IIABA Upgrades Big “I” Markets Software

March 29, 2004

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), also known as the Big “I,” and its Big “I” Advantage member products team have released an upgraded version of the Big “I” Markets software to their more than 3,500 participating agencies (8,000 registered users).

Big “I” Markets Version 1.2 offers more secure technology, easier navigation and an increased capacity to take on new products.

The release of Big “I” Markets Version 1.2 brings new products from Balboa, Fireman’s Fund and National Interstate. These new products are added to those already available from Atlantic Mutual, Chubb, The Hartford, Selective, The St. Paul and others.

“We held off releasing new products over the last six months waiting for the new software version,” said Paul A. Buse, CPCU, ARM, president of Big “I” Advantage, IIABA’s member products and services subsidiary. “We are excited to have the upgrade behind us so we can concentrate on launching the niche products our members want.”

IIABA launched Big “I” Markets in 1998 based on Microsoft’s then brand new data and permissions management tool, Active Directory (AD). Big “I” Markets Version 1.2 builds on that platform using Windows Server 2003 updates for AD. “By using IIABA’s AD infrastructure, we can control what product or coverage members see based on their license with us and what is available in their states,” said Buse.

The enhanced user interface of Big “I” Markets is built in Object-oriented JAVA while the application data collection and exchange were designed embracing Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) standards. Big “I” Markets 1.2 uses JAVA to control the display of information using AD records and the integration of XML positions the online markets-access program to feed information to insurers and agents without duplicative data entry.

“It is critical that the association’s member benefits and insurance agency operations set the right example in proper, agent-friendly use of technology,” said IIABA President Louise “BeBe” Canter, CPCU, ARM. “Our members struggle everyday with technology and market access. It is important for IIABA to use its infrastructure to grow a forward-thinking, electronic bridge between product providers and independent agencies.”

IIABA’s for-profit subsidiary is adding more than 100 new agencies a month to Big “I” Markets. Big “I” Advantage is an IIABA wholly-owned holding company that operates a nationally licensed insurance agency with $170 million in premiums of member exclusive insurance programs and $150 million in retirement assets.

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