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23 December 2013Chuck Johnston
On Friday December 13, Guardian Life hosted a Celent Peer Networking Event focused on the Group and Voluntary Insurance market. This is the second in what has become a recurring forum on the IT and business issues insurers need to address in the evolving benefits space. The discussion was focused on the areas one might expect including the state of the market, data standards, exchanges, and enrollment and billing systems. Key points and questions from the discussion included:
- A discussion led by Celent around developing a capability/maturity model for the Group and Voluntary space to help ‘set the bar’ for process and technology investments. This was based on a model Oliver Wyman (Celent’s parent company) has developed as part of their Health and Life Sciences practice.
- Guardian’s Group Insurance CIO presented on their efforts to develop a Group/Voluntary insurance billing solution that intelligently handles multi-product, multi-system billing schemes in conjunction with existing administration systems. Interesting discussion that highlighted that few billing vendors get the Group/Voluntary space.
- Unum’s CIO presented on their drive to promote/develop a data interchange standard for the Group space in partnership with other insurers, starting with Guardian. While there are standards that are helpful in moving data around specific products such as ACORD and HIPPA, there is no overarching standard around ancillary benefits that enables plan and product level data exchange in a consistent and effective manner. The insurers at the table agreed to consider working with their peers to accelerate a standards process through ACORD.
- Next was a roundtable discussion on the impact of the various types of exchanges on the market and the growing recognition that exchanges themselves are simply a tool that will be used by government, direct insurers, and broker/consultants to further multiple distribution models. The topic then turned to enrollment systems and the need to work with multiple providers of enrollment data including but not limited to the carriers own enrollment system.
- Craig Weber, CEO of Celent then wrapped up the day with a discussion around driving innovation in the group/voluntary insurance space, citing examples of transformative business models in adjacent spaces, which sparked a lively conversation on the future of employee benefits.