Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual wanted to grow its small but profitable commercial lines business but was hampered by the sluggishness of a legacy system. To support its growth ambitions, the Laramie, Wyo.-based personal and small commercial lines carrier has selected Cover-All Policy (Cover-All Technologies, Morristown, NJ) to expand transform commercial lines operations, including rating, quoting, underwriting, document management and distribution, while also adding collaboration capabilities and improving productivity.
“We wanted to diversify our portfolio and get more [commercial] business on the books,” comments Dan Bleak, VP of underwriting and operations. “Currently it’s slanted toward contractor business and we’d like to be more competitive in other areas, such as retail office and condo association”
Mountain West’s full range of commercial products includes businessowners’, commercial auto, commercial package (property, general liability, inland marine and crime) and commercial umbrella.
[For more on policy admin systems investment, see Crum & Forster Sees New Policy Admin System as Key to Growth .]
The insurer’s challenge in expanding its commercial lines portfolio is that its legacy policy system requires significant — and time consuming — coding to implement new products or implement ISO (Jersey City, N.J.) rating updates, according to Bleak.
“We only use ISO on the commercial side, and when ISO makes product updates we get them, but we have to do the coding,” Bleak explains. “Past experience has shown that updating products on our current system typically takes longer than 12 months, and we wanted to significantly improve speed-to-market.”
A significant part of the appeal of Cover-All’s system was that the vendor is an ISO shop, and has predicated its systems on use of ISO products, Bleak relates. “We make some customizations to the rating, but out of the box Cover-All can handle 95% of what we do,” he says. “That helps speed-to-market for new products but also giving us the ability to keep our products updated as ISO updates them.”
Bleak reports being impressed with Cover-All’s knowledge not only of IT but also of the products themselves. “That improves the process of when we need to educate a programmer about a product,” he notes.
Bleak describes Cover-All Policy as being “very intuitive,” which he anticipates will reduce the need for training and also foster speed-to-market. The system also affords the carrier the advantage of enabling agents to submit applications electronically, according to Bleak. “They can convert a quote directly to an application, and submit it; and later, if they need to make changes to the policy, they can change it right there rather than having to submit new business.”
Mountain West also anticipates economic benefits of a more paperless environment, owing to agents being able to interact electronically with the system. The insurer foresees a go-live date toward the end of the first quarter of 2013.
“Cover-All came in with a very competitive bid, and we anticipate a shorter timeframe for implementation than for other vendors,” Bleak comments. “We’re still early enough in the project that I’m sure we’ll learn a few things and discover efficiencies that we haven’t anticipated with the system. To this point, Cover-All has met all of our expectations.”
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio