Customer Story

Eastern Alliance Reduces Manual Underwriting Steps by 70%

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Underwriting process inefficiency is a common concern for carriers, even those with a web-based agent portal. Because many agents still prefer to email new business submissions, underwriting technicians are often required to rekey submitted data into their portal—putting extra pressure on the underwriting staff and slowing the process. Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, a leading workers’ compensation insurer, was one such carrier.

Earlier this year, Eastern partnered with us to implement Turnstile®, our ACORD PDF form-to-XML SaaS conversion solution. Adding Turnstile to its underwriting process achieved two goals for the carrier:

  • To streamline underwriting workflow, and
  • To continue to allow agents to submit new business in their preferred manner—via AgencyPortal® or email.

The initiative has resulted in significant improvements and benefits in several areas:

  • A decrease in the manual new business process from 20 steps to 6 steps—a 70% reduction
  • Freed up time for underwriters to take on new projects and responsibilities
  • The ability to capture important location and geographical data, reducing work for underwriters later in the process
  • Simplified training of underwriting technicians

Learn more about Eastern’s new efficiencies and abilities in this case study.

Louisa RogersEastern Alliance Reduces Manual Underwriting Steps by 70%
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Learn how State Auto simplified online new business processes for its agent partners

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SMA Research, Insurance Ecosystem 2015

SMA Research, Insurance Ecosystem 2015

It’s no secret that many insurance carriers are lagging when it comes to a modern, digital new business process. Agent and consumer expectations around online experiences have soared ahead of many insurers’ capabilities. The good news is that insurers know it.

The number one strategic initiative and investment for 85% of North American insurers in 2015 was customer engagement and experience (SMA Research, Insurance Ecosystem 2015). Tier 1 P&C carrier State Auto acknowledged the demand and set two goals to promote new business: 1) increase overall agent satisfaction and 2) simplify and modernize its agents’ web-based experience.

With the implementation of AgencyPortal® and E-SignLive from Silanis, State Auto Insurance Companies has reduced its cost of managing paper by 90%, increased its quote volume by 50-70%, and seen a 72% increase in new business.

Join us, State Auto, Silanis Technology, and PropertyCasualty360 for a free on demand webinar where you will learn:

  • Digital workflow best practices for ease-of-use
  • Top portal and e-signature requirements to consider
  • Change management best practices to achieve high adoption (State Auto reached 50% in just 10 days!)

Enjoy!

Louisa RogersLearn how State Auto simplified online new business processes for its agent partners
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Check Out Our Annual Conference Keynote Speakers

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As we continue to gear up for the conference, I am thrilled to share with you the members of our Customer Keynote Session. This highly experienced group of insurance leaders will share some of the challenges and opportunities they and others face as they navigate a rapidly-changing marketplace.

 

Mike Lex: SVP Commercial Lines

Mike has served the Allied and Nationwide Insurance organizations for more than 25 years in both operational and strategic roles. He currently leads commercial pricing, product and underwriting strategies for Nationwide.

    Kimberly Koury: CIO & VP Information Systems

Kimberly leads the development and execution of Electric Insurance’s multi-generational information systems plan. She also serves as Executive Advisor to the GE Women’s Network Beverly hub.

       Cilsy Harris: VP Business Delivery 

Chosen as a top emerging leader at The Hanover for the carrier’s Leadership in Action forum, Cilsy has more than 20 years of experience at the company, successfully leading large programs focused on technology implementations, risk mitigation, cost effectiveness and workforce design.

To expand the conversation further, leaders from Strategy Meets Action (SMA) and Novarica will respond to the Customer Viewpoints from their perspectives during an analyst panel discussion later on Monday afternoon.

Only 11 more days until the Conference. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Louisa RogersCheck Out Our Annual Conference Keynote Speakers
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Boost Efficiency Without Rocking the Agent’s World

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It’s a balancing act that carriers regularly face: how much agent routine is worth disrupting or changing in the name of improved efficiency?

The question is paramount when considering a new core system. The long-term benefits of modern PAS solutions are clear, but the potential pain for agents during a prolonged implementation can be detrimental to business for both parties. While a lengthy conversion process is unavoidable, introducing an independent front end to agents into the process can greatly diminish the hassle of transacting business with the carrier “during construction.” Arbella Insurance used the strategy as it was consolidating from five to one core system.

Similarly, carriers know that internal processing of ACORD PDFs that are emailed from agents is expensive and time-consuming. But, many agents are used to and comfortable with emailing new business forms to their carrier partners. Requiring a different workflow of them could be off-putting and risky. But, what if carriers could automate the form-to-data process internally? No change of routine for the agent; improved efficiency for the carrier. Magna Carta Companies, one of the largest mutual carriers of commercial business in America, did just that.

It was taking Magna Carta 45 minutes on average to process a single Commercial Package new business application emailed to the carrier from an agent. Using our form-to-data cloud service, Turnstile®, the insurer has decreased that time to roughly 15 minutes per application.

Keeping agents happy, focused and productive is key to their loyalty and to carriers’ success. Let technology help make all three possible.

 

 

 

Julie HoweBoost Efficiency Without Rocking the Agent’s World
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Welcome Aboard, Merchants!

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merchants_insurance_group-logoWe’re extremely proud today to announce that Merchants Insurance Group has joined the family of leading P&C carriers using our distribution solutions to power increasingly complex and fluid business strategies.

Opting for a best-of-breed over single-single system architecture, Merchants will use AgencyPortal® and Turnstile® to help advance its commercial lines offering, expand its online presence in the sector and make it easier and faster for independent agents to conduct business with them.

Learn more about how Merchants plans to use today’s and tomorrow’s technologies to protect, steer and grow its business into the future.

Julie HoweWelcome Aboard, Merchants!
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New Technology Helps Plug Commercial Lines Leaks

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TLWCC_logohe commercial lines underwriting process is complicated. Pricing and assessing risks is challenging, and, sadly, many underwriters are still using spreadsheets and hunting in online databases for information to support their decisions instead of embracing automated technology to improve the process.

ITA Pro’s December digital issue explores the challenges that leakage presents in this market segment, and highlights examples of a few carriers using technology to help “plug the holes.” One of the carriers profiled, longtime Agencyport customer Louisiana Workers Compensation Corporation (LWCC) is leveraging their portal solution, CompZone, to help the carrier reach a goal of increasing new business application pass-through from 20 percent to 50 percent. Serving the market of last resort, LWCC is achieving this through improved application questions and a robust rules-based workflow. That workflow not only includes referrals and decline rules, but also automated underwriting authority. The system can assess a particular underwriter’s authority. If that underwriter is unable to approve a given risk, the system automatically sends it to an underwriter with higher authority.

To learn more about how your portal could be preventing leaks and helping agents and underwriters, check out this perspective piece from SMA on Next Generation Portals.

Tara DurheimNew Technology Helps Plug Commercial Lines Leaks
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Our Challenge: Share What You Know

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dev-zone-at-the-lake-blogAfter unveiling our new Developer Zone to our customers at our recent conference in Stowe, Vermont, we are now proud to officially announce its availability to everyone.  That’s right, everyone.  No usernames or passwords. Open access to our entire volume of technical content. Because that’s the way we think it should be, and we’re urging other vendors to do the same.  Learn more about our challenge from Mike Albert, SVP of Product Strategy at Agencyport and other steps that Agencyport is taking to try to move our historically closed industry to one that thrives on openness.

Tara DurheimOur Challenge: Share What You Know
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DIY online is here to stay

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electric-insurance-logoTransferring funds between bank accounts. Paying down mortgage or credit card principal. Adjusting your LinkedIn profile and preferences.  They’re all as close as your smartphone these days. Carriers have recognized for some time that P&C insurance is ripe for this sort of convenient self-service, and leading companies like Electric Insurance Company are getting out in front.  Lucky for us, they chose Agencyport to help them to do it.

Electric has selected our AgencyPortal™ platform on which to build a robust self-service online experience for its policyholders and the people who service them, including agents and internal customer service staff.  The solution will offer full access to policy billing, claims, endorsements and renewals for the carrier’s personal lines of business.

Interested in learning more about what a portal can offer beyond new business? Give us a call.

Better yet, join us at our Annual Conference this September.  We will be presenting on this topic, and much more.  Check out the latest agenda on our event site.

Julie HoweDIY online is here to stay
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Shielding Agents During a PAS Conversion

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If you are an insurance IT exec reading this post, there’s a really good chance that your company is in the middle of—or seriously thinking about—a policy administration system conversion or consolidation.  A really good chance. In fact, Novarica tells us more than one-third of the industry currently falls into this new policy system bucket.

curtainThe reasons for converting to a new PAS system are compelling and important—elimination of redundant processes, simplification of existing systems, flexibility, cost reduction, etc.  While these capabilities can be game changing for your business, can you afford to gain them at the cost of losing business from your agents?  Yes, that’s right, losing business.

In the 3-5+ years it takes you to upgrade your back end systems, your agents will likely hate doing business with you if you drag them through all of your change.  To stay competitive during the transition, you need to shield your agents with a decoupled portal solution placed strategically between them and the chaos on the back end.  Our friends at Arbella Insurance Group did just that.

Arbella used AgencyPortal™ to shield their agents from the consolidation of five policy admin systems to one.  Not only that, but the carrier was also able to take advantage of AgencyPortal™’s internal XARC rules and do away with a third-party rules engine.  Over the years, one solution has helped Arbella reach a number of strategic objectives, ultimately rendering them more technologically efficient internally, and easier to do business with externally.  Read about the strategy in Insurance Networking News’  recent interview with Arbella CIO, Paul Brady.  Even better, download the case study.
Arbella Case Study

Tara DurheimShielding Agents During a PAS Conversion
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The People, Places and Things of Agencyport 2013

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Newyears

Like most businesses, we measure success by many elements: the people we work with—customers, partners, and colleagues; the places we gather to problem-solve; and the things we create together. By any measurement, it was a great year for Agencyport.

The People

Behind the collective effort to improve the business of P&C insurance are teams of really smart, really dedicated people. At the top of that list are our customers, and the myriad projects they tap us to work on.

We partnered with The Hartford for a game-changing small commercial online quoting and new business solution for their agents. In the Workers’ Comp space, we launched a new submission and online quoting solution for Employer’s. A recent project with Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association eliminated internal rekeying of data for the carrier, vastly improving response time to their producers. And while longstanding customers like Arbella continue to reap great value from their web portal, even as they and the industry evolve, new customers like Capital Insurance Group are just beginning the journey.

Speaking of people… we know a good thing when we see it, or them. And we see them every day when we come into the office. Those engineers, architects, sales and marketing critters, project managers, interns, analysts and directors are what make AP tick. And while our customers do their part to keep them busy, we do ours to keep them happy. One way this year was the kick-off of AP Days. One Friday each month, employees are given the chance to work on something they’re particularly interested in, even if it’s outside their regular responsibilities. AP Days has spawned everything from community involvement to product development Hackathons. Who knows what 2014 will bring. While we’re smart enough never to get complacent on the company culture front, something does seem to be working. Last month, we were honored to be recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Boston by the Boston Globe. We are really excited about the trophy glassware, but when we do awards, we tend to get creative. At our recent holiday party, we recognized our recent additions to the 5 year club with our traditional magazine covers. Check out this year’s group:

All-Covers2013

The Places

Our autumn Annual Conference is a very big deal to us. We see it as the single best opportunity to gather all of our customers and partners together in a single place to chip away at industry issues. This year’s conference focused on our ongoing collection of industry and agent insight and a new vision for our roadmap. Systems of Engagement, integration kits and our new partnership with Guidewire were all unveiled. If you’ve never attended our conference, you now have your first 2014 new year’s resolution.

Things

Ah, yes, the center of it all: Agencyport solutions 2013.

The roll-out of BookSmart® version 2.5 added Data Encryption At Rest for added customer security, as well as capabilities for Standalone Personal Umbrella business and Multi-Location Personal Homeowners policies. These lines joined the other nine personal and commercial lines of business that BookSmart® currently handles.

It was also a big year for Turnstile, which, with its latest release, now supports all major Commercial Lines and 346 form editions. The Turnstile team also added enhancements to the product’s OCR capabilities improving the reading and processing of scanned forms.

Arguably the biggest news, however, was the introduction of AgencyPortal version 4.6. Featuring Responsive Web Design (RWD) capabilities, 4.6 allows carrier portal designs to auto-adapt to different devices, letting Agencyport customers offer seamless web experiences to customers and agents wherever they are and on whatever device they’re using—no matter what size the next iPhone is!

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

It’s true. It was a quick twelve months. Not enough time. While we’re proud of the year’s progress, there’s a ton left to do… Bridging the technology divide between carriers and their distribution channel partners so that both can grow more profitably is an enormous task. And it’s ours! Imagine… those beautiful core policy system workhorses walking hand-in-hand, seamlessly, with the latest, fastest, most agile web, tablet and mobile device technologies. Bring tears to your eyes? Us too. Watch this space.

And please have a safe and happy holiday season.

Julie HoweThe People, Places and Things of Agencyport 2013
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