Insurance firm revamps portal to track online transactions

The company that led the introduction of title insurance in Canada wants to ensure its Web portal is protected against any defects that come from bringing more of its business online.

First Canadian Title said it has launched a Web site for customers based on Microsoft’s .Net framework using Avanade Connected Architectures. Under development for about a year, the latest release of it went live about two months ago. First Canadian Title, which specializes in insurance that protects a buyer against errors or omissions in a property, intends to offer the portal as a way to let customers track their transactions from origination to recovery. 

Right now, for example, the portal focuses more on the fulfillment and appraisal management side of the business, said CIO Sam Dotson. Origination will come at a later date.

“To a certain extent, the faster we make the transition the less we need to track it,” he said. “We’re going to get to the day where a customer walks into a branch to refinance and will walk out with the money the same day.”

First Canadian Title already offers what it calls Infrastructure E-Services, which let customers integrate information about a transaction to their back-end systems, Dotson said. “Later in the lifecycle of the transaction, there may be additional information that isn’t in their system,” he said. “This portal will allow them to use them the data that starts in their system and share it with Fist Canadian Title in a way that keeps them from having to do double-data entry.”

Like many firms that are evolving their e-business strategies, First Canadian Title has been working with internal subject matter experts as well as customers to ensure they are creating the right kind of online experience, Dotson said.

“We’re constantly talking to them and introducing new capabilities,” he said. “We’re doing demos and setting them up before we go see them so they can see their world right there in front of them (on the portal).”

Jeff Zado, senior product manager for developer tools at Microsoft Canada, said customers can start out creating a custom site using Avanade’s Connected Architectures and then deploying its SharePoint portal product underneath. A number of Microsoft’s partners have created similar reference architectures, he said, which minimize the amount of code people need to write and create something unique to a specific industry or set of APIs.

“The thing about .Net is it provides more and more of this common plumbing that organizations need to differentiate their business from someone else,” he said, describing Avanade’s Connected Architectures as “a superset of functionality that helps fast-track things.”

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