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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Different types of auto insurance

Nowadays auto insurance is the ideal way to ensure a good life for yourself and your expensive vehicle. Auto insurance keeps safe your huge amount of money spent on your automobile. But on the same hand, auto insurance is also quite expensive. However there are different types of auto insurance policies available today. It is at an individual’s discretion which policy he can afford to adopt.

1. Fully Comprehensive Auto Insurance Policy Types- though this policy is the most expensive one yet it is the most widely adopted type of auto insurance. This is so because the insurance provides compensation or covers all sorts of cases such as theft, accident, wear and tear etc. If unfortunately an accident occurs where you were not at fault while the other driver who did the accident does not disclose his and his insurance details; you ought not to worry. For being a policyholder of the fully comprehensive program, you can register an insurance claim against your insurance company. But while taking this policy one essential thing should be borne in mind. There are a few auto insurance companies that do not insure your vehicle 100% of its value but of 80% or so. Even though many companies defend their policy as a measure to prevent themselves from fraud cases etc. yet try your bets to find the agency that insures your vehicle 100%.

2. Third Party, Fire and Theft- this type of insurance is basically meant for those car owners who have had finished their car loans but still admire, cherish their car and have great sentiments attached to it. This policy is somewhat akin to the fully comprehensive one but not identical to it. For like the latter the former covers cases of theft, accident, fire etc. but in case of an accident you can receive compensation only when you were at fault and had hit another car. So if any other car hits yours or you by mistake bang t in the garage, the insurance company will not come to your financial aid.

3. Third Party Insurance- it is the insurance that is the cheapest of all and covers only cases of accident where you were at fault and hit a third party. The insurance company is not to be contacted in case of any other mishappening with your vehicle. This insurance policy is generally preferred by those who own an old and less pricey car or any other vehicle.

4. Specialized Car Insurance- is basically for cars categorized as classic, those that are 25 years old. These cars are insured as classic and so accordingly they have their requirements and services. The classic car insurane policy can be said to be as good as the comprehensive one but the only drawback associated with it is that it limits the policy taker to a limited number of road miles he can drive in any given year.

Ultimately it is at the discretion of every individual which policy he desires to take. It is advisable to sort out one’s requirements and budget and also make a survey of the auto insurance policies in the market before actually grabbing a policy.

Home Insurance: The Easiest Way to Protect Your Home

Every homeowner has a fear of losing his home due to flood or earthquake or any other unavoidable circumstances. One way to remain tension free would be to take an insurance policy which gives you protection of your home against any man made or natural disaster. This insurance is a contract between a homeowner and an insurance company in which you need to pay the premiums. A standard policy insures the home as well as the things which are kept in it.A home insurance not only protects your home but also protects you against liability claims of injury. So it also covers the damage caused by household pets or in case of a theft in your house. This is a necessary investment as you need to protect your home from unexpected events like fires, theft, storms, etc. To find the best policy, one needs to do comparison shopping. Browse the variety of websites and compare what each company can provide for the premium you quote. Shop around for the best homeowners insurance rate and save a lot of your hard earned money.Homeowner's insurance is the perfect way to protect your house which you have bought with your hard earned money. Even if you have a small house, it is your treasured asset. So, you need to ensure that you get the best homeowners' insurance policy for yourself. Make sure that your policy covers your home under the "all risks" clause. A good home insurance policy in place will protect you from a sudden calamity and other unfortunate events which can damage your home. Apart from financial protection, one can also get peace of mind as his or her home is protected against every unfortunate events.Always read the policy carefully and clear out what your insurance doesn’t cover. It should cover you for everything inside your home like furniture, clothes, curtains, etc. The cost of insurance varies depending on the size of the house, value of personal possessions, type of house and the area in which you live. So, go online and find different insurance providers competing against each other. You just need to compare their services and then select the one that suits you. Also take time to visit some home insurance quote sites offering quotes on insurance policies. - Andrena Markley

Last Minute Travel Insurance

Many travellers wait until the last minute before buying their travel insurance, because they know that if they purchase the insurance online, they can have a policy in their hands straight away. This is how most online insurance websites normally do business. However, buying their travel insurance very close to the date they are going to leave town on holiday or on a business trip runs a greater risk of them being uninsured in case they have to cancel their trip.

How can this be? What does waiting to purchase travel insurance have to do with cancelling your holiday or business trip? It all has to do with one of the benefits of travel insurance. Lets say you have plans to go on holiday. You have your plane tickets and have booked a hotel room at your destination. Youve purchased new luggage and some new clothing and you just cant wait to go on holiday - its been so long since you were able to get away!

