Magazine article Risk Management

Managing Risk Electronically

Magazine article Risk Management

Managing Risk Electronically

Article excerpt

As the explosive growth of information technology spreads throughout the insurance industry, middle market companies are especially likely to benefit from increased efficiency in communicating and conducting business with service providers and carriers. While the ability to arrange commercial insurance programs is presently more of a goal than a reality, an ever-growing number of brokers and agents have established electronic mail services and World Wide Web pages to communicate with and provide risk management information to clients of all sizes.

"Clients are beating down the door for e-mail access, and electronic communications is becoming a mission-critical application for us," says Gary Lasko, senior vice president and director of information technology for Sedgwick's North America operations. "We've established a number of electronic gateways to communicate worldwide. We can send messages to clients and insurance carriers. and we're also exchanging spreadsheet files and other documents to reduce the amount of paper associated with insurance transactions."

Mr. Lasko says Sedgwick offers a variety of e-mail services to match client needs and resources. "For clients with less frequent communications needs, we provide software that enables a company to dial in to an electronic post office we've established. Clients can call an 800 number and connect to our computers in Memphis. As long as a client has a computer and a modem, they can reach us." Mr. Lasko adds that a company that uses e-mail through an Internet service provider or online service can contact the Sedgwick post office. "We're also connecting clients directly to our corporate e-mail system. In fact, we have more clients and carriers listed on our North America e-mail directory than Sedgwick employees," he says.

In addition to electronic communications, Sedgwick has also made a number of publications available on its Web page (www.sedgwickna.com) to help clients research risk management concerns. Newsletters dealing with employee benefits, environmental and public entity issues can be read online. The company has also posted a report on insurance market trends that describes coverage availability and pricing for a variety of industries and provides an overview of the effects of capacity and competition on insurance costs. …

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