STP and Product Development: Lessons Learned – Insurance Networking News

STP and Product Development: Lessons Learned – Insurance Networking News.


Negative Transfer of Training

I recently upgraded my computer to a Gateway with an Intel Quad core CPU running the Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit OS.  Here is what I’ve learned:

  • Parallel ports aren’t supported anymore.  I can’t use Old Faithful, my ancient laser printer.
  • A number of my older software programs won’t run on a 64-bit OS.
  • The meaning of the phrase “negative transfer of training”

My primary machine got nailed with a nasty virus a few months ago and I’d been working with my hot spare backup.  Just as I was getting used to working with Windows XP I am now having to learn how to use Vista.  I began having a negative transfer of training experience.

It’s been a few days and I’m better now.  I like my new computer.  One major plus is the computer came with a set of recovery disks.  I used these to configure my old machine which now becomes my hot spare.  Same setup as my primary machine.  When I need to use it, I’ll load up my programs and data and I’m good to go.

Note I said “when” not “if”.

Remote Underwriting Jobs – OK…I Get It

Revised October 16, 2010

The first version of the post was written nearly two years ago.  A lot has changed since then.  One of the more interesting developments for my business is the continued development of the Google search algorithm.  I just recently discovered what happens when you search on Google for “remote underwriting jobs”.

This post is on page one of the search results.  You’re probably looking for a remote life underwriting job and you got this page.   I figured I better revise this post for clarity.  So here we go…

Underwriting Solutions LLC is a consulting company based in Edmond, OK.  We do provide outsourced life underwriting services and have multiple technology partners to help your company improve efficiency, effectiveness, and time to issue all while lowering costs.  At the present time my company has no opportunities for remote underwriting work. Due to the current economic environment and the continually evolving life underwriting landscape most of my activities have been strategically focused elsewhere.

I do have friends in several companies that provide outsourced underwriting support who may have openings.  Feel free to email me with your contact information.  Also do explore this site for posts on other companies in the hiring mode as I try to pass along information on open positions as I come across them.  I also have some links to job boards on my home page.

Best of luck in finding what you’re looking for.  But if you’re in management and trying to figure out how to do remote underwriting from the technology and management perspectives, call me.  I’d love to chat about APS medical summaries, structured XML databases, and our flexible hybrid fixed/variable underwriting model.   I have a mortgage, one kid in college, one kid in medical school, health insurance premiums and a small fleet of cars to support.  Call me.

Tech Support for Remote Underwriters

I was planning on doing some work this past Saturday until my Internet connection crashed.  After waiting a few hours (maybe the problem was out there somewhere) I got the sinking feeling my problem was internal.  I called my Internet provider and got a computer.   I followed all of the computer’s instructions for around 15 minutes before I was connected to a human.  Another 15 minutes passed and the techie on the line determined my cable modem had fried.

Panic was not an option. After all, it was Saturday and hopefully someone could get to the house early Monday so that I could begin the work week without any hassles.

“Could you possibly get someone out early Monday morning?”

“How about tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow?  It’s Sunday.”


The technician arrived Sunday morning at 9:00 AM, did his techie evaluation, and told me my cable modem had fried.  45 minutes later, my new cable modem was installed and I had Internet access once again.

The take home message of my little story is simple.  Managers need to know what Internet providers their remote underwriters use and the service capabilities of each provider.  Managers also need to know what to do and who to call if the problem is determined to be a non-service provider problem.  The cable modem was provided to me by my Internet provider, so they replaced it.  If I had a wiring issue, router issue, hardware or software issue, the provider would not have helped me.

Can your remote underwriters resolve their Internet access issues on a Sunday?  If not, do they wait until Monday morning before calling and asking for help?

Are these and other technology support issues are included in your department’s operational plans?

Please tell me you have a plan.

Remote Underwriting – More Tech Advice

Remember the saga of my crashed computer?  When I got the machine back it would not boot up so I took it back to the repair shop.  I got my machine back from the shop the following Monday or Tuesday. My local geek told me the PC booted up just fine at their shop. They tested everything again and found nothing that could have caused the problems I was having.

“It has to be one of your peripherals that is causing the problem. Reconnect each and every device, one by one until you find the device that’s causing the problem.”

Well OK then. But since I had work to do I left this for a weekend project.

Two nights ago I finally reconnected the final two pieces of equipment and discovered my machine would not boot up. Eying my external back up drive with great suspicion, I disconnected it and powered down. Guess what? My PC now works but you can forgeddabout starting the computer with the external drive attached. It’s not gonna happen.

So at the end of the day I had two different things crashing my computer. The first was diagnosed by me and fixed off site. Seems the Spybot Search and Destroy was preventing my newly installed Webroot virus program from starting up. Disabling the software from executing at Windows start up solved that. But the moral of this story is the fact that my local geek diagnosed my second problem but couldn’t fix it. They don’t make house calls. I ended up solving and fixing the second problem myself.

Here is the take home message:

My computer was down for a total of two calendar weeks. There is more to managing remote underwriters than meets the eye. What are your company’s plans and procedures to resolve remote technology issues?

Yeah…I thought so.

Remote Underwriting – More Tech Notes

Last week was a heckuva week.  After several emails pitching me to upgrade my spyware protection service I relented under the mounting pressure.  Besides, it was only $5.  So I downloaded my anti-virus upgrade, ran the install program and promptly crashed my computer.  Ironic, eh?  The following morning, hoping that a good night’s rest would cure my computer’s refusal to boot up, I switched on the power.


It was at that moment I realized it wasn’t going to be a good day.

My mind started racing backwards…what did I do?

  • Downloaded and installed anti-virus software
  • Installed a new 10/100 ethernet switch
  • Installed a new uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
  • Installed and configured a new video card
  • Installation and configured dual monitors

After determining my internal power supply and hard drive were OK it had to be a software conflict.   Rather than spend too many hours trying to figure out what the conflict was I took my machine to the local shop for repairs.  Rather than work off a small notebook computer I decided to configure a hot spare to work from ( I just happened to have an old Windows machine in the house).  So ultimately my solution to my computer crash was to configure and hook up another computer.

Can your remote underwriters do this?  If your company uses remotes and you are the manager responsible for their production, what does your remote technology support plan look like?  Do you have a remote tech support plan? Does your IT area have a remote support plan?

I am still working off my hot spare five days after my initial crash.  When I picked up my main box, disconnected the spare, reconnected my main, and powered up it still didn’t boot up.  I took it back to the shop and I await its return.

But I can work.