyder, assistant general counsel for the American Insurance Association in Washington, stated that although insurers use credit information in vastly different ways, the AIA hopes that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Market Conduct and Consumer Affairs "D" Committee will consider only whether any additional legislation or regulation is necessary on credit scoring.
Sunday, February 03, 2002
 
Insurance Journal - According to a Business Wire report, insurers will have to strengthen their loss reserves in order to be able to meet future claims, as stated in a new Conning & Company study. Though property-casualty rates have been growing in the recent past, reserves are not at the necessary levels to cover the rising costs of claims. According to the study, eight of the nine property casualty lines are severely deficient with a total reserve deficiency of $16 billion - money desperately needed to catch up to claims made between 1998-2000. In addition, the recently acknowledged recession and the events of Sept. 11 will further pressure insurers‘ ability to return to profitability. The study claims that individual insurers, however, appear to be slow to take action when having to deal with the need to strengthen their loss reserves.
Thursday, January 31, 2002
 
Insurance Journal - Results released from Weiss Ratings Inc.indicate that, even with a recession, only 40 insurance companies failed in 2001, a modest 5 percent gain over the 38 failures recorded in 2000. However, according to a Business Wire report, property and casualty insurers represented a disproportionate 34 of the 40 insurance company failures, with the Reliance Group‘s insolvency alone representing 12 of the property/casualty company failures. Conversely, the number of HMO failures dropped for the second straight year, falling 58 percent to 8 in 2001, from 19 in 2000. Among the 48 insurance companies and HMOs that did not survive in 2001, Weiss had handed out financial safety ratings on 36, with 92 percent of those given weak or lower ratings. The leftover 8 percent had been given a fair rating.
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
 
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