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Staples uses IE-Engine for online health and dental benefits e-procurement

Gloucester, MA  July 23, 2001  IE-Engine, a provider of private e-marketplaces for employee benefits procurement, announced today that O'Neill, Finnegan & Jordan (OFJ), the employee benefits practice of Hobbs Group, and client Staples have completed health and dental benefits e-procurement transactions utilizing IE-Engine's platform.

"Staples aggressively utilizes new technology where it can enhance our ability to provide value, service and savings to our customers," stated Nancy Lazgin, director of global benefits for Staples. "This is important not only within our businesses, but also for attracting and retaining our associates. When we are able to obtain the best price for these benefits, the impact is positive for our associates as well as the company."

The Staples benefits request-for-proposal (RFP) process managed by OFJ through IE-Engine's product, Insurance-Engine, included multiple regional and national HMO plans covering 21,000 associates, as well as dental plans and stop loss insurance coverages.

Insurance-Engine provided a private online community for the OFJ team to manage the RFP process. "RFP's of this magnitude are extremely difficult to create, distribute, manage and review when using traditional, paper-based procurement approaches," said Peter Marcia, OFJ director. "This is especially true considering the number of carriers we invite to participate in major RFP's like Staples. Insurance-Engine supports all types of employee benefits programs in a way that benefits both our client and the insurance carrier community."

Staples' HMO RFP's were made up of more than 30 documents totaling hundreds of pages. These documents were posted on the site, with appropriate documents made available to fifteen regional and national carriers invited to participate in the private e-marketplace. Carrier representatives reviewed those documents and worked online with OFJ and Staples via Insurance-Engine's proprietary Q&A e-mail and event-messaging functionality. The carrier community responded by uploading nearly 200 documents to the Insurance-Engine site covering such issues as questionnaire response, supplier quality ratings, patient accessibility to care and coverage options.

Along with carrier response documents posted to the site, each carrier entered its rates, and was made aware of their rank through Insurance-Engine's price discovery functionality. On-line verification of price rank provides carriers with competitive information.

"We are pleased on all fronts," stated Lazgin, "both with the suggestion by OFJ to use IE-Engine's innovative technology and its ability to reduce the hassle and cost associated with the RFP process."