IIABA LAUNCHES BIG “I” MARKETS VERSION 1.2
ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 26—Following nine months of development, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), also known as the Big “I,” and its Big “I” Advantage member products team have released an upgraded version of the Big “I” Markets software to their more than 3,500 participating agencies (8,000 registered users).
Big “I” Markets Version 1.2 offers more secure technology, easier navigation and an increased capacity to take on new products.
The release of Big “I” Markets Version 1.2 brings new products from Balboa, Fireman’s Fund and National Interstate. These new products are added to those already available from Atlantic Mutual, Chubb, The Hartford, Selective, The St. Paul and others.
“We held off releasing new products over the last six months waiting for the new software version,” says Paul A. Buse, CPCU, ARM, president of Big “I” Advantage, IIABA’s member products and services subsidiary. “We are excited to have the upgrade behind us so we can concentrate on launching the niche products our members want.”
IIABA launched Big “I” Markets in 1998 based on Microsoft’s then brand new data and permissions management tool, Active Directory (AD). Big "I" Markets Version 1.2 builds on that platform using Windows Server 2003 updates for AD. “By using IIABA’s AD infrastructure, we can control what product or coverage members see based on their license with us and what is available in their states,” says Buse.
The enhanced user interface of Big “I” Markets is built in Object-oriented JAVA while the application data collection and exchange were designed embracing Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) standards. “We have all kinds of technology,” continues Buse, “but the important thing is that we are using our technology to bring members what they want.” Big “I” Markets 1.2 uses JAVA to control the display of information using AD records and the integration of XML positions the online markets-access program to feed information to insurers and agents without duplicative data entry.”
“It is critical that the association’s member benefits and insurance agency operations set the right example in proper, agent-friendly use of technology,” says IIABA President Louise “BeBe” Canter, CPCU, ARM. “Our members struggle everyday with technology and market access. It is important for IIABA to use its infrastructure to grow a forward-thinking, electronic bridge between product providers and independent agencies.”
IIABA sees the enhanced portal as a key member advantage and one that will increasingly unite its members in the future.
“Perhaps the most important aspect of Big ‘I’ Markets Version 1.2 is that it helps bring to the marketplace a combined Big ‘I’ member distribution force for specialty products,” asserts Buse.
IIABA’s for-profit subsidiary is adding more than 100 new agencies a month to Big “I” Markets. “With software enhancements, several successes behind us and thousands of members with access, we look forward to helping more of our members, more often,” adds Buse.
Big “I” Advantage is an IIABA wholly-owned holding company that operates a nationally licensed insurance agency with $170 million in premiums of member exclusive insurance programs and $150 million in retirement assets. A sister entity publishes IIABA’s award-winning Independent Agent magazine.
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.