Insurers have their work cut out for them. Competition is stiff, and customers are always demanding more. Industries in such environments often turn to IT to improve service and reduce costs. So it's not surprising that insurers are adopting certain technologies more aggressively than some other sectors.
Developing Web mashups, creating new products and services for customers, upgrading desktop productivity software, and deploying web services are some areas where they're ahead of the pack. Many providers also are building self-service portals that their customers can access over the Web. According to one industry estimate, Web transactions cost about 50 cents each to process, compared with up to $8 for those that are paper-based.
The industry also is creating portable personal health records so consumers can track their medical information, even if they switch plans. "Standards will help ensure portability," says Jeanette Thornton, director of health informatics at America's Insurance Plans. The industry wants all providers to offer portable health records by 2008.
As custodians of their customers' personal data, insurers must be careful when adopting the latest IT platform or web service. Perhaps that's why the InformationWeek 500 survey shows that insurers lag other industries when it comes to adoption of some key technologies and processes, including collaborative software, global opportunities, and a global supply chain.
Return to internet news headlines
View Internet News Archive