According to the results of a recent study, property/casualty insurers are no longer using the Internet to simply provide information to customers and prospective policyholders, they are using the web to offer clients and prospects a variety of value-added services.
More than 90 percent of respondents to the 20th Annual Information Systems Survey conducted by the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) currently operate a web site. More significantly, many companies are now using their sites to handle claims, provide quotes, accept applications, and provide other customer services.
Among the survey’s key findings:
–More than 23 percent of respondents are currently using their web sites to provide quotes; 58 percent are planning to introduce this feature within the next year.
–Almost 20 percent of those companies surveyed accept online applications; nearly 50 percent indicated that they would accept electronic applications within the next year.
–Twenty-eight percent of respondents currently provide customer claims access on their web sites; 45 percent of companies are planning to add online claims handling service in the coming year.
Despite the increase in the number of insurers accepting online applications, another recent survey conducted by TowerGroup indicated that less than 2 percent of insurance in being purchased over the Internet.
The NAII survey also showed that 92 percent of insurers prefer purchasing computers to leasing. And many of those surveyed said that as their computer dependence increased so did their budgets for technical support.
According to the NAII, company budgets for office technology had increased by 4 percent in the past two years, with almost half of that increase directly related to the hiring of additional technology personnel.
Other findings include:
–Most companies (78 percent) now use Microsoft NT as their primary server operating system.
–Technology expenses account for about 3 percent of direct premiums written, however with companies over $200 million in premiums, a slightly larger share of 3.2 percent of the budget is involved.
–Companies have upgraded their infrastructure to meet the Internet with almost 96 percent using TCP/IP and close to 50 percent on Fast Ethernet.
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