Wolfgang Schlink, chairman, president and ceo, Allianz Insurance Company.

Wolfgang Schlink, chairman, president and ceo, Allianz Insurance Company.

Tell me about your company's background and the products/services it offers the risk management community.

Allianz Insurance Company (AIC) is part of the Allianz Group, one of the largest insurance and financial services groups in the world. One of Allianz's strategic goals is to be the leader in international industrial insurance. Allianz specializes in global property/casualty insurance programs and has a network of owned companies in 70 countries.

In what ways do these products/services impact on your risk management clients' bottom line?

Global programs provide balanced risk transfer solutions and thereby cost benefits to the corporate client.

Are you finding that risk management clients are becoming more demanding, as their role continues to develop?

Corporate clients are looking at risk increasingly in a holistic way, not just in terms of insurable vs. uninsurable risk. The new approach includes pure financial risks of the corporation, currency risks, loss of market share, etc. We will see a convergence of traditional risk transfer, alternative risk transfer and aspects of asset management in the coming years to satisfy the emerging needs to cover risk. (This is also the answer to question 5.)

Do you believe risk managers have a full understanding of the potential modern technology offers?

The use of technology, especially web enabled applications, is still in its infancy as far as business to business (B2B) e-commerce is concerned. It is a work in progress. In its initial stages it will include easy access (on the web) to client specific information like claims or engineering data. Ultimately it will evolve into online trade, i.e. receiving submissions, providing quotations, issuing policies, implementing and administering programs. Business will be conducted faster, information will be more accurate, the whole industry will be more efficient as e-commerce eliminates manual hand-offs in the classic distribution chain between risk manager, broker, insurer, reinsurer. While risk managers have given the performance of the industry (carriers and brokers alike) fairly marginal grades, we do not see a major push into modern technology. But, with the increased adaptation of e-business in every walk of corporate life today, we expect this trend to evolve soon within the risk management community. AIC is already active in the areas of claims and engineering reports online and has an underwriting application for global insurance programs in development.

How do you see your risk management products/services developing in the future?

See answer to question 3.

Linda Leigh Long, president, Insureon.com, Inc.

Tell me about your company's background and the products/services it offers the risk management community.

Insureon.com provides risk managers with the ability to have their account marketed to the insurance carriers through a reverse bid auction platform, thereby achieving the most competitive market pricing for their insurance. The risk managers is directly included in the marketing process thereby giving them control throughout negotiation period.

In what ways do these products/services impact on your risk management clients' bottom line?

Insureon.com's process improves their bottom line by providing them with competitive pricing on their insurance, while allowing them to specify the terms, conditions, services and carrier selection.

Are you finding that risk management clients are becoming more demanding, as their role continues to develop?

Yes, they are demanding to be more involved in the process of marketing and negotiating their insurance specifications and pricing. Insureon.com is the perfect platform for them to achieve this goal.

Do you believe risk managers have a full understanding of the potential modern technology offers?

Yes, however most technology platforms have not addressed risk management type accounts. Insureon.com built its revolutionary technology specifically for commercial middle market and large accounts.

How do you see your risk management products/services developing in the future?

Insureon.com continues to expand into various product lines and continues to develop new technology to address complex transactions to benefit the risk management community. The internet and technology as a whole will provide risk managers with more information and better transactional platforms to improve their decisions and make the overall process and value of their job better and more efficient.

Robert G. Petrie III, managing director, practice leader, Risk Management Technologies, Marsh Inc.

Tell me about your company's background and the technology products/services it offers the risk management community.

Marsh is the world leader in risk management and insurance broking. We

are a major subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), a global

professional services firm that also has businesses in investment management and consulting. Marsh has 32,000 professionals deployed around the world and serves clients in over 100 countries. We've been providing client technology solutions, both product and services, for

two decades. These solutions today include state-of-the-art software products and related services that help clients manage their total cost of risk.

A major example is STARS, our risk management information system (RMIS) that collects and standardizes data from multiple sources to create a consolidated view of a company's risk profile including claims, exposures, locations, policies, action items and contacts. Our InMind product is a suite of interactive risk management and brokerage applications including subscription services, project management tools, and claims management software. It streamlines day-to-day operations, allowing our clients to focus on the risk management needs of their organizations. InMind is available 24 /7, worldwide. TrendTracker is a powerful application for designing, executing, and monitoring various types of audits in such areas as risk management, loss control, environmental, claims, and health and safety. The application automates the entire audit process from initial design to evaluating the results. Our whereiwork.com is a comprehensive information resource for employee benefits and human resource professionals. It offers news, reference materials, forms, benchmarking data, and interactive tools. The web-based system can also deliver a company's benefit plan information directly to employees, streamlining the process. E-Train is a suite of interactive, multi-media training modules that employees can access via CD-ROM or the internet. These are just some examples of the breadth and depth of technology solutions we are bringing to clients.

In what ways do these products/services impact on your risk management clients' bottom line?

Our real focus, as is the case with all of our services, is to help our clients improve their bottom lines. In fact, Marsh's mission statement says we aim to “create and deliver risk solutions and services that make our clients more successful.” Our technology strategies align with that principle very precisely. Of course, the specific impact of our solutions varies by application and client, but almost always involves a combination of lowering costs, identifying risks, evaluating alternatives, and automating risk management functions. Many of the solutions deliver our traditional services through a technology vehicle.

Are you finding that risk management clients are becoming more demanding, as their role continues to develop?

Our clients are more demanding because they have to be. The risks their companies face today are growing in number and are becoming more complex. This means the scope of risk managers' responsibilities is increasing at a time when they are expected to do more with less. We see technology solutions as an effective response to this challenge and a major value we bring to our client relationships. Accordingly, we

will continue to enhance our current solutions and develop new ones as the demands on our clients continue to increase.

Do you believe risk managers have a full understanding of the potential modern technology offers?

Technology is advancing so quickly that it's almost impossible for anyone in any profession to always have a full understanding of what is available. However, we find that risk managers are quite astute in grasping the potential of technology to help them do their jobs and are receptive to new ideas that accomplish that purpose. Our goal is to just offer client solutions that take advantage of new technology developments and to work closely with our clients to provide insights on how technology can continue to play an important role in their risk management functions.

How do you see your risk management products/services developing in the future?

Our technology developments will continue to be client-centric, focusing on what our clients say they want and need. With that said, we expect to focus much of our efforts on the web and will continue to migrate existing products to the internet. One thing is certain: Technology, increasingly, will be an integral part of the solutions we provide to our clients. At the same time, a vast majority of our clients tell us they place a high value on face-to-face consultation

and advice. Against this reality, the key role of technology is to enhance our client relationships by making communications, collaboration, administrative tasks and transactional functions easier and less costly.

Mark Dorn, vice president, Policy Management Systems Corporation.

Tell me about your company's background and the products/services it offers the risk management community.

DORN is a Policy Management Systems Corporation (PMSC) company. DORN and PMSC will change their names to Mynd on 1 May, 2000. Together they will continue to provide risk, claims and safety management information systems to Fortune 1000 companies and other large public and private organizations involved in workers' compensation, general liability and other property/casualty-based insurance programs. DORN serves one of the largest installed risk management information systems user bases in the industry with more than 500 client locations in North America employing its RISKMASTER and QUEST product lines.

DORN has consistently been a leader in introducing new technology solutions for its clients since 1982, when it created RISKMASTER; the first PC-based risk management system. Over the years it has won many industry awards for its innovations.

RISKMASTER users are self-insured, self-administered, insured (or guaranteed loss programs) and third party adjusters/captive clients. Within user organizations, RISKMASTER is a tool of the risk manager, claims manager, cfo, human resources (HR) director, safety director and/or corporate legal counsel. Users employ RISKMASTER to control the total cost of risk, which can often be expressed as 1% to 4% of total corporate revenue. The total cost of risk often includes claim costs, losses, loss control costs, insurance costs, medical expenses, legal fees, settlement costs less any recoveries or subrogation amounts. These organizations spend a minimum of $3 million for property or casualty insurance on a self-insured or purchased basis.

In what ways do these products/services impact on your risk management clients' bottom line?

RMIS programs can improve client measurements and management of performance ratios and indicator data.

  • Average total workers' compensation WC claims per employee based on total HR population

  • Average lost time days per body part or injury type per year

  • Average lost work days per 200,000 work hours

  • Average total days a claim is open ( i.e. GC, WC, MO, VA)

  • Average settlement amount or total incurred per closed claim by line of business

  • Average cost of medical only claims

  • Average legal costs per claim by topic

  • Quantity of lost time cases greater than seven days or state reportable limit

  • Lag time from event date to claim date or to suit or close date

  • Average total quantify of claims per adjuster per year

  • Average closed claims per adjuster by dollar threshold range

  • Quantity of incidents per hospital bed

  • Estimated legal costs to settle compared to final actual legal costs paid

    to settle.

    RMIS also help users:

  • Identify potential vulnerabilities and implement programs to help reduce, exposure to loss and liability.

  • Focus more on consolidating risk management information from many locations and by streamlining the claims process.

  • Provide department managers with statistical data monthly so they can take

    corrective action to prevent recurrence of accidents.

    Are you finding that risk management clients are becoming more demanding as their role continues to develop?

    We are seeing positive new demands in risk management. Risk managers fall into two categories. One group funds and implements visionary programs with realistic resource plans for chief risk officers, global risk systems, internet ROI and various value propositions. These executives see risk management as an investment with a return. The other group is not as comfortable with new technologies. As a result, they are reluctant to make necessary changes and see RMIS more as an expense than a valuable investment.

    Do you believe risk managers have a full understanding of the potential modern technology offers?

    Most do. I believe that more time and effort to justify and quantify their technology results, success and value-added would help. They cannot blindly delegate, or leave planning and decision making on technology to only technology people. They need a technology plan that relates to key performance and operational goals they set for reducing the total cost of risk.

    How do you see your risk management products/services developing in the future?

    We see services and partnerships as well as new products all linking together to enhance the value the client needs. We see claims being settled faster and more fairly. We see less paper. We see 24/7 solutions. We see enterprise risk management as a natural next step. For all these reasons we've developed our web-based global risk systems product which we're unveiling at the RISK and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) conference in San Francisco. More and more of what we do will have an e-commerce component.

    Dennis Replogle, president, SRS.

    Tell me about your company's background and the products/services it offers the risk management community.

    SRS was established in 1990 as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. as a specialty services provider for national accounts. Over the years, our company has evolved and expanded well beyond the traditional definition of a third party administrator (TPA). In addition to providing superior claims administration, loss control services and RMIS, we offer industry-leading actuarial services. We've committed significant resources to becoming the leader in the field of performance measurement that includes internal and external benchmarking. Our actuarial team is dedicated to helping identify loss cost drivers so that our clients can determine where to focus loss control resources. Additionally, we help our clients see themselves in relation to their peers, their industry and their own past so they can make fully informed business decisions.

    In what ways do these products/services impact on your clients' bottom line?

    We continually improve and expand our services with one primary goal in mind: to help our clients reduce their loss costs. To that end, SRS provides the full spectrum of core risk management services starting with loss control to prevent accidents and losses. When a loss does occur, we set in motion our expert claim professionals armed with leading edge technologies to quickly gather and analyze information necessary to properly manage the loss and contain costs. In the bigger picture, our benchmarking helps our clients actually measure their progress.

    In the technology area, we've partnered with Corporate Systems to introduce SRSummit, our new on-line RMIS SRSummit helps our clients identify and analyze trends. It allows them to drill down to determine the type, and where and how losses occur. It brings together critical information from our Teleclaim, medical management and bill review systems and adjuster notes making for easy access to and analysis and manipulation of data essential to our clients' success.

    Are you finding that risk management clients are becoming more demanding, as their role continues to develop?

    Risk managers are more sophisticated than they used to be and their demands are keeping pace with their level of sophistication.

    They tend to have a good grasp of technology and want real-time information. Products like SRSummit feed that appetite but risk managers continually challenge us with new, more complex demands, just like any good customer should.

    Do you believe risk managers have a full understanding of the potential modern technology offers?

    Not only do risk managers have a full understanding of technology's potential, but they drive our industry's development of technology.

    They understand that information is power. That lays down a gauntlet for us to provide them with better, faster, smarter and more powerful technology and with more ways to construct and deconstruct information so they can make better business decisions.

    How do you see your risk management products/services developing in the future?

    We will continue to expand our ability to produce broader, deeper, real-time data because we clearly understand that businesses need to make the most informed decisions possible, quickly. Knowledge, power and success all flow from the speed and accuracy of information and how easy we make it to use.

    We will expand our benchmarking and analysis to better help our clients know where they stand in comparison to their industry group, peer group and their own past record. This information is invaluable in determining where to focus resources and developing successful loss management plans.

    Finally, SRS recognizes the growing need for a third type of claim professional who will provide a higher level management of medical-only claims and keep them from escalating into more severe losses. These individuals will possess a higher degree of skill than the traditional medical-only technician but less than that of the more highly skilled claim adjusters. SRS is currently studying the most efficient way to deliver this new level of claim service in the future.

    Brian Turley, vice president, Strohl Systems.

    Tell me about your company's background and the products/services it offers the risk management community.

    Strohl Systems has established a single focus: to support those responsible for maintaining the continuity of their operations with the highest quality systems and services available. The company has held true to this vision with continuing improvements to both systems and services until today, more than a dozen years after its founding, Strohl Systems is the global leader in continuity planning.

    The company provides offerings in three major areas: education, to help clients understand the array of risks and threats that await the unprepared; consulting, to help clients prepare for and defend against those risks; software, to help clients identify the cost of identified risks, to support the planning process, and to prevent and recover from disruption. It also publishes a guide to walk continuity planners through the entire process. These offerings provide the foundation for effective planning and management to keep operations functioning.

    In all of its offerings, Strohl Systems combines the worldwide experience of its recognized leaders with the unique capability to completely tailor its products and services to the individual requirements of its customers. The company's passion for customer service guides product and service development and underpins its business philosophy.

    In what ways do these products/services impact on your risk management clients' bottom line?

    In recent years, more and more organizations have seen the requirement to develop recovery plans not only for their technology infrastructure but also for their time-sensitive business processes and support organizations. This wider scope of planning, business continuity planning, is absolutely essential for environments in which the core business unit processes are highly dependent on the ready availability of both people and complex technology. A maintained and tested business continuity plan provides a high state-of-readiness for our clients, thus enhancing survival and the speedy restoration of services following a disaster.

    Addressing business continuity planning helps to minimize the financial and operational exposures to the company, its stakeholders and its customers should an incident occur that would render its business operations out of service for an extended period of time. The cost of having an outdated or ineffective plan during an actual disaster can far outweigh the cost of implementing a business continuity program.

    Are you finding that risk management clients are becoming more demanding, as their role continues to develop?

    We don't feel that risk management clients are necessarily becoming more demanding. Actually, we have noticed a dramatic increase of awareness and knowledge of business continuity planning.

    Do you believe risk managers have a full understanding of the potential modern technology offers?

    Again, we really believe that risk managers have a much better understanding of business continuity than they had in the past. Along with that, they have become much more aware of the tools and technology that are available to assist their organizations.

    How do you see your risk management products/services developing in the future?

    On the business continuity service side, we are seeing an increasing client preference toward “facilitated” consulting assistance. This approach involves our consultants serving as teachers and mentors to the client project team. The facilitated approach represents a dramatic difference from the more traditional full time consultant team that would accomplish the entire project with minimal effort on the part of the client.

    On the business continuity software side, we believe a trend is developing toward the software vendors serving as application service providers. More and more clients are preferring to outsource the maintenance and physical location of their electronic plans to Strohl Systems. We have responded to that need and expect this trend to continue.

  • Valerie Denney is the North American editor of Global Reinsurance.