By Nicole Kealey Rich Internet applications offer insurers expanded opportunities to interact with customers, brokers and agents. Web-based tools and services are nothing new in the insurance industry. For years, consumers, brokers and agents have been able to get quotes, submit claims or check the status of claims online. While offering these online services has been an important way for insurance companies to serve target audiences, insurers must continue to innovate to remain competitive in today's changing market.

To move beyond traditional point-click-and-wait online services, insurance companies are looking to rich internet applications (RIAs). RIAs are highly interactive, expressive Web applications that are more responsive than standard Web page forms, and integrate seamlessly with back-end data systems. Common RIA functionality includes drag and drop, real-time data streaming and updating and other more dynamic, interactive features. For insurers, this means they can create online tools that transform user experiences for staff, brokers and customers.

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