The insurance industry is moving to end the clutter of “sticky notes” with passwords on monitors everywhere with a tool that reduces the need for agencies to keep multiple passwords.
A non-profit industry coalition, ID Federation Inc., today introduced SignOn Once (SignOnOnce.org), which allows agency staff to use one login to securely access systems of multiple carrier business partners for transactions such as quoting, submission and account management.
According to information from ID Federation, every month, 25 percent of employees forget three or more passwords. About 60 percent rely on memory, and 30 percent use sticky notes, a Word document or spreadsheet, or “other” means — all of which pose a security risk.
The group also claims that the majority of help-desk calls are about forgotten passwords and each reset can cost up to $150 in lost productivity.
According to ID Federation leaders, SignOn Once can reduce the time that agencies, carriers and vendors spend on managing passwords while simultaneously enhancing the security of connections.
Time and Security
“With SignOn Once, the ID Federation aims to greatly simplify workflow and processes, saving hundreds of hours per day for everyone involved in the business of insurance, including — most important — agency users,” said Gray Nester, senior vice president of BB&T, an ID Federation board member.
“Technology offers tremendous advantages to all parties in an insurance transaction,” said Teresa Addy, business technology analyst at EMC Insurance Companies and a leader in the development of SignOn Once. “But requirements such as signing on to individual websites of various carriers and recalling numerous passwords have worked against agency efficiency.”
The system uses token technology to authenticate each user’s identity. Each user receives a unique identity token based on his or her own distinct credentials. This token is certified for authenticity and is used to facilitate ongoing access to each participating and certified SignOn Once carrier site or vendor.
While the process is streamlined and seamless for the user, there are multiple checkpoints and verifications behind the scenes as users move from site to site, according to the group.
The force behind the new tool, ID Federation, is a group of volunteers from agencies, carriers and vendors that has been working on creating a way to secure technology authentication for as many parties as possible in the insurance industry. The group includes the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s ACT (Agents Council for Technology), the Real Time/Download Campaign, ACORD, technology user groups and others.
The group, which has been working on this idea for several years, is managed by VTM Group based in Beaverton, Ore.
The ID Federation board of directors includes Brian Bartosh, Top O’ Michigan Insurance Agency; Jim DeVito, Progressive Insurance; Jim Rogers, The Hartford; David Ward, Hanover Insurance; Bob Slocum, The Slocum Agency; Doug Johnston, Applied IVANS; Mark Craig, Vertafore and Gray Nester, BB&T.
Also, the ID Federation consults with Dazza (Daniel) Greenwood of Civics.com and the MIT Media Lab. He is an expert in online privacy and identity.
Carriers that have already signed-on as members include Progressive, Hanover, The Hartford, EMC and Liberty Mutual.
Agencies that have signed-on include BB&T, Top O’ Michigan, WRG, Slocum and CAI.
Agency technology vendors Vertafore and Applied Systems and their user groups, along with ACORD and the Agents Council for Technology (ACT), are also members.
The ID Federation is now inviting insurance carriers and vendors to participate in SignOn Once. Carrier and vendor members must become certified to participate. Membership information and benefits are available at SignOnOnce.org or by contacting info@SignOnOnce.org.
The ID Federation has published a Trust Framework spelling out operating agreements for business, legal, and technical rules to define and govern use of SignOn Once.