Stake a Claim to the Insurance Market
Whether it's general products or market-specific forms, ingenuity is the best policy.
Even in a conservative marketplace, setting yourself apart from the crowd is critical for success.
Case in point: More than a dozen years ago Hart Information Services in Austin, Texas, wanted to penetrate the insurance market on a national level. "We were latecomers to the national marketplace," said Sherrell Kidd, vice president, "and our chances of penetrating it weren't great. In most cases, the insurance industry is very conservative, and if these companies are being provided services through a reliable and dependable vendor, they're slow to change."
Adding to the problem was a large national competitor already providing print services of the same variety that Hart had been doing in Texas.
The solution? Hart charged full-bore into the e-form template business. "It made us different from those suppliers who couldn't see the benefit of converting a $30,000 a year print customer into a $5,000 a year electronic forms customer," said Kidd, "but we had nothing to lose, and it has proved to be the backbone of our insurance market venture outside of the state of Texas."
Fast forward to today, where Kidd notes that the insurance industry is two to three years behind other financial organizations in respect to its e-commerce offerings.
Hart, however, isn't resting on its laurels. Instead the company has spent the past year producing HartFormsOnLine, an Internet service that facilitates the transfer of data. "It's the same principle as what we did with e-forms—we are exploring opportunities to stay with this market. We want to make sure that we have a viable offering when the needs of this marketplace follow along those lines."
This kind of thinking—the ability to stay one step ahead of change—is another key ingredient to success in this marketplace.