Magazine article Risk Management

Insurance Information on the Internet

Magazine article Risk Management

Insurance Information on the Internet

Article excerpt

Technologies such as electronic communication are becoming more important as we approach the 21st century. Getting started and taking advantage of the vast resources may be the hardest part. In this new monthly column, Risk Management will examine how risk managers and insurance professionals are using technology. We'll also show you interesting applications to help you break out of traditional methods and take advantage of information services like the Internet" RIMSNET and other resources.

In this month's column we will highlight the Internet, which allows more than 35 million computer users to exchange information 24 hours a day-often at little or no cost. For example, during the Northridge earthquake, California's Office of Emergency Services provided live damage reports on the Internet. Information was available to companies that were not able to communicate with their facilities due to the failure of long-distance telephone service during the crisis. During the Laguna fires, information on the damage and deployment of emergency crews was available through FIRENET, an Internet server based in Australia.

More recently, insurance organizations and companies followed the progress of hurricanes Erin and Felix by using weather servers that provide information on tropical storms worldwide. Users were able to monitor hurricane warnings, real-time satellite photos, tracking maps, public advisories and intergovernmental discussion groups. The National Hurricane Center, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other organizations provide free information on the World Wide Web.

This information revolution is well under way. More than 100 insurance companies and organizations are already connected to the Internet, and the number is growing rapidly. Insurance-related publicalions, trade associations, educational institutions and companies are using or evaluating the Net to provide products, services and information. Existing insurance-related World Wide Web sites have been established by Insurance Canada (http://www.insurance-canada.ca/insurcan/ index.htm), the Insurance Resource Center (http://web.sunbelt.net/~thigham/insure/htm), IVANS (http://argusinc.com/kelly/ivanhome.html), Skandia (http://www.skandia.se/ units/afs/us/) and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (http://www.naic.org/). Sites are being developed by the College of Insurance and other organizations.

The Internet provides new services, markets and opportunities. For example, in addition to the ability to exchange text messages, the Internet allows users to take advantage of graphics, multimedia, video and audio communications. …

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