* http://www.ojairesort.com-When the Ojai Valley Inn in Ojai, CA launched its Web site earlier this year, the goal was to make it a friendly place. To that end, virtual visitors can e-mail the Inn's general manager, Thad Hyland, who personally responds to all messages.
* http://www.delta-air.com/fantastic-Delta Air Lines' Fantastic Flyer magazine has entertained kids on flights for years. Now, magazine characters such as Dusty the Delta Air Lion are waiting with interactive games at this Web site.
* A Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) task force met early this month to reassess its membership qualification formula, which is now based on sales commission and the number of lives/cases sold. Under the leadership of John Cruikshank, an agent with Northwestern Mutual who took the helm as MDRT president at the annual meeting in June, the association will examine how factors that reflect agent ethics and customer satisfaction-such as persistency, reputation, recruitment, and quality of training-could be introduced into MDRT's criteria.
* Earlier this year, the Life Communicators Association (LCA) board of directors agreed to develop recommendations for an LCA professional designation for insurance company communications officers.
* Agents want meetings: So says a survey of 284 top agents (first-year commissions of $100,000 or more) conducted by Russ Alan Prince of Prince & Associates in Stratford, CT, and published in a recent issue of National Underwriter. Prince asked agents how they prefer to receive their training: A whopping 93 percent said "in-person presentations." Not only that, a priority for most of these top producers (88 percent) is interaction with presenters outside the session.
* Forget the Internet: You need an intranet. And Life.com Inc. can help you create one. The Vero Beach, FL-based company is now beta-testing Elias, Intranet software that allows insurance general agencies,groups, and home offices to share documents and exchange e-mail on a private network. Elias lets users set up document libraries, pull customized data reports (such as commissions earned), and features a module that creates insurance illustrations and can return them to the user as an Excel file, full-color graphic, or table.
* Insurance industry futurist Lawrence G. Brandon, CPCU, has written a new book: Let the Trumpet Resound: The Insurance Industry in the 21st Century discusses the industry's current challenges against the backdrop of changes in the economic, technological, political, and cultural environments. Published by the CPCU Society/Harry J. Loman Foundation, the book is available for $29.95 plus shipping by calling PBD Inc. at (800) 848-0773.
* The American College in Bryn Mawr, PA, has launched a Web site: http://www.amercoll.edu. Primarily an information resource for students and insurance professionals, the site also offers an overview of the college and the designations and degrees it awards.