University of Minnesota
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"Electronic Integration and Strategic Advantage: A Quasi-Experimental Study in the Insurance Industry." Information Systems Research. 1:4 (1990):377.


Strategic advantage through information technology is a popular and an important theme, but the extent of research support is minimal, anecdotal, and sporadic. This paper reports the results of a quasi-experimental study on the impact of dedicated electronic integration [between a focal insurance carrier and its independent agents in the property and casualty (P&C) market] for the focal carrier. The results indicate that the agents that are electronically interfaced with the carrier report improvements in a set of four performance factors in the expected direction (six months after system installation), but statistically different from a matched set of non-interfaced agents (based on size, state, and location category) only in terms of increases in new business policies, but not in terms of effectiveness--namely, neither increases in premiums and commissions nor operating efficiency. Some explanations, extensions and research implications are outlined.