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Risk management information systems thrive on data, innovation


CHICAGO — The present and future of risk management information systems dominated a meeting of the Chicago chapter of the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.

During a panel discussion Tuesday, representatives of several RMIS software providers debated the merits of their systems.

Kathleen M. Burns, Chicago-based president of Aon eSolutions, said the scale and services of parent Aon P.L.C. helped augment her company's RMIS offering.

“When think about our product, we make sure that it has the feature set that you see, but just as importantly it has capabilities behind it that you may not see but we know and anticipate that you are going to need,” Ms. Burns said. “Being part of Aon means we can leverage resources, content and capability as part of the largest insurance services firm in the world and turn that into solutions like predictive analytics.”

Likewise, Paul J. Marushka, Chicago-based president and chief operating officer of C.S. Stars L.L.C., said the data available to the Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. unit has been a differentiator, noting that the company has access to more than 60 million commercial insurance claims.

“The reason C.S. Stars was able to capture this much data is because of the network we have in the industry, including about 750 corporations, 30 of the largest commercial insurance carriers and 30 third-party administrators,” Mr. Marushka said. “All that information resides in the cloud-based platform that we have.”

Bob Morrell, CEO and co-founder of Kennesaw, Ga.-based Riskonnect Inc., said the company benefited from the substantial investment made by Salesforce.com in the Force.com cloud-computing platform upon which Riskonnect's RMIS offering runs.


This investment makes it easier Riskonnect to innovate, Mr. Morrell said. “The reality is that this is a small market, so there's not a lot of (research and development) dollars to around,” he said. “Through our partnership with Salesforce.com, we are able to leverage almost a half a billion dollars in research and development that ends up in our product.”

Mark J. Stergio, Atlanta-based CEO of Risk Sciences Group, said RMIS providers face a difficult decision when investing research dollars. “You have to strike a balance between a client's immediate needs and what you want your company to be in the future,” he said.

Yet Robert J. Petrie, president and founder of Glencoe, Ill.-based Origami Risk L.L.C., said the company utilizes its cloud-based platform to continually upgrade its product, but RMIS providers need to be mindful of the rapidly evolving nature of technology.

“Thinking too far ahead with technology really doesn't get you too far,” Mr. Petrie said. “Technology changes so fast that it may well change by the time you get there, so we are more focused on what's ahead of us. We have a single repository of ideas that come from our clients and our service team. We look across that library every month, and take the top ideas and build them into our releases.”