But... what if something happened to you before you went on holiday? You may become ill or injured, or possibly someone in your immediate family could pass away. Any of these reasons could cause you to cancel your long-planned holiday. Heres where travel insurance would come in very handy. Most travel insurance policies, such as those from insure4less have a type of travel cancellation insurance insurance that would take care of the expenses incurred as a result of having to cancel your holiday. Buying travel insurance before the last minute would avoid the risk of this happening and leaving you out of pocket.

Life is not a given. We never know what is going to happen to us or to members of our family from one day to the next. Anything could come up suddenly that could cause a holidays unexpected, yet forced cancellation. By putting off buying your travel insurance until the last minute, you are making yourself vulnerable to losing not only your holiday but also the money you have already spent. Thats why you should take the time to check out for the best rates and travel insurance for Australians.

People are often busy before going on holiday and can panic when they realise how little time they have left to tie up loose ends before their trip. This can result in them rushing around and buying the first travel insurance policy that they come across. They may be happy that they have managed to grab a travel insurance policy at the last minute but what if something does go wrong and the insurance they have bought does not give them the cover that they were expecting?

Imagine a parent discovering that the policy they bought at the last minute and entrusted to take care of their familys needs while on holiday, ends up turning them down for medical coverage because their childs asthma was considered to be a pre-existing condition by their insurance company. Taking time to shop around and compare policies like the ones provided by companies like insure4less could have saved them a great deal of worry and money. Insure4less provides a list of pre-existing medical conditions which clearly shows what they do cover and asthma is one of them!

It is surprising how many people buy an insurance policy that is not right for them or their situation. Research shows that around 63% of people who are planning a holiday do not bother to take out a travel insurance policy until the last minute. They are not then covered for any of the bad luck that could occur in the run up to their trip which could end up with them having to cancel. Leaving it until the last minute and buying insurance in a rush can often mean they dont allow themselves time to make sure they read the fine print and are therefore getting the right coverage! Many people who dont read the fine print before buying their policy can end up very sorry afterwards however, insure4less have their Product Disclosure right on their website, so that anyone can examine it closely before deciding whether or not to buy the travel insurance policy.

Some people think it is perfectly fine to travel with no insurance at all and do not realise what a huge risk they are taking! If, for example, they were involved in a car accident, what would they do? Without travel insurance coverage, they could very well end up having to pay out an enormous sum of money for medical and other expenses.

If you want to make sure you are covered for your holiday before and during your trip, you should purchase your travel insurance as soon as you have put a deposit down on your flight or accommodation. And, if you are looking for a travel insurance company that has cut out the commission that the travel agent usually gets, and the travellers pay for, check out insure4less! They have a selection of policies to suit almost all needs and budgets.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009 Business and Technology Resolutions for the Insurance Industry

With a very tough 2008 drawing to a close, there are a number of important goals for everyone in the insurance technology industry, including getting up to speed on social media, and improving competitiveness.

By Katherine Burger More from this author
December 11, 2008

If there was ever a time to make New Year's resolutions, it's now, at the end of a year that for most people in the financial services industry can't conclude quickly enough. Looking back at the events of 2008 in order to understand and learn from mistakes is important, but that exercise should provide a foundation for new thinking and improved operations going forward.

Accordingly, the 2009 Insurance Technology Outlook special report in this issue of Insurance & Technology features insights from carrier CIOs and other industry experts about what's going to be on insurance company IT agendas in the coming year. At the same time, I'd like to suggest a few goals for all of us -- resolutions that, even if we only partly achieve them, will help us be smarter and more successful businesspeople.

Related ResourcesContent Management vs. Knowledge Management: What Insurers Need to Know about the Key Differences The Human Side of Knowledge Management: How Insurers Can Unlock People Potential in the Knowledge Economy The Optimized Insurer: Using Analytics to Optimize Business Performance Master social media. It's more than selling insurance via Second Life or featuring a carrier's TV commercials on YouTube. Fluency in Web 2.0 technology and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is now a core business capability for any decision maker. It's critical to collaboration and communication in any business. I'm committing myself to becoming much more active and adept at using social media -- so expect to become my friend and follower in 2009. And look for enhanced online features, tools and content offerings from Insurance & Technology on

Understand the unfamiliar. How well do you really grasp the habits and expectations of the Millennial generation -- your new employees and customers? How much do you know about underbanked individuals, whether they are immigrants in the U.S. or residents of underdeveloped countries? Are you up to speed on cloud computing, mobile payments and telepresence? The events of the past year have made it clear that the world is shockingly interconnected, which makes it imperative for all of us to strive to simultaneously become technologists, economists, demographers, sociologists and futurists. You can't get away with saying, "It's not part of my job description."

Be competitive. It's not devious to conclude that tough times present opportunities for strong and well-managed organizations. Companies that are able to make smart technology investments that improve distribution, compliance and financial management capabilities not only grow profits and market share, they create jobs, pay taxes and give back to communities. It's all good.

Stay healthy. Do I really have to explain this one?

Happy New Year!

Fiserv Insurance Faces Rebranding Challenges, Opportunities

On March 2, 2009, Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv Insurance Solutions will rebrand as StoneRiver, as a condition of the acquisition of a majority share of the company by Trident IV, a private equity fund managed by Stone Point Capital, for approximately $540 million, a deal that was announced in July 2008.

Fiserv Insurance Solutions was obligated by the terms of the acquisition to re-brand within 12 months but has accelerated the process, according to Eddie Jones, the vendor's SVP for marketing and communications. "We felt it was important to go ahead and create an independent identity as soon as possible," he comments. "We have a great deal of transitional activity to do, and the sooner we build the new identity, the better -- for our customers, for our presence in the market and for our employees to begin identifying and building the values that will be StoneRiver."

Related ResourcesContent Management vs. Knowledge Management: What Insurers Need to Know about the Key Differences The Human Side of Knowledge Management: How Insurers Can Unlock People Potential in the Knowledge Economy The Optimized Insurer: Using Analytics to Optimize Business Performance In addition to concerns customers may have about the changes brought by new ownership, rebranding from a well-established name carries the risk that potential customers will fail to associate the new name with the old reputation, notes Karen Pauli, research director, insurance practice, TowerGroup. "However, if done correctly, with a great deal of communication, it is a chance to define the organization," Pauli remarks. "Going out under the StoneRiver name gives the insurance organization the chance to create an identity of its own, apart from Fiserv, where they could, from time to time, get lost in the greater organization."

Fiserv Insurance Solutions/StoneRiver's Jones affirms that the new name will reinforce the vendor's exclusive focus on insurance technology as 'the' business of the company but refers to further benefits related to its new status. "The independence of being a privately held company in a publicly financed space is that we don't suffer from the same kind of market volatility and we have the luxury of investing for the long term in strategic solutions and growth opportunities," he says.

Fortuitous Timing

Among the vendor's longer-term, growth-oriented investments is its Project Ignition, a multi-year effort to establish a common architecture for its core insurance software solutions. The project was launched approximately two years ago and has been in active development for about a year. The vendor plans to complete the common architectural foundation for its products this summer, according to sources.

"While causally unrelated to the company spin-off, the timing of Project Ignition is fortuitous, as it jibes with the notion of a fresh corporate identity," says Donald Light, senior analyst, Celent (Boston). "A common platform also makes sales easier."

Ideally StoneRiver will be able to combine that positive impression with the ability to carry over the positive associations attached to the Fiserv name, according to Light. "That's the challenge they face over the next year or two," he says.

MetLife Boosts CSR and IVR Capabilities

Competing for external recognition has helped MetLife’s call center operations leadership identify the capabilities it needs in order to deliver best-in-class service.

By Anthony O'Donnell More from this author
January 28, 2009

As supposedly solid financial institutions evaporate into thin air, the steady, changeless qualities of an insurance brand are doubtless reassuring. When it comes to service, however, meeting customers' expectations and sustaining a customer-friendly brand means trying to score as the goalposts constantly move. Bearing that challenge in mind, MetLife ($521.3 billion in total assets) has driven relentless improvements in its call center capabilities, aimed at continually improving service even as it seeks to reduce costs.

The New York-based carrier recently relaunched its customer service representative (CSR) Knowledge Assistant application on a KANA (Menlo Park, Calif.) knowledge management platform, reports Todd Fusco, VP of MetLife's business solutions planning unit. The revamped application puts more relevant information at CSRs' fingertips, reducing the time that they need to search for it and that customers have to wait, he says. MetLife also has deployed Nuance (Burlington, Mass.) interactive voice recognition (IVR) software to boost self-service capabilities, making it easier for customers to complete inquiries with fewer steps, Fusco adds.

Related ResourcesContent Management vs. Knowledge Management: What Insurers Need to Know about the Key Differences The Human Side of Knowledge Management: How Insurers Can Unlock People Potential in the Knowledge Economy The Optimized Insurer: Using Analytics to Optimize Business Performance Among the improvements in MetLife's customer service performance -- owing to a combination of the KANA and Nuance applications as well as existing routing and forecasting capabilities -- is a CSR availability rate increase from 67 percent to 85 percent, according to Fusco, who points out that Nuance IVR capabilities have contributed to an increase in self-service efficiency, freeing up CSRs for more-demanding inquiries. He notes that 74 percent of the carrier's customers report being "very satisfied," compared to an industry average of 53 percent.

Karen Hemenway, VP of MetLife's customer sales and service group, relates the latest call center capability improvements to the carrier's quest for continuing recognition as a "Certified Center of Excellence" by Purdue University's Center for Customer Driven Quality. Call centers compete for the distinction on their ability to exceed their industry peers as measured by 28 performance categories. According to Hemenway, in October 2008 MetLife's call center received the designation for the fourth year running, outperforming the industry in 18 categories and demonstrating improvement over its own 2007 performance in 12 categories.

"We have earned internal accolades for high quality and productivity, but we see value in seeking external validation," says Hemenway. "We have learned through the Center of Excellence certifications that there are areas of opportunity for further improving our effectiveness and efficiency."

Optimization Phase

The addition of the KANA-based Knowledge Assistant represents the call center's transition from a building and consolidation phase to one of optimization, according to Fusco. "We're taking steps beyond the core capabilities that any call center should have," he says. "We are focused on both implementing new capabilities and getting the most out of things we've invested in in the past."

For example, KANA has boosted the capabilities of MetLife's MetCare unified service delivery desktop for CSRs, Fusco suggests. Built on Chordiant (Cupertino, Calif.) software implemented in 2000, MetCare connects to disparate systems to draw vital data needed by CSRs. Prior to the deployment of KANA, the Knowledge Assistant application transmitted unstructured data on MetCare through IBM's (Armonk, N.Y.) Lotus Notes.

"While we had the ability to do keyword searches and other queries, there was an onus on the CSRs to look for what they needed in the context of the call they were taking," Fusco recalls. "KANA offers you the ability to create unique knowledge bases and compartmentalize information to maximize and automate search capabilities -- it's the ability to deliver knowledge when and where you need it."

MetLife purchased the KANA software in early 2007 and began analysis and content redesign over the following four months. Building and testing followed through much of the year, and group-by-group deployment began in the fourth quarter. "The larger part of the initiative was rethinking our store of knowledge -- how do we rewrite and rebuild it in context of a customer phone call?" says Fusco. "It was rationalized to the questions customers ask and need, as opposed to being broadly available in volumes of reference materials."

MetLife licensed the Nuance IVR software at about the same time it added KANA and spent most of 2007 analyzing processes and building menus designed to get answers to customers' questions with a minimum of steps, Fusco adds. "The build of development happened throughout 2008, with our first group going to pilot over the summer," he says. "The balance of groups will be rolled out over the next few months, with 100 percent deployment by the end of the third quarter of 2009."

WellPoint Hits the Trifecta

WellPoint (NYSE: WLP) hit the trifecta yesterday, but it wasn't the one that makes you leave the track happy. This triple combination -- investment losses, lower enrollment, and higher medical costs -- caused earnings per share to sink 57%.

Fortunately, investors saw it coming. The stock actually ended up 4% on the day.

The $350.5 million after-tax investment loss hurt, but the damage is done, and the company is still above its required level of capitalization. Aetna (NYSE: AET) and Humana (NYSE: HUM) also reported impairments last year, but none of them are close to needing a bailout like AIG (NYSE: AIG).

WellPoint's membership dropped 1% in the quarter as people lost jobs and couldn't pay for COBRA. Completing the trifecta, medical care ratio -- medical costs divided by premiums -- was up to 83.4% from 82.9% a year earlier. Those higher costs are cutting directly into the bottom line.

Fortunately, premiums reset eventually, and the company should be able to get the cost issue under control this year. Investors will have to wait until the end of next month at the company's investor day to get the full details, but management did say they expect to see earnings in the "low single digits." Not great, but at least it's headed in the right direction.

WellPoint and the rest of the health insurance industry -- UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), Cigna (NYSE: CI), and the like -- will have two opposing forces working on their stocks this year. On one hand, they should be at the front edge of the recovery -- increased employment means increased revenue -- but the unknowns that surround Washington's plans for universal health care (or some derivation thereof) will continue to drag on their stocks.

The only thing WellPoint can do is hope that the economy recovers, hope Washington doesn't dilly-daddle, and keep costs under control while it rides this out.

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