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Assurant's VerifyIns Site Drives Online Sales Success

Rental insurance confirmation site supports partnerships with property management companies that deliver new insurance business to Assurant Special Property.

Online sales success continues to be an elusive goal for many lines of business, but Assurant Specialty Property, a business unit of New York-based Assurant ($8 billion in annual revenue), has reported a 30 percent increase in online renters' insurance sales volume. The jump in volume has been driven by the carrier's partnerships with property management companies, based on the carrier’s VerifyIns Web-based rental insurance confirmation system, re-launched in June 2008. The system enables Assurant’s property management company partners to track and record their tenants’ compliance with rental insurance requirements.

Assurant has sold renters’ insurance directly online since its 2001 launch of, the first sales portal of its kind. However, its current success flows from the carrier’s strategy of partnering with property management companies, who serve as a conduit for new business. According to a 2007 study by Conning Research and Consulting (Hartford), the proportion of property managers requiring tenants to have renters’ insurance has risen from only 3 percent in 2000 to 34 percent in 2007.

“More and more property management companies require that their residents have renters’ insurance,” notes Steve Hein, vice president and national sales manager, Assurant Specialty Property. “Having access to information about their customers’ coverage makes it easy for them to administer insurance compliance in addition to everything else that they’re doing.”

Partner Benefits

Assurant offers its property manager partners access to the VerifyIns site, along with administrative support, training, marketing collateral and insurance enrollment and claims support. The partners are user-customers rather than policyholder-customers, as Assurant Specialty Property does not sell commercial insurance. However, as distribution and marketing partners, property managers enjoy several benefits from their relationship with the carrier, including reducing out-of-pocket administrative expenses, potentially reducing their commercial insurance premium, protecting their property investment, and reducing the time spent administering insurance requirement compliance.

Assurant’s Web-based system enables property managers to track tenants’ compliance with rental insurance requirements. In turn, the property managers serve as a conduit for new business.
Assurant´s Web-based system enables property managers to track tenants´ compliance with rental insurance requirements. In turn, the property managers serve as a conduit for new business.

Property managers’ renter customers enjoy the ability to receive quotes and purchase insurance online and receive immediate proof of their insurance status, as opposed to waiting to be contacted by an agent—a process that typically takes days. Rapid acquisition of coverage also enables renters to conclude their move quickly, which can be a decisive factor in choice of residence, according to Hein.

“Within the property management industry there are a great many manual processes,” Hein says. “This Web solution allows them to have one less thing that they need to keep track of manually."

The first iteration of VerifyIns appeared in May 2006, allowing property managers to view residents’ liability policy information. The June 2008 re-launch included the addition of insurance letters for residents and enhanced reporting functionality, including insufficient coverage reports, insurance carrier quote comparisons, insurance status and penetration reports. Property manager users of VerifyIns log into a front-end application developed by Assurant that uses the open-source Apache JAVA Struts framework, with a back-end IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) DB2 database, according to Miguel Martinez, systems director, Assurant. Assurant’s IT organization developed the site’s reporting software using JasperReports, an open-source JAVA reporting framework. In terms of hardware, VerifyIns runs on Linux IBM WebSphere servers and an IBM MVS Z/OS AMDAHL mainframe, Martinez says.

Customer Treatment

In addition to the functionality provided through VerifyIns, Hein credits Assurant Specialty Property’s outreach to property managers. “Their biggest asset is their resident base; since it is our [insurance] product, we are doing all servicing and handling of calls from the resident,” he comments. “For the property managers to hand off their resident base to us, we really have to get them comfortable with who we are and what we do as a company, so we really treat them as customers.”

Hein says that the partnership initiative fits in with Assurant’s business strategy as a niche provider of insurance products delivering high-end solutions. “This is an occasion where because we developed a specific infrastructure it has helped us to become a leader in a targeted industry,” he remarks.

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

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