Insurance companies must reinvent traditional ways of doing business in order to survive, according to IT services group CMG and software provider Excelon.

Simon Harrington from CMG and Adrian Pasciuta from Excelon said insurers needed to adopt a more strategic approach to their online trading operations, focusing on the core competencies of product design and customer service.

Underwriting, policy administration, claims management and risk management could all be outsourced to specialist providers, they said.

And it was pointed out that location was no longer an issue as outsourcing could be achieved over the internet with international suppliers.

B2b ecommerce capabilities also needed to be widened. This could be achieved by adopting a flexible protocol standard such as XML as an integral part of ecommerce strategies.

Using the XML standard could result in significant cost savings, fast returns on investment and improved communications, they said. Poor communication between systems was a major impediment to successful integration of technology.

Pasciuta, Excelon's esolutions manager said: “Business-to-business technology enables insurers to optimise their value chains, automate business partner collaboration and improve efficiencies in their back-office systems.”

Harrington said recent emphasis had been on how companies presented themselves to customers but they needed to examine their business processes and see where improvements could be made.