Colorado Springs Technology Briefs: September 14, 2001

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Point-of-sale management merchant Insurance Technologies recently entered into an agreement with Centrelink Insurance and Financial Services to provide marketing services to Centrelink’s 40,000 agents via IT’s ForeSight software package and support services.

Most insurance brokers typically work with a limited number of insurance carriers when getting insurance quotes. The problem isn’t the number of carriers available but rather the complications associated with carriers not speaking the same language. Each insurance carrier speaks its own language when relaying information to the broker’s company. The ForeSight system allows all parties to speak the same language, thus giving insurance brokers and their potential clients more insurance packages to choose from.

The agreement between the Colorado Springs-based Insurance Technologies and Woodland Hills, California-based Centrelink includes a software package that supports desktop, Internet and an illustration system that insurance brokers can draw from when agents service potential customers. Insurance Technologies draws its revenues from insurance carriers who use the services to translate the company’s information to Centrelink’s system.

The broker enters the information into the ForeSight software system via the Internet or software program, selects the best product for the client, and creates a full illustration on the spot. If the sale is then made, the broker can bring up a forms’ menu on the computer, complete it online and submit it to the carrier. The date of purchase is automatically validated. This streamlining process can reduce business support staff, is easy and quick, allows the broker the opportunity to present more options to the client, and reduces maintenance and training.

Negotiations between the two companies have been in the works for about three months, said Cliff Chaney, vice president of business development for Insurance Technologies. The response from participating insurance carriers has been positive, he said, adding that the feedback is allowing IT to develop the product to the carrier’s specifications. It should be available and in use by Centrelink’s 30 brokers within two months.

“The challenge is that, in effect, you need to have a way to have the carriers come together and agree on a single PO management tool,” said Chaney. “They all want (to use) their own system. We ended up working with Centrelink and they have enough weight with the carriers so the carriers can make a business decision.”

If an insurance carrier chooses to work with the system, they would contact IT’s office to wrap and reuse the carrier’s calculation engines, said Chaney. Updates would go through the same company and Insurance Technologies would charge a per product/per broker fee and a monthly fee.

Insurance Technologies, located at 2 S. Cascade Ave., was established in 1995 and now employs 85 people.

Non-profit chooses USA.NET

USA.NET Inc. bagged another big one when the ISA-Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society chose the Springs-based service to provide e-messaging services to its more than 39,000 members around the world in 110 countries.

“This is a trend we’re seeing with nonprofit (organizations),” said USA.NET spokesperson Danette Lopez. “Membership and dues are important to their survival. They are learning that if you give members a reason to come back … it’s easier to reach out and touch them when you need to renew their membership. Especially with the economy. You’re fighting for those dollars. When it comes to money-raising time, it’s easy to go out and raise funds.”

In effect nearly two months now, the service provides e-mail boxes to members of this engineering society. By bringing the members together into one cohesive unit, ISA can send out notices, newsletters and information pieces at a lower cost than printing and mailing. The Web messaging service cost varies from $3 to $10 per person per month, said Lopez, depending on amenities.

“We’ve seen more RFI (request for information) that RFP (request for proposal),” said Lopez. “Businesses are looking at outsourcing. (They are) looking at getting the most from our resources. If they are paying large IT salaries, they want to focus on initiatives and not messaging. It is critical to internal and external communication.

“We’re finding they’re (businesses) looking to expand. We have not seen a slowdown as far as request for information. When the economy affects our customers, it affects us. (But) the total cost is so much less than running a system in-house.”

Other large accounts the local companies attained this year includes Palm.net services with several hundred thousand users, United Airlines with about 37,000 users and the small home office market associated with Toshiba computers. It also has a strategic partnership with Hewlitt-Packard and Microsoft. It employs 350 people with about 300 working in the Springs’ office. Other office locations include Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago and Denver.