Sometimes being a technology leader not only provides competitive benefits but also requires driving industry adoption. Such was the case for Columbus, Ohio-based The Motorists Insurance Group when it was early to embrace a push-oriented carrier solution for sending policy, billing, claims and policyholder-related messages and documents to agency management systems based on the latest ACORD XML standard for Activities and Notes.
"Providing technology to streamline agency workflows is an ongoing industry challenge," says Tom Campana, AVP of agency and policyholder systems at Motorists ($2.2 billion in total assets). "We already offered web portals for our agents to log into and pull down information that had posted the night before."
"Although we were open to a technology that would automatically populate agency management systems," he continues, "it wasn't until there was a single overall ACORD standard that we became interested in actually exploring and implementing a solution.
As a long-time partner with IVANS Insurance Solutions (Tampa, Fla.), Motorists decided to sign on to IVANS Translation Services for Activity Notes Download in mid-2012. Using the IVANS solution, Motorists could deliver notifications and document attachments directly to the appropriate individual as well as the corresponding policy in an agent's management system
When the deployment phase began in first quarter of 2013, Motorists formed a 10-person cross-functional team to work on both the technical and the agency communications aspects of the initiative. "We planned to pilot IVANS Translation to about a dozen of our agencies, chosen as representative of the three agency management systems compatible with IVANS Translation at that time," Campana explains.
Of the more than 40 download processes the IVANS solution offers to automate, Motorists selected thirteen based on a variety of factors including transaction types already available in the insurer's pull-based portal version. "The processes fall into two main categories," Campana says. "They are claims activities for our personal and commercial lines plus policy activities and documents for our personal lines."
In addition, Motorists elected to deploy a customizable version of IVANS Translation. "After listening to the voice of our agents and industry partners, we provided features allowing agents to select the types of information they preferred to receive," says Campana.
Next came the process of working with IVANS and the three agency management vendors, Applied Systems (University Park, IL), North American Software Association (Sauk Center, Minn.) and Vertafore (Bothell, Wash.). "After we extracted data from our systems, IVANS performed the translations," says Campana. "Then we tested and debugged."
Meanwhile, the agency communications strategy began. In addition to posting information on its web pages and sending emails, Motorists leveraged its field sales staff, field trainers, industry partners, and local chapter user group meetings.
"Our agent community didn't know the technical terms for the capabilities in IVANS Translation," says Campana. "But they did understand the concept of having all of their nightly declarations pages automatically flow into their systems. When we explained the technology in terms of benefits, they became excited about it."
Since rolling out the IVANS solution this past December, adoption has been swift. "Feedback from our agency community has been extremely positive," reports Campana. "Over 90 agencies are already onboard and all agencies that have adopted the solution have stayed with it."
While it's too early for Motorists to have any book of business metrics, the solution is proving attractive enough that the insurer is already considering a build-out project for later this year. "We're looking forward to offering commercial lines policy activities and documents," Campana says. "And we're continuing to evaluate providing other capabilities based on agent feedback."
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Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio