, Chuck Killian and Larry Neilson are the names behind these "headlines."
...Steve Doucette began his career in the insurance business as an agent.He
own agency from scratch in a small town in central Wisconsin and within six years, he
had three agencies.In the meantime, he had an oppor-tunity to join Milwaukee Insurance Group.He eventually sold his agencies and became president and CEO of Milwaukee Insurance Group.
had a kernel of an idea germinating and he
knew more fertile ground lay elsewhere.So with 13 years' experience as an agency owner and insurance company executive under his
headed to Idaho to set up a micro insurance company. (Visit www.roughnotes.com and access the March 1998 issue of Rough Notes
, "Personal lines solution," for more information on this operation.)
"This isn't unique stuff," Doucette
says of the expert system software."What is unique is that we decentralize it." He
emphasizes that to get desired results from technology, organizations must start with a business solution and then find the automation to support it."You must be able to envision the business solution, and then choose and design the hardware and software tools to support that business solution."Trouble occurs when technology leads the business solution, he
"If you're automating the wrong things, it doesn't solve the problem," he
continues."The independent agency system has been unwilling to picture different business solutions.Great Northwest
has taken dramatic chunks out of the cost structure."Thanks to timing and technology, he
company has "taken what's been described as 'a terribly inefficient system' (personal lines and small commercial lines distributed by independent agents) and made it--cost wise--the most efficient system in the industry.
"It's simply a joke that a large, centralized institution points at the local entrepreneurs (agents) and says they're cost inefficient," he
contends that the personal lines market is simply too significant to be ignored.He
recalls looking down from an office building window at a busy intersection.
The system, Doucette
believes, is inherently flawed because of all the layers of expense built into it; and all the technology in the world isn't going to improve on that.The company cost structure includes the home office expense, the branch office expense and finally the agent expense."No matter how you automate, you aren't going to save enough dollars to be competitive," he
...Doucette, Killian and Neilson agree: To get desired results from technology, organizations must start with a business solution and then find the automation to support it.
Author's note: Steve Doucette
, Chuck Killian and Larry Neilson were participants on a "Forward Technology" panel moderated by Virginia Bates at the IIAA's National Convention
...Steve Doucette Great Northwest Insurance CompanyTelephone: (208) 725-0667E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